What is reasonable in a case, regardless of the type of case, is heavily dependent on the facts of a case. For that reason, any advice provided below is general advice only, not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created and no duty of confidentiality has attached. Further, providing the general legal information below does not prevent the representation of an adverse party.
Subject to the above disclaimer, I have answered the following hypothetical question: "Can alimony be awarded in a Utah divorce, and if so, in what amount?"
Alimony Awards in Utah
Marriages mark the unity of two peoples' lives, both personally and financially. During a marriage, each person may take on different roles--sometimes as family caretaker and provider. In such situations, courts in Utah may award alimony payments to support the individual that was not acting as a provider, in order to allow that individual to continue meeting financial obligations. There are limits to the length of time for an alimony award as well as conditions that, if they occur, will result in the termination of the alimony payment obligation. For a good write-up on alimony, see the information below, available on the Utah State Courts' website at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/divorce/#alimony:
"Does Utah allow alimony and who can get it?
Either party may request and be granted alimony. Regardless of gender, alimony may be ordered on a temporary basis or pending trial, as well as for a longer period after entry of the divorce decree.
In determining alimony, the courts consider at least the following factors:
1. The financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse. This includes monthly debts and obligations that the recipient spouse must pay, and the availability of funds to pay these debts.
2. The recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income. This includes income received or available from all sources, past employment history, ability or inability to work, passive income received, etc.
3. The ability of the payor spouse to provide support. This includes income received from all sources by the payor spouse, examined against all debts and obligations that the payor spouse must pay. As a general rule, debts may not be incurred to defeat alimony.
4. The length of the marriage: the longer the marriage, the greater the likelihood of an alimony award.
The courts may consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony. As a general rule, the courts consider the standard of living that existed at separation in determining alimony. In marriages of short duration, with no children conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider the standard of living that existed when the marriage began. Sometimes, courts will try to equalize the parties' respective standards of living.
Alimony may be reviewed and modified if conditions change. Alimony terminates automatically upon remarriage or cohabitation by the recipient spouse. Alimony may not be ordered for a period that exceeds the length of the marriage, except in extenuating circumstances." Getting a Divorce in Utah, Utah State Courts Website, available at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/divorce/#alimony (last visited January 18, 2012).
The facts surrounding a claim for alimony will drive the determination of alimony and what is reasonable. For help in determining whether an alimony demand or offer is reasonable, contact a locally-licensed attorney in Utah that specializes in Family Law matters. Most offer free initial consultations.
Among attorneys offering free initial consultations, one such attorney is Jamie Carpenter, of Carpenter Law Office, LLC. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or phone at (801) 803-1009. She is licensed to practice in Utah and deals extensively with Family Law matters, including divorces. I highly recommend her both for her professionalism and personal care that she takes in her clients' cases.
All of the information provided above is legal information only, and not legal advice. For legal advice specific to the facts of your case, contact a Utah-licensed attorney. If you need help with a referral, I would be happy to help. Alternatively, contact the Utah State Bar for a referral.
This was an outstanding response provided by attorney Draxton. Thoroughly informative. Best of luck to you. And thank you to attorney Draxton for raising the bar.
Legal disclaimer: DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged and/or wherein the legal issue arises; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State in which your particular issue has arisen.
As stated in the prior answer, alimony is not calculated with an equation as child support is. There are eight statutory factors that the Court will consider, with the first three (called Jones factors) being the most important. Overall, need and ability to pay based on financial disclosures are evaluated.
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