Understanding Pre-Divorce Alimony in Utah: What You Need to Know

Jeremy AtwoodDivorce, Family Law

people discussing an agreement

Do half of all marriages end in divorce? 

While this isn’t an exact statistic, there’s some truth to it. About 4-5 million people get married every year in the U.S., and approximately 42-53% of those marriages eventually end in divorce. 

Now, when couples decide to call it quits, things can get messy. You got your lawyers, courtrooms, and a bunch of paperwork that could make your head spin. Kids can also get caught in the crossfire, complicating matters further. 

And let’s not forget about money. Between property division, alimony, and child support, your finances can take a serious hit. 

Alimony isn’t ordered in every divorce. But if you want to request spousal support or think your partner might ask for it, you must understand what’s at stake. A divorce lawyer in Utah can help you figure out the specifics. 

A Quick Guide to Alimony and Pre-Divorce Spousal Support

You might already have a general idea about alimony. It’s defined as one spouse’s payment to the other, under court order or the couple’s agreement, after divorce. But before you get there, something called pre-divorce alimony may come into play. 

Let’s discuss.

1. What is Pre-Divorce Alimony?

Many homes in America are single-income, meaning they’re economically dependent on one earning member. According to a recent report by PYMNTS and Lending Club, 81% of households surveyed have more than one breadwinner. However, 40% of consumers in all financial lifestyles bring in over 75% of their household income. 

So, when a couple decides to split, one person might be relying on the other for financial support. And since divorce is a lengthy affair, they’ll need a temporary lifeline to stay afloat. 

That’s where pre-divorce alimony comes in. 

In simple terms, pre-divorce alimony is spousal support that’s provided before the divorce is officially finalized. It’s intended to bridge gaps and make sure the financially dependent spouse does not end up penniless while the legal stuff is being sorted out. 

2. What’s the Difference Between Pre-Divorce and Post-Divorce Alimony?

Pre-divorce alimony is temporary help given to a financially dependent partner during the divorce proceedings. It’s to ensure they get by until everything is sorted out and a more permanent agreement is reached. 

It’s worth mentioning that pre-divorce alimony isn’t perpetual. It usually ends once the dust settles and the divorce is finalized. 

A word of caution here. The terms ‘temporary alimony’ and ‘pre-divorce alimony’ are often used interchangeably, but they can have some subtle differences depending on the context and the legal system involved.  

In some jurisdictions, ‘temporary alimony’ may be a broader term that includes financial support that continues for a short period after the divorce is finalized. On the other hand, ‘pre-divorce alimony’ is more specific and only refers to the support provided during the divorce proceedings. It’s best to consult a family law attorney in Utah to learn more about this. 

Now, let’s talk about post-divorce alimony. This one comes in after the divorce is a done deal. It’s a court-ordered payment from a higher-earning spouse to the other. Post-divorce alimony can last for a specific period or continue until certain conditions are met, like the receiving spouse getting a job or remarrying. 

Because alimony is gender-neutral under Utah divorce law, either spouse can request support during the divorce process. Here’s what the judge will evaluate to determine the type, amount, and duration of alimony in divorce. 

  • The receiving spouse’s financial condition 
  • Their earning capacity, including an evaluation of whether they lost opportunities or skills while caring for children
  • The payee’s ability to offer support while maintaining financial independence 
  • The duration of the marriage 
  • Whether the recipient directly contributed to increasing the payee’s income by paying for education or job training during the marriage 
  • Whether the recipient worked in a business owned by the paying spouse 
  • Whether the recipient is a custodial parent who needs child support 

Additionally, the court may also account for the spouse’s fault, also known as marital misconduct, which may have caused the marriage to break. Examples include adultery, physical/verbal/emotional abuse, or undermining the other spouse’s financial stability. 

Alimony in divorce can be tough to figure out on your own. We recommend you discuss your options with a seasoned Utah family law attorney. They can help you make the best of your circumstances; so you and your spouse are favorably placed.

3. Is Pre-Alimony Support Mandatory?

Unfortunately, no. Pre-divorce alimony is not guaranteed under Utah divorce law. It’s all about proving that you need support and showing the court why you should get it. 

Once lawyers and judges get involved, they’ll start digging into the nitty-gritty details of your financial situation. They’ll investigate things like income, assets, debts, and expenses. Your divorce lawyer in Utah will prepare and submit your motion and documents requesting pre-divorce spousal support. 

If you and your spouse are on good terms, you might try to work out pre-divorce alimony without going through the legal system.  

The amount of money you pay in pre-divorce alimony isn’t set in stone either. The paycheck will vary based on how long you were married, the state you’re in, and your standard of living during the marriage. Again, all this is a bit too complex for the uninitiated, so talk to a family law attorney in Utah as soon as possible. 

The Bottom Line

Divorce in America is a wild ride filled with emotions, legal battles, and financial setbacks. But it’s also a chance to start afresh and work towards a happier future. With the stigma around divorce slowly crumbling, an increasing number of couples are finding the courage to walk out of unhappy marriages. That’s a great sign! 

But money issues in divorces can get downright messy. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and get professional advice from a family law attorney in Utah to steer you in the right direction. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about spousal support, including pre-divorce alimony! 

Need a divorce lawyer in Utah? Look no further than Jeremy Atwood Law! We’re here to make your separation a smooth, stress-free affair. Get in touch with us for more information!