Remarriage and Alimony in Utah
In Utah, a spouse's obligation to pay alimony ends when the other spouse remarries or starts living with a new partner.
When couples divorce in Utah, the court may order one spouse to provide the other with financial support, called “alimony.” When the spouse receiving alimony (the “supported spouse”) remarries or begins living with someone else, however, the paying spouse will usually want to stop making alimony payments.
This article explains how the remarriage or cohabitation of a supported spouse affects alimony under Utah law. If you have additional questions about remarriage and alimony in Utah after reading this article, you should consult a local family law attorney.
Overview of Alimony in Utah
Utah courts may order one spouse to pay the other alimony after a divorce, taking into account the specific circumstances of each marriage. The court may order alimony to be made in the form of a lump-sum payment, a transfer of property, or the most common type of alimony, periodic payments made until a certain date or until some event occurs.
Utah judges will consider any or all of the following factors when determining alimony:
- the supported spouse’s financial needs
- the supported spouse’s earning ability
- the paying spouse’s ability to pay alimony
- the length of the marriage
- the supported spouse’s childcare duties
- whether the supported spouse worked for a business owned by the paying spouse during the marriage
- whether the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s ability to earn income (for example, by paying for education or allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage)
- whether one spouse was at fault in causing the divorce (for example, by domestic abuse or adultery), and
- any other factors the court deems relevant.
If you would like to know more about alimony in Utah, see Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Utah.
Impact of Remarriage on Alimony in Utah
Utah law provides that alimony ends when a supported spouse remarries, unless the divorce decree states otherwise. Sometimes, in long marriages, a divorcing couple will agree that one spouse will pay the other alimony for life regardless of whether the supported spouse remarries, but in most cases, alimony ends upon the supported spouse’s remarriage.
When the supported spouse remarries, alimony ends automatically; the paying spouse does not need to file a motion or return to court for an order terminating alimony. The paying spouse can stop making alimony payments on the date the supported spouse gets remarried.
If the paying spouse owed past due alimony at the time the supported spouse remarries, the paying spouse must still make those payments. Also, if the paying spouse was ordered to make a lump-sum payment or a transfer or property as alimony, he or she must still make that payment or property transfer, even if the other spouse is remarried.
Termination or Modification of Alimony In Utah
Utah law allows courts to modify or end alimony at any time if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of either spouse after the divorce. Utah courts usually won’t consider the remarriage of the paying spouse to be a “substantial change in circumstances” for the purposes of modifying alimony. If the supported spouse has a significant increase in income or a decrease in financial needs, however, the court may reduce or end alimony payments.
If you want to modify or end alimony payments in your case, you should file a motion of terminate or modify alimony in your county state court clerk’s office. The court will schedule a hearing where both you and your ex-spouse will have to appear. You should bring any evidence of the changed circumstances that support your request to change or end alimony payments.
If you and your ex-spouse agree to modify alimony before the court date, you should put your agreement in writing, sign it, and submit it to the court for approval.
Impact of Cohabitation on Alimony in Utah
In Utah, all court orders for one spouse to pay the other alimony end when the supported spouse begins cohabiting with another person. Cohabitation is when two individuals live together in a romantic relationship while not married.
If you are paying alimony to your ex-spouse, and he or she begins living with another person in a romantic relationship, you’ll need to file a motion to terminate alimony with the court clerk’s office. Gather any evidence of your ex-spouse’s cohabitation to show the court (for example, photos or other proof that both individuals spend most nights at the same residence). If the judge believes you have proven that your ex-spouse is cohabiting with another person, he or she can end alimony retroactive to the date you filed your motion.
If you have additional questions about remarriage and alimony, contact a Utah family law attorney for help.