I love the internet. I’m on it way too much, probably.
The internet is a great repository of all sort of useful knowledge (e.g., when does the nearest Chase Bank close, when’s the next showing of Star Wars, how many calories does a quarter pounder with cheese have, etc.).
What the internet is not is a great place to get accurate information about Utah divorces.
Instead of good information, it’s chock full of personal horror stories about the divorce process (very often untrue), as well as stories of some unidentified lady’s aunt’s sister-in-law’s cousin who got $10,000 per month in alimony when her husband makes $75,000 per year (always untrue).
In other words, the internet is full of myths about Utah divorce, especially Utah alimony.
Here’s my attempt to help set the record straight by calling out the 5 biggest myths about Utah alimony.
The 5 Utah Alimony Myths
- Myth #1: Alimony is always awarded in divorce.
Yeah, no. The fact is in a good number of divorces — after you get done paying off debts, monthly expenses for two households, and child support — there isn’t money left over for alimony.
Now, there are lots of marriages where alimony is paid, but just because you’ve been married and your spouse makes more money than you do does not mean you will receive alimony.
To figure out if alimony is even a possibility, you really have to sit down with the numbers and comb through them to see what’s there. It’s not a sure thing.
- Myth #2: The Court will give me 50% of my spouse’s income as alimony.
Alimony is based first on the need of the spouse making less money.
This means if you make enough to get by at about the same standard of living you’ve been living at during the marriage, you probably won’t get alimony.
Alimony is based second on the ability to pay of the spouse who makes more money.
This means if there is not enough money to go around after paying necessarily monthly bills, paying child support, paying marital debts, etc., then there probably won’t be any alimony.
In some cases, a court will put everyone’s incomes together and cut them in half, giving each spouse 50% of the total. These cases are exceedingly rare (I’ve only seen two or three in my career), so don’t count on it happening.
- Myth #3: Men cannot receive alimony.
Yes, men can receive alimony, in theory.
What I mean by that is the law is written so that both men and women can receive alimony regardless of gender. So, yes, men sometimes receive alimony from their wives.
And then there’s how things work out in real life.
What I mean is this: if you think men hate paying alimony for their exes to be their exes, then think about how much women hate paying their ex-husbands to be deadbeat (their words, not mine).
The reality is this: men can receive alimony, but they almost never do, even if the numbers say they should.
So, while this is technically a myth, it’s more accurate than not.
- Myth #4: If you receive child support you will not receive alimony.
People receive child support and alimony all the time.
Child support will decrease a person’s need for alimony (simply because you have additional money coming in), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t need after child support is paid.
In fact, child support is almost never sufficient to pay for the actual costs of a child, which means there’ll be need for alimony.
- Myth #5: I’ll be able to live on alimony (and child support) without having to work.
Unless you are married to a doctor, dentist, international pilot, or pro basketball player, your alimony and child support will not be enough to make ends meet. You’ll have month left over at the end of your money.
Almost everyone who receives alimony needs to work full-time. It’s a sad fact of divorce.