Everyone wants to know how to avoid paying alimony. After all, nobody wants to be making monthly payments to their ex—especially if they feel their ex is at fault for the divorce. Though Utah alimony laws may be fairly straight-forward, the amount and duration of the alimony payments may be more difficult to predict. Unlike child support, there are a lot of factors that determine whether or not a person will pay alimony, and the length and amount of the alimony payments. However, there are some ways you may be able to avoid paying alimony. If you’re wondering how to avoid paying alimony, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney to see if any of the following circumstances apply to you.
Offset the Alimony with Assets or Debt
You may be able to offset the alimony by agreeing to take on additional marital debt equal to the amount of alimony you would be ordered to pay. For example, if you and your spouse took out a personal loan, you may agree to pay your spouse’s portion of the loan instead of alimony. Or, if you have assets that are worth about what you’d be ordered to pay in alimony, you may allow your spouse to keep the assets instead of paying alimony. It is also possible for you to pay your spouse alimony in a lump sum instead of making monthly payments. However, these may not be the best option. If you’re considering paying a lump sum, taking on additional debt, or offsetting alimony with assets, talk to your attorney to make sure you’re making the best choice.
Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements
You may be able to sign a prenuptial agreement, or a postnuptial agreement, that stipulates both parties will waive alimony in the event of a divorce. However, prenups and postnups can be thrown out in court under specific circumstances. If a prenup or postnup is too one-sided, or unfair, a judge may order that the agreement is thrown out. This would allow your spouse to request alimony. Most importantly, the state will almost never make rulings that result in a person needing government assistance. If your spouse will need welfare in order to support themselves after the marriage, and you have the ability to pay alimony, it is likely that you will have to pay alimony—regardless of what a prenup or postnup says. Though anyone can have a prenup or postnup, those with average incomes don’t usually need one. Furthermore, these types of agreements are more effective at protecting separate property obtained prior to the marriage than preventing alimony. An agreement may be able to reduce or limit the amount of alimony. However, it’s not likely that an agreement can prevent alimony altogether if your spouse needs additional support and you have the ability to pay.
End the Marriage Sooner Rather than Later
You should not rush into divorce for the sake of avoiding alimony. But, if you have already decided that you want to move forward with a divorce, you should end the marriage sooner rather than later. The longer your marriage lasts, the higher your chances of paying alimony are and for a greater length of time. Though alimony is often ordered for a term about half the length of the marriage, it can be ordered for the entire length of your marriage. So, if you were married for four years, you may be ordered to pay alimony for two to four years. In some cases, lifelong alimony can be ordered. Therefore, getting a divorce sooner rather than later can help ensure that you do not pay additional alimony.
Utah does allow couples to file for a fault divorce when they can prove one party is completely at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. Under certain circumstances, if the court finds that your spouse is indeed to blame for the divorce, you may qualify for reduced alimony. Though Utah alimony laws do allow for this, filing for a fault divorce can be complicated. A lot of people have trouble proving that their spouse is solely responsible for the divorce. Also, fault divorces tend to be longer and more expensive. It is also important to consider the cost of obtaining a fault divorce and modifying your alimony order: it may not outweigh the cost of alimony itself. Finally, even if the court finds that your spouse is at fault for the divorce, they may not reduce your alimony obligation. The court only allows specific instances of fault to affect alimony. Therefore, an attorney can give you the best advice on whether or not a fault divorce is for you.
Prove Your Spouse Doesn’t Need Alimony
If you can prove that your spouse does not need alimony, you may be able to avoid paying it. Generally, courts consider the recipient spouse’s need, the recipient’s earning capacity, the payor’s ability to provide support, the length of the marriage in making an alimony award. The idea here is to establish that with your spouse’s work and educational history, skills, and abilities to earn enough each month to cover their monthly expenses. This is much harder to do when there is a stay-at-home parent requesting alimony and they have been out of the workforce for some time. Those facts may help in requesting that the court limit the length of time allowing the non-working spouse time to reenter the workforce and improve their ability to earn.
Contact an Attorney When You Need Help with Utah Alimony Laws
Though Utah alimony laws do allow some to reduce their alimony, or get out of alimony, each circumstance is unique. If you’re trying to figure out how to avoid paying alimony, your best bet is to consult an attorney. At CoilLaw, our attorneys have experience in handling many types of family matters. From alimony to custody, CoilLaw is here to represent you. If you’re ready to get started with the divorce process, contact CoilLaw today.