Alimony and Spousal Support: Difference?

Many issues can arise when you are getting a divorce. Often, these include alimony, child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. All of these issues are probably the toughest, and the legal process usually ends up in court before a judge.

What is the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support?

This may be confusing, but there is no real difference between both terms. 

Alimony is more of an outdated term meaning the ex-husband or ex-wife maintains their former spouse’s lifestyle after marriage for a certain amount of time. 

Spousal support is the same but is more of a gender-neutral term. The definition of spousal support does not mention the term “wife” or “husband”. It just clearly states the idea of payment from one ex-spouse to the other after the divorce for a required amount of time. 

Payment from an ex-spouse to the other is more commonly referred to as Spousal Support in Utah courts. 

What is Spousal Support in Utah?

In most cases, the highest-earning spouse will be the one to pay the lowest-earning spouse as financial relief both during and after their divorce. The judge will ultimately decide how much financial relief is required and for how long that term is. Three different types of spousal support can be awarded. The first among them is temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support ends when the divorce is settled. 

Permanent spousal support is another common one that is referred to as “long-term support”. During long-term spousal support, financial relief is paid to the lower-earning spouse to maintain the established lifestyle during the marriage. Keep in mind, however, that long-term spousal support does not mean it is forever. A judge will limit the length as to how long the support will be provided. Any support will automatically be relinquished should the lower-earning spouse remarry.  

The last of the three is rehabilitative alimony. This is granted if a spouse stopped working or drastically lowered their amount of time working during their marriage. Rehabilitative alimony is typically granted in cases where one of the parents is to be the primary caregiver to children in the home. This method of spousal support is mainly placed as a support system for single parents to help them transition back to work. The support will end once they can financially support themselves.

If you need more clarification as to which spousal support you can be awarded call our experienced family law attorneys here at Utah Attorneys and receive a free consultation.

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