Utah bill allows fault as factor in determining spousal support
As you may be aware, Utah promotes the use of mediation when it comes to divorce, in an effort to help couples avoid bringing their problems in front of a judge. Divorce mediation is a useful tool in deciding issues such as child support, child custody, asset division, and even spousal support. With a contested divorce, mediation may not be successful and therefore, these issues are often decided in a court of law.
This year, the Utah State Legislature is being asked to approve a bill that would allow judges to use fault as a factor in determining spousal support, or alimony as it is more commonly called. Opponents of the bill say that putting such a law into effect would encourage spouses to throw accusations at each other. Supporters of the bill say that such a bill is needed in order for spouses to justify why they should be given spousal support. This would be especially important, they say, for victims of domestic violence and for spouses who have been cheated on.
If the bill was passed, it would have no effect on the granting of a divorce since Utah is a no-fault state and people can divorce for any reason they want to. The bill's sponsor, a former district court judge, pointed out that the bill would provide a guideline for judges as judges are often unsure of what comments should be allowed in relation to spousal support.
Both sides seem to have a valid point and it may be a hard issue for the state's House to decide. For those who want to avoid having a judge make that choice, it may be a good idea to seek out an attorney for mediation assistance.