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7 LONG TITLE
8 Committee Note:
9 The Judiciary Interim Committee recommended this bill.
10 General Description:
11 This bill expands the circumstances under which a court may order alimony.
12 Highlighted Provisions:
13 This bill:
14 . allows a court to consider fault when awarding alimony; and
15 . defines fault to include acts that intentionally and knowingly harm or cause
16 substantial harm, physically or financially, to a spouse or the children of the
18 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
20 Other Special Clauses:
22 Utah Code Sections Affected:
24 30-3-5, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 285
26 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
27 Section 1. Section 30-3-5 is amended to read:
28 30-3-5. Disposition of property -- Maintenance and health care of parties and
29 children -- Division of debts -- Court to have continuing jurisdiction -- Custody and
30 parent-time -- Determination of alimony -- Nonmeritorious petition for modification.
31 (1) When a decree of divorce is rendered, the court may include in it equitable orders
32 relating to the children, property, debts or obligations, and parties. The court shall include the
33 following in every decree of divorce:
34 (a) an order assigning responsibility for the payment of reasonable and necessary
35 medical and dental expenses of the dependent children including responsibility for health
36 insurance out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles;
37 (b) (i) if coverage is or becomes available at a reasonable cost, an order requiring the
38 purchase and maintenance of appropriate health, hospital, and dental care insurance for the
39 dependent children; and
40 (ii) a designation of which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is primary and
41 which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is secondary in accordance with the provisions
42 of Section 30-3-5.4 which will take effect if at any time a dependent child is covered by both
43 parents' health, hospital, or dental insurance plans;
44 (c) pursuant to Section 15-4-6.5 :
45 (i) an order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts,
46 obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage;
47 (ii) an order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obligees, regarding
48 the court's division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties' separate,
49 current addresses; and
50 (iii) provisions for the enforcement of these orders; and
51 (d) provisions for income withholding in accordance with Title 62A, Chapter 11,
52 Recovery Services.
53 (2) The court may include, in an order determining child support, an order assigning
54 financial responsibility for all or a portion of child care expenses incurred on behalf of the
55 dependent children, necessitated by the employment or training of the custodial parent. If the
56 court determines that the circumstances are appropriate and that the dependent children would
57 be adequately cared for, it may include an order allowing the noncustodial parent to provide
58 child care for the dependent children, necessitated by the employment or training of the
59 custodial parent.
60 (3) The court has continuing jurisdiction to make subsequent changes or new orders for
61 the custody of the children and their support, maintenance, health, and dental care, and for
62 distribution of the property and obligations for debts as is reasonable and necessary.
63 (4) Child support, custody, visitation, and other matters related to children born to the
64 mother and father after entry of the decree of divorce may be added to the decree by
66 (5) (a) In determining parent-time rights of parents and visitation rights of grandparents
67 and other members of the immediate family, the court shall consider the best interest of the
69 (b) Upon a specific finding by the court of the need for peace officer enforcement, the
70 court may include in an order establishing a parent-time or visitation schedule a provision,
71 among other things, authorizing any peace officer to enforce a court-ordered parent-time or
72 visitation schedule entered under this chapter.
73 (6) If a petition for modification of child custody or parent-time provisions of a court
74 order is made and denied, the court shall order the petitioner to pay the reasonable attorneys'
75 fees expended by the prevailing party in that action, if the court determines that the petition
76 was without merit and not asserted or defended against in good faith.
77 (7) If a petition alleges noncompliance with a parent-time order by a parent, or a
78 visitation order by a grandparent or other member of the immediate family where a visitation or
79 parent-time right has been previously granted by the court, the court may award to the
80 prevailing party costs, including actual attorney fees and court costs incurred by the prevailing
81 party because of the other party's failure to provide or exercise court-ordered visitation or
83 (8) (a) The court shall consider at least the following factors in determining alimony:
84 (i) the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
85 (ii) the recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income;
86 (iii) the ability of the payor spouse to provide support;
87 (iv) the length of the marriage;
88 (v) whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
89 (vi) whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor
90 spouse; and
91 (vii) whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor
92 spouse's skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or [
93 payor spouse to attend school during the marriage.
94 (b) The court may consider the fault of the parties in determining whether to award
95 alimony and the terms thereof.
96 (c) "Fault" means wrongful conduct during the marriage that substantially contributed
97 to the breakup of the marriage relationship, including:
98 (i) engaging in sexual relations with a person other than the party's spouse;
99 (ii) knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the
100 other party or minor children;
101 (iii) knowingly and intentionally causing the other party or minor children to
102 reasonably fear life-threatening harm; or
103 (iv) substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor
105 (d) The court may, when fault is at issue, close the proceedings and seal the court
108 the time of separation, in determining alimony in accordance with Subsection (8)(a). However,
109 the court shall consider all relevant facts and equitable principles and may, in its discretion,
110 base alimony on the standard of living that existed at the time of trial. In marriages of short
111 duration, when no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may
112 consider the standard of living that existed at the time of the marriage.
114 parties' respective standards of living.
116 change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change
117 shall be considered in dividing the marital property and in determining the amount of alimony.
118 If one spouse's earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses
119 during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in dividing the marital
120 property and awarding alimony.
122 children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider restoring
123 each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage.
125 orders regarding alimony based on a substantial material change in circumstances not
126 foreseeable at the time of the divorce.
127 (ii) The court may not modify alimony or issue a new order for alimony to address
128 needs of the recipient that did not exist at the time the decree was entered, unless the court
129 finds extenuating circumstances that justify that action.
130 (iii) In determining alimony, the income of any subsequent spouse of the payor may not
131 be considered, except as provided in this Subsection (8).
132 (A) The court may consider the subsequent spouse's financial ability to share living
134 (B) The court may consider the income of a subsequent spouse if the court finds that
135 the payor's improper conduct justifies that consideration.
137 that the marriage existed unless, at any time prior to termination of alimony, the court finds
138 extenuating circumstances that justify the payment of alimony for a longer period of time.
139 (9) Unless a decree of divorce specifically provides otherwise, any order of the court
140 that a party pay alimony to a former spouse automatically terminates upon the remarriage or
141 death of that former spouse. However, if the remarriage is annulled and found to be void ab
142 initio, payment of alimony shall resume if the party paying alimony is made a party to the
143 action of annulment and [
144 (10) Any order of the court that a party pay alimony to a former spouse terminates
145 upon establishment by the party paying alimony that the former spouse is cohabitating with
146 another person.
Legislative Review Note
as of 10-22-12 7:09 AM