Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Must Do More Than Merely State Income of the Payor Spouse to be Entitled to Alimony

Connell v. Connell, 2010 UT App. 136, (Utah Court of Appeals May 27, 2010).

Divorce Decree ordred Husband was ordered to pay $230 alimony and $1797 per month in child support.  Alimony was to terminate when wife obtained full time work.  Wife appeals the Alimony award, the award of attorney fees, and the failure of the trial court to order reimbursement of the payments made toward the marital home.
As to the termination of alimony, the Court of Appeals found a court must do more than simply evaluate the payor spouse’s income.  They must also make findings as to the payor’s needs and expenditures as the trial court did in this case.  The trial court additionally correctly imputed Husband at the income of a previous job, because his loss of the job was based on his voluntary failure to comply with employment requirements.  The court’s ruling as to alimony is affirmed
As to attorney fees, this matter is Reversed and Remanded to determine what fees are suit fees (incurred establish an order) and which are enforcement fees (incurred to enforce orders).  Fees to establish an order are based on ability to pay, but enforcement fees are based on unnecessarily incurred fees because of another’s actions. 
As to the mortgage payment, Husband filed for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy proceedings attached the home and took jurisdiction over the home.  The Court affirmed the trial court’s find that it did not have jurisdiction to grant Wife’s request.

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