Alimony/spousal support and property division typically come up during a divorce proceeding, although the details of alimony and property division can vary widely from state to state. For example, Idaho is a “community property” or “common law” state, meaning that any property acquired jointly by a couple throughout the course of a marriage is subject to property division between the spouses. Utah and Wyoming, on the other hand, follow “equitable” models for alimony and the division of property, and consider factors such as the income potential and level of education of each spouse.

Property Division

While different states use different standards for alimony and property division, this is a general outline of the guidelines used by mediators or judges:

  • “Separate” property is property acquired by only one spouse before or during the marriage. For example, an inheritance from the parent(s) of one spouse is usually viewed as separate property. “Community property,” or “maritalproperty,” is property that was acquired during the marriage, and is often split evenly between spouses.
  • A “fair market value” is assigned to each type of property.
  • Property is divided between the spouses. Equitable distribution states like Utah and Wyoming attempt to divide property “fairly” as opposed to a strict 50/50 split, as would be the case is Idaho.
  • Each spouse may be asked to provide a complete financial disclosure statement in order to determine the most equitable distribution of community property. Earning potential, taxes, and prenuptial agreements may also be considered.

Alimony/Spousal Support

Another reason why each spouse may be asked to provide a financial disclosure statement is to reveal all sources of income for each spouse, as well as expenses. The mediating attorneys or the Court can use the financial disclosure statements to determine whether one spouse should provide the other with financial support. “Spousal Support” usually refers to financial support that one spouse provides to the other during the course of the divorce, and possibly to help that spouse “get on his or her feet” following the divorce. “Alimony” (also known as “spousal maintenance”) is support paid for a long term following a divorce. Alimony is often not considered unless one spouse cannot work for some reason, such as if he or she must stay home to take care of a special needs child. The length of a marriage often determines the amount of spousal support or alimony.

Graham Norris and the associates of the Norris Law Firm have decades of experience with divorce cases in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.Contact our offices today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation to discuss your divorce case.