In an alimony case where the requesting party fails to provide supporting financial documents, a court may impute reasonable expenses based on circumstantial and testimonial evidence.

May 24, 2018

In a previous Utah Supreme Court case of Dahl v. Dahl, 2015 UT 79, the court rule in the facts of that case, Wife failed to show but providing documentary support that she had a financial need that would support an award of alimony. (She also was receiving substantial assets in the property settlement). This is a common contention in alimony trials--that a party fails to provide receipts, bank records, statement, contracts or other evidence of his or her expenses to show that they have a need for alimony. And because a court is generally constrained to limit an award of alimony to a recipient's need (their proven budget), a lack of documentation provided at trial by the recipient spouse is often used to argue and limit or reduce an alimony award. However, in this court of appeals case, Munos v. Carlos, No. 20161013-CA, Filed May 24, 2018, the court ruled that it believed the standard of the Utah Supreme Court under Dahl is that court may impute or assume reasonable expenses if there is some evidence of the expenses and the expenses are otherwise reasonable. The court of appeals explained, "...courts may impute figures where there is insufficient evidence of one of the statutory alimony factors.” Dahl. ¶ 116 (internal quotation omitted). Thus, a court can make findings related to the statutory alimony factors without supporting financial documents and can impute reasonable expenses based on circumstantial or testimonial evidence.

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