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Issertell v. Issertel, 2020 UT App 62 (Apr. 16, 2020)

Apr 16, 2020

In this divorce proceeding, the court of appeals affirmed the district court’s order modifying the husband’s child support and alimony obligations. Approximately a year after the initial divorce decree was entered, the husband lost his job at which he had been earning $8,607 per month. Unable to find new employment, husband filed a petition to modify. The court of appeals held that in granting that petition, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the husband was not voluntarily unemployed based on the evidence presented, including that he had unsuccessfully applied to over 800 jobs. The court additionally rejected the wife’s argument that equalization of poverty was inappropriate because, taking into account the income of husband’s new wife, there was money available to husband to pay the alimony and child support obligations. In concluding money from the husband’s new wife was not a gift, the district court properly considered evidence regarding the new wife’s contribution to the couple’s household expenses as well evidence they had drained both of their savings accounts and borrowed money from the wife’s retirement to meet the current obligations to the wife, and that the husband had an agreement to pay his new wife back.