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MacDonald v. MacDonald, 2018 UT 48 (Sept. 5, 2018)

Sep 5, 2018

This appeal arose from a former husband’s petition to modify his former wife’s alimony award.  The district court denied the petition, applying a standard set forth in a line of cases from the court of appeals that allows a modification of an alimony order only if there is a substantial change in circumstances that was not contemplated in the original decree of divorce.  The court of appeals affirmed this decision, but under a different standard.  It repudiated the “contemplated in the decree” standard set forth in prior case law and concluded that Utah Code § 30-3-5(8)(i) allows for a modification of alimony only where there is a “substantial change in circumstances not foreseeable at the time of the divorce.”  On certiorari, the supreme court affirmed the court of appeals and further clarified that the foreseeability inquiry must be based on evidence that was in the record of the trial court that entered the decree.