Tag: necessary living expense

Tithing Can Be a Legitimate Personal Expense in the Context of Determining the Alimony Award

Whether my recollection is true or not, I remember being taught in law school that tithing and other regular charitable giving cannot be treated as a personal expense deduction in bankruptcy. It appears that is no longer true (if ever it was). I was taught as a divorce lawyer by people who should have known better that tithing or regular charitable giving could not be considered a personal expense when analyzing need and ability to pay in the context of the alimony award. I don’t know if that was ever true, but I know it’s not true now. In the Utah Court of Appeals decision in the case of Knowles v. Knowles, 2022 UT App 47, 509 P.3d 265, the trial court refused to include tithing expenditures as part of the alimony calculation because it was “not a necessary living expense.” The Utah Court of Appeals reversed that decision, explaining that it “ignored the requirement that [trial courts] assess the expense based on how the parties chose to spend and allocate their money while married.” the Utah Court of Appeals decision in the case of Mintz v. Mintz – 2023 UT App 17, at ¶24 , the Utah Court of Appeals opined that “the marital standard of living analysis is not merely a question about what the parties spent their money on or whether they spent it at all. Rather, in terms of alimony, the marital standard of living analysis is about whether the parties’ proposed points of calculation are consistent with the parties’ manner of living and financial decisions (i.e., the historical allocation of their resources). Something may contribute to the marital standard of living even though it may not result in a direct benefit or detriment to the marital estate’s net worth.”

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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