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Committee kills bill that would have allowed judges to consider fault in awarding alimony

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SALT LAKE CITY — A legislative committee killed a proposal Tuesday that would have allowed judges to consider fault in awarding alimony.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted down SB11, which would have allowed judges to consider fault of the parties in a divorce proceeding. Fault means "wrongful conduct during the marriage," which could include committing adultery, abusing children or "substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or minor children."

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, was discussed extensively during the Legislature's interim period, where opponents argued that finding fault would raise the level of contention in already difficult divorce proceedings.

But others argued that courts award judgments for other types of wrongs, such as injuries sustained in accidents that render a person unable to work.

Hillyard said Tuesday the bill was intended to reinforce the concept that "we think marriage is much more than a contract."

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Marjorie Cortez


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