Division of Property

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Determining the Division of Property During a Divorce

Utah domestic courts focus on providing equality to both parties. When going through a divorce, certain assets will need to be split between both parties. Division of property in Utah can be complicated as each case is unique. Utah recognizes two types of property in a divorce case: separate property and marital property.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property is defined as property belonging to one spouse. The property owned by the spouse is normally acquired before the marriage, or property left to that person through a will of a deceased loved one or acquaintance.

What is Marital Property?

Marital property is deemed as property acquired during the marriage. Both parties may or may not be on the deed to the property together, however the property is normally paid for during the marriage. The courts will consider several factors when determining how to divide property including:

The amount and type of property to be divided
Source of the property
Health of both parties
Standard of living for both parties
Financial conditions of both parties
Needs of both parties
The earning capacities of both parties
Duration of the marriage
What both parties gave up in the marriage

The division of property is related to the amount of alimony awarded. The court will consider all these factors as they make the ruling on which spouses get to keep different property. If there is a large discrepancy in the incomes of the two spouses, the court often sides with the lesser-earning party by awarding them with more marital assets.

Finding a Fair Arrangement

We often see both parties in a Utah divorce divide the property themselves and place this information in the divorce decree. We recommend contacting our law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah before placing marital assets in the divorce decree as you can run into problems with major items in the decree. Whoever has possession of the property will retain rights of it if this is how it’s written in the decree. For example, if your spouse is occupying the home with your grandmothers’ fine china, your spouse can opt to keep the china because they are in legal possession of it.

Debt and Divorce

Marital debt is split during the divorce. Something that is not discussed is the role of the debtor in the new arrangement. Even if the debt is joined and your spouse agrees to pay for it, your credit can still be hurt if they fail to make payments. If your spouse incurred debt you were unaware of, you can be legally responsible for this debt as it is deemed joint debt. To protect you financially, we will focus on full disclosure during settlement negotiations by requiring both parties to list all debtors, account numbers, and current amount of debt.

What can you do if your ex-spouse doesn’t pay their half of the debt? Unfortunately you cannot do anything unless there is an indemnity clause in your divorce settlement. An indemnity clause allows you to take your ex back to court for the money you had to pay as a result of default on a loan.

When you go through a divorce, you need a divorce attorney who understands the many issues involving the division of property in Utah. At Green Legal Group, our divorce attorneys will help make sure you are adequately protected from any further financial damage. Contact us today for a consultation.

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