People who are going through a divorce in Utah are subject to the equitable division of property law and the general discretion of a court-appointed judge.
Whether a couple is going through a divorce or legal separation, there are several details that must be negotiated and included in the final settlement. Property division can be one of the most challenging topics to cover during a separation, as some couples may have difficulties dividing up their property and assets amicably. While some Utah couples can divide their own property and assets through the mediation process, others may be better off leaving the fate of their items in the hands of a court-appointed judge.
Equitable division of property
Utah is just one of the many states in the nation that uses the equitable distribution of property model when separating property in a divorce. Unlike the community property model, which divides all marital property evenly in half, the equitable division model allows the judge to make decisions based off the unique circumstances of the divorce case. For example, if one spouse is given primary custody of the children, the judge may decide to let that spouse keep the house. After the judge has a full understanding of the case, he or she will distribute the marital property and assets accordingly.
Making the final decision
Since the judge is given the final say as to who gets what in the divorce settlement, he or she may consider the following factors, according to Utah State Legislature:
• Whether there are children involved.
• The nature of the debt and/or financial obligations that the couple is responsible for.
• How long the marriage lasted.
• The amount of income each spouse generates as well as any potential income he or she may have based on education, experience and skillset.
The judge will also look at whether either spouse contributed to the education or career of the other spouse by staying at home with the children or working to financially support those advancements.
Marital vs. non-marital property
Some property items and assets may be ineligible for division in the settlement and could remain with the original owner. According to Forbes, separate property includes items that either spouse owned prior to becoming married. Certain items, including inheritance and gifts from third-parties, may also remain with one party after the divorce is finalized. In some cases, separate property can become marital if it is mixed in with other marital property. For instance, if a spouse's inheritance money is deposited into a joint bank account with the other spouse's name attached, it may be considered marital property.
Getting through the divorce process
Going through a divorce can be emotional, and it can be difficult to make critical decisions when you are dealing with high amounts of stress. A Utah attorney who understands the state's divorce laws may be an essential component of the process. The lawyers at Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates will listen to the circumstances involved in your divorce and answer any questions you might have regarding your legal options.