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Be sure to protect your assets in a high net worth divorce

You've worked hard for most of your life to get to where you are today. Your successful career is the result of your efforts, and you've earned the comfortable lifestyle you enjoy.

If you are heading toward a divorce, you might have concerns about what's going to happen to that lifestyle. Perhaps you're uncertain what you're going to lose when the marital assets are divided. Here is a quick look at what happens when splitting property during a divorce in Utah.

A fair share is not always an even share

In some states, the law requires martial assets be shared equally between divorcing spouses. This is not the case in Utah. Judges in Utah will seek to divide the marital property equitably, rather than equally. In other words, each spouse gets what the judge decides is a fair portion of the shared assets.

Equitable does not always mean equal, but that is a possibility. When making a decision, a judge will consider the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse's age and health
  • Individual sources of income and/or potential for income
  • Evidence of willful destruction or wasting of marital assets

Although each case is unique, trends suggest that a longer marriage may result in a split closer to 50-50. A divorce after a short-term marriage might see both parties sent back to square one, meaning a return to each individual's financial situation at the outset of the marriage.

What property is subject to division?

Generally, any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage qualifies as marital property and subject to division. That applies even to assets held in title by a single owner, including real estate property and vehicles. Holding an asset in your name or putting it in the name of your spouse does not guarantee ownership after a divorce.

All your personal property will also be up for grabs, including household items, furniture, jewelry and more. Pension and retirement plans may also qualify as marital property, though you will likely hang on to your own plan. To offset this distribution, your spouse may gain assets of similar value.

Exclusions from marital property include anything you owned before your marriage and assets shown to be gifts or inheritances given directly to you. However, personal assets that have co-mingled with marital assets may become marital property in a judge's eyes.

Fighting for your rights in a Utah divorce

Dividing the marital assets can be a contentious issue during a divorce. A lot may be at stake, and it's a rare person who simply gives in without a fight. After working so hard to get where you are in life, you want to be sure you walk away with a truly fair portion of your property.

Your greatest asset during this time could be a hardworking lawyer focused on your best interests. A local lawyer who knows the courtrooms of Salt Lake City and who has a deep understanding of Utah divorce laws can help ensure you hang on to what's rightfully yours.

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