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Worried about protecting your financial interests in divorce?

If you're among other Utah residents who recently filed for divorce, you're no doubt working hard to lay the groundwork for a new future. If you have children, their well-being is likely at the top of your list of priorities. You and your ex can hopefully agree to peacefully negotiate all issues that pertain to your co-parenting relationship.

Divorce prompts the need to resolve other issues as well. In addition to child custody, you may have to settle issues regarding alimony or property division, among other things. Property division in particular can be highly stressful, especially if you suspect that your spouse is trying to beat the system by hiding assets. Knowing how to protect your financial interests is a key factor toward providing for your family and accomplishing your goals.

Property division laws vary by state

Utah operates under equitable property division guidelines in divorce. This means the judge overseeing your case isn't necessarily going to split all marital property 50/50. He or she must determine a fair division, although that division may not be necessarily equal. It pays to learn as much as you can about state laws regarding such issues before proceedings begin.

Hiding assets is illegal

If you suspect your spouse is attempting to stash cash or hide assets in divorce, remember that the law is on your side. Not only are hidden asset schemes mean-spirited, property division proceedings require full disclosure from both spouses. Trying to fool the court by hiding assets is illegal.

Update your estate plan

As you navigate the family law system in divorce, you may have many issues on your mind, especially regarding your children. It's easy to forget to update your estate plan; however, not doing so might cause complications down the line, especially if you have designated your spouse as a beneficiary.

The sooner you review and update your plan, the better you will be able to protect your assets and provide for your children's future. You also have the ability to update your plan again if you re-marry at some point.

Seek a valuation of assets as necessary

If you walk into court not really knowing how much your assets are worth, you'll be at a disadvantage when property division proceedings begin. Especially if you're a business owner or have a high net worth value, it's always best to protect your interests by knowing the exact value of your assets before heading to court.

Resolving complex issues

In a perfect world, you could file for divorce, sign a few documents and work out a settlement without any complications or challenges arising now or in the future. In reality, issues such as retirement benefits, taxes, child support and alimony can be quite complex and difficult to resolve, particularly if you lack knowledge or understanding of Utah divorce laws.

You should arm yourself with as much information as possible by seeking support from those who are well-versed in various issues, such as a certified accountant or financial adviser or a legal advocate experienced in all aspects of divorce.

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    — Tawny A.

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