It is a concern heard by many divorce-industry experts: What happens to stay-at-home moms or stay-at-home dads in a divorce?
When the other spouse has handled the financial side of life for perhaps the entire marriage and the stay-at-home parent has handled the domestic responsibilities, facing a divorce can be a daunting process. There may be a fear of handling both responsibilities, especially for those who have not worked for significant periods of time.
Utah’s equitable distribution laws
Before getting into specifics, it is important to understand how Utah distributes property after a divorce. Utah is one of the many states known as an equitable distribution state.
This means that all property deemed marital property is divided equitably (i.e., fairly) between the parting spouses. It often does not matter how the property is titled or “owned.” If it is classified as marital, it may be equitably distributed between the spouses.
Naturally, the next inquiry is what constitutes marital property. Except for inheritances, anything acquired (both debts and assets) during a marriage is usually deemed marital property.
Of course, depending on how one negotiates their divorce settlement, retirement plans can definitely be included. Generally, that portion of any retirement plan vested, earned, or accumulated during the marriage would likely qualify as marital property subject to equitable distribution. This is true even if only one spouse is named on the account.
Real estate is generally treated the same way. If a home was purchased during (or in contemplation) of a marriage, it would generally be considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution during divorce.
What is equitable?
This is a decision that will be made by the court, factoring in everything that happened during the marriage as well as the length of the marriage. It is important to consult with experienced legal counsel who can work to advocate for your best interests, especially if you have been a stay-at-home parent throughout your marriage. To speak with a family law attorney, please call Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates at 801-475-8800.