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Property Division in Utah Divorce

by Norris Law Group on June 2, 2014

Property Division in Utah DivorceUtah is an “equitable division” state when it comes to the division of property in a divorce proceeding. This means that the Utah divorce court will divide property in an equitable—but not necessarily equal—fashion.

Assuming that the parties in a given divorce cannot or will not agree to terms or property distribution and the divorce case goes before judge, the judge will consider multiple factors when making a determination on the division of property. According to the Utah Courts, some of these factors include (but may not be limited to):

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the age and health of the couple;
  • the occupation of each spouse (and whether each spouse has an occupation outside of the home);
  • the amount of each spouse’s income;
  • the sources of each spouse’s income; and/or
  • the capacity of each spouse to earn an income.

Marital Property

If the income of the couple was largely based on the contributions (whether monetary or staying home to care for the household) and the divorce will likely result in a major change of income for one spouse, the Utah family court will take this into consideration when determining property division and any spousal support or alimony. For example, if one spouse was able to devote his or her time to building a business because the other spouse stayed home to care for their children, and the business became very successful, the court will consider that the spouse who built the business may not have had the time to do so had the other spouse not stayed home. In such a case, a judge may make a “compensating adjustment” in both property division and spousal support/alimony. The court will also consider any joint marital debts, liabilities or other financial obligation (student loans, etc.) that the couple amassed during the marriage.

In long-term Utah marriages, the judge may deem a true 50/50 split to be the most equitable solution. In short-term marriages, a Utah judge is more likely to rule that each spouse should leave the marriage with the assets with which he or she entered into it.

Non-Marital Property

Any property owned by each spouse prior to a Utah marriage or received as a gift or an inheritance during the course of the marriage is typically considered by the court to be non-marital property (or separate property. Non-marital property is not subject to property division, unless mitigating circumstances are present. For example, if one spouse inherits money from a parent and then deposits the funds into a joint checking account used by both spouses, the inheritance may fall under the category of marital property because of the commingling of funds.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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