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Divorce and Property Division: Understanding Utah Law

By Robert L. Froerer on May 21, 2016

Filling out legal paperworkThe lawyers of Froerer & Miles are committed to the people of Utah, offering expert legal counsel and the type of advice that people need to ensure the system works fairly for them. These concerns are of extra importance to us when it comes to family law issues.

Working with an experienced divorce attorney can be very helpful and a source of peace of mind. This is particularly true when it comes to dividing property. Let's examine this matter right now.

The Legal Definition of "Property"

Property, broadly defined, refers to all assets and liabilities that are either marital or separate (we'll touch on that distinction in a moment). This refers to a wide array of items, including:

  • A home or property
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Apparel and accessories
  • Furniture
  • Income
  • Dividends
  • Benefits

Some of these items are part of the marriage as a couple, while others are considered personal belongings of one person or the other.

Marital Property and Separate Property

Basically, marital property refers to property that belongs to the married couple, while separate property refers to property that belongs to one member of the couple, with each item considered individually.

Marital property is usually considered any property obtained during the marriage, such as a family house and/or family car bought after a couple has been wed.

Separate property is usually considered property a spouse owned before marriage or was given specifically as a gift or as part of inheritance.

Equitable Distribution of Property

Utah judges are given discretion to help determine fairness in the distribution of property following a divorce. Several factors will be taken into account, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the income of each spouse, the career of each spouse, and other matters related to finances. The divorcing spouses will also have a say in these matters and can negotiate or dispute certain decisions when they are made.

The above applies specifically to marital property in terms of distribution. Separate property can be kept by the respective spouse so long as that is agreed upon.

A Word on Personal Property

Personal property in these cases are marital property items that can be moved, such a furniture, apparel, appliances, and dishes. Ideally fairness helps determine the distribution of this personal property. When there is an equal number of each item, ideally each spouse will receive an equal share.

Issues with Homes and Equity

Division of a home can be especially difficult given the emotions involved. In terms of pure math, however, the equity of the home minus debts or liens will be determined, with the final amount split between the divorcing spouses.

Retirement Accounts and Pensions

In cases in which each of the spouses have their own retirement benefits, they will often be allowed to keep their own benefits as part of the divorce. Vested pensions, however, may be deemed marital property by Utah law. Different methods of valuation can be used to determine the value of this asset.

How Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help

Divorces can be very difficult times in people's lives, and they can try patience and have a major effect on emotional and psychological well-being. Having an attorney on your side means having someone at your back when you need the support. We can offer expert counsel for various factors in your divorce, and fight for fairness on your behalf.

Contact Froerer & Miles

For more information about your legal options in cases of divorce and separation, be sure to contact our team of attorneys today. The lawyers of Froerer & Miles will wok with you in your time of legal need and help ensure you understand your rights.

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