The principles behind the division of property are straightforward in Utah. The court needs to be equitable and fair and is empowered to consider virtually any information about why an even split isn’t equitable or fair. Legally, once married, everything that either spouse earns is owned 50/50 by both parties. The parties are free to decide how hard to fight over how much each item is worth. A lot of people do not put in that kind of work because they don’t think it would be worth it. Instead, they just split things up however they informally agree on it.
When there is a fight, the key is to figure out how much the item is worth. Once that is established, one party buys the other party out or lets the non-recipient receive other property of equal value from the marital estate. Real property is a thornier issue because often that is the most valuable asset in a marital estate. The equity in a home often cannot be divided without selling the home, which can lead to a lot of upheaval and heartbreak, especially for families with children who are living there.
If one party can buy the other one out or another agreement can be reached where a fair compensation can be made through retirement accounts or other assets in the marital estate, then one party can get the home and the other party can be fairly compensated.
There are two exceptions to the marital property division rules. The first is that premarital property is not part of the marital estate. Premarital property is anything a party brought into the marriage that was owned by the party prior to the wedding date, and that has not been commingled with the marital estate.
Whether or not a valuable item has become commingled is definitely a question of fact. A party must present evidence and have a judge decide whether the item is still separate or has become marital property.
The same is the case for inheritances. When a party receives an inheritance, even if they are married at the time of receiving it, it remains separate property unless it becomes commingled.
For more information on Division Of Assets/Debts In A Utah Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 923-6565 today.