Marital Property and Debt Division
Marital Property Division
If you and your spouse are divorcing, sooner or later you’ll have to discuss how marital property should be divided once the divorce is finalized. Throughout the divorce process, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to come up with an arrangement that you both deem to be a fair division of your shared assets. However, it’s not always easy to get you and your spouse on the same page and come up with a settlement agreement. Talk to a reliable family law attorney about your shared property to get an accurate estimate of how these will be divided once your marriage is dissolved.
Types of Property
In determining how property is divided in a divorce, it’s important to distinguish marital property, (which belongs to the marriage) from separate property (which is owned by each spouse).
In general, property or income that was acquired or earned during the marriage are considered marital property, along with property that was considered separate but was used for the benefit of the marriage.
Separate property, on the other hand, refers to any property that was owned exclusively by you or your spouse, and was kept separate for the entirety of your marriage. Gifts or inheritance received by only one spouse are also considered to be separate.
Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to know whether your assets and property are considered as marital or separate.
For an equitable division of marital property, Utah judges exercise discretion to consider various factors in splitting the divorcing couple’s property. How each property was acquired and how long the marriage lasted are two main factors considered, but each spouse’s financial situation once the marriage has ended and their level of education are also taken into consideration. As such, a judge will divide marital property equitable rather than equally, so that both parties will be on equal footing at the end of the divorce process.
Alimony is also considered a part of the equitable division of property in a divorce. Alimony or spousal support refers to the payment of one spouse to the other party to maintain a lifestyle similar to what they have enjoyed during the marriage. In determining the amount of alimony, Utah family courts may consider fault. The court looks at both spouses’ financial situation and earning capacity to determine how much should be paid for spousal support, and for how long this support will last.
Marital Debt Division
Aside from marital property, it’s important to remember that debts will also be equitably divided between the divorcing couple.
Shared and Personal Debts
As with shared property in marriage, debts can also be classified into shared and personal debts. Debts that were entered into by the divorcing couple, or contracted on behalf of a minor child, are to be divided equitably between the divorcing parties. On the other hand, a debt or loan with property as collateral typically goes to the spouse that will get said property, but the other party may still be ordered to pay a portion of the debt.
Fair Debt Division
Similar to division of marital property, debts are to be divided equitably between the divorcing parties. If both parties cannot agree on how to divide debts, a family court can settle the dispute for them. The court takes the circumstances of each party into consideration in dividing marital debts.
While this may not necessarily mean that each party is liable for half of the total amount owed, the courts won’t force one spouse to pay for debts entered solely for the other party’ sake, or have liability for a property that won’t be in their possession.
Do you have concerns regarding the division of marital property and debt in a divorce? Our experienced divorce attorneys at Wᴀʟᴅʀᴏɴ Lᴀᴡ Gʀᴏᴜᴘ can negotiate on your behalf and provide assistance throughout the divorce process so you can be at ease and achieve a peace of mind. Contact us and take control of your family affairs today!