Spouses combine their financial accounts and share everything from vehicles to credit cards. You pool your resources so that you can enjoy a higher standard of living and support each other during your marriage. The longer you stay married and the more you share, the more complicated it will be to separate your lives when you divorce.
Thinking about divorce is often overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Rather than believing the horror stories you hear from a co-worker or read online, it is much smarter to learn about Utah state law and the different approaches to divorce.
Utah wants a fair outcome to property division
If you and your ex go to court to divide your assets, a judge must interpret state law while considering your inventory of assets and the details of your marriage. Utah has an equitable distribution law. In other words, a judge must seek a solution to dividing your property and debts that is fair.
Your custody arrangements, your health, your age, the length of the marriage and your income will all influence what a judge feels is appropriate and equitable when dividing your property. Unless you have a marital agreement with your spouse, all of your income and property from during the marriage is subject to division as marital assets.
Even your credit card debts from during the marriage get split up when you divorce. You may be able to protect some of your assets by showing that they are separate property or partially separate property. Big assets like retirement accounts and real estate may be partially separate property and partially marital property. Only the marital portion of those assets will get split in the divorce.
You don’t have to litigate anything
The idea that a judge has complete control over your assets and debts may frighten you. The good news is that you don’t have to go to court to set those terms. You and your ex have the option of settling all of your major issues yourself.
Understanding state law can help you better negotiate with your spouse based on what would likely happen in court. You can reach any kind of settlement that both of you will approve of and willingly submit to the courts. Learning more about the Utah approach to property division can help you feel confident as you consider a potential divorce.