Divorce is more common than you think. As per the latest data, in 2021, 689,308 divorces occurred across the 45 U.S. states that report these statistics. One of the most critical aspects of getting divorced is the property division.
As a professional divorce attorney in Layton, we often face the question – who gets to keep the house? Of course, both parties deserve a fair share of the property, including houses, investments, cars, and other things. But the process can be rather demanding.
Whether you have one house or several properties, you have to be careful about the property division. You will need to understand the divorce process in Utah and how the property division works.
Let’s take a look at how the property division works in Utah.
Understanding the Divorce Process in Utah
Just like every other state, Utah has its own divorce laws. And the law requires an equitable division of marital property. That means the court will divide all marital property equitably. Marital property is the one acquired during your marriage. However, equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal, it means fair. You should speak with an experienced Utah divorce attorney to understand your options.
Usually, the court will consider several factors, not just income, when dividing your marital property. These factors may include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of you and your soon-to-be ex
- Your occupations,
- Your income and other financial sources
- And other relevant matters
As per the law, property owned by you or your divorcing spouse before the marriage or received as gift or inheritance during marriage is considered non-marital property. Generally, the court may not divide non-marital property.
In other words, both of you get to keep what you owned separately before marriage. But if this property is attached to marital property, the court will consider it during the division. Your Utah divorce attorney can help you understand the specifics of your case.
In most cases, the court will not reopen the property division once the order is final. You have to be very careful when negotiating your property division. Make sure to speak with a licensed divorce attorney in Layton before heading into negotiations. Your family law lawyer knows how to get a fair settlement.
Tried and Tested Property Division Tips
You don’t have to go to court to divide your marital property. You can negotiate it with the help of your lawyers and a court-appointed mediator. However, you will still need to ensure the property division is fair. The judge will decide if it is an acceptable, fair, and reasonable division. So, you will need to trade carefully.
Here’s what you have to keep in mind.
1. Know Your Divorce Laws
The first step is to understand the laws and divorce process in Utah. This knowledge can help you make an informed decision when negotiating with the other party. Plus, understand the difference between marital and non-marital property. Don’t assume anything. Talk to your lawyer about the potential division before going ahead with negotiations.
2. Think Long Term
Think about your long-term financial needs. When negotiating, divorcing couples often get caught up in getting the biggest settlement. However, this is often not the right approach. You will need to consider your financial needs carefully when doing this. Ask yourselves questions like:
- Can you handle the mortgage on your house if you get it?
- Can you maintain it properly?
- Will you be paying/receiving child support?
- When are you going to retire?
- How much can you make if you were a homemaker before the divorce?
3. Don’t Fight on Little Stuff
Most divorce cases in Utah will settle. Going to court is expensive and time consuming. But people often tend to get hung up on little stuff when getting divorced. It happens more often than you think.
You should avoid bickering over small things you can easily buy for a few hundred bucks. It will only delay the inevitable. Instead, focus on more valuable and bigger assets. Sort those issues first with the help of your divorce attorney in Layton.
4. Don’t Hide Anything
You will need to have a clear picture of your assets, investments, and debts before negotiations begin. Accuracy will ensure that you are negotiating in good faith and speed up the process.
But more importantly, attempting to hide assets will land you in trouble. Your divorce attorney in Layton will encourage you to document every bit of property you own. You could face a penalty or even worse for hiding your financial information.
5. Pets Are a Property
As terrible as it sounds, Utah, like most states, still considers pets a property. As a result, your furry friend will be up for division like the rest of your assets. The court will consider several factors when determining who keeps the pet.
The court will usually consider who:
- Takes more care of the pet
- Covers the costs of caregiving
- Has the strongest bond with the pet
- Has enough space and good living conditions for the pet
- Has full child custody of the children (especially if it is a family pet)
6. Hire a Utah Divorce Attorney
The final piece of advice is to hire a divorce lawyer in Utah as soon as possible. Lawyers are skilled negotiators. Your attorney will ensure an equitable division of your property during the divorce. They will also defend your legal rights. Just make sure to choose an experienced and competent lawyer. It’s better if they have dealt with divorce cases similar to yours.
Whether you have had a long-term or short-term marriage, your divorce will involve property division. In Utah, the court will divide all your marital property equitably, which basically means fairly. The best way to get through these negotiations is to understand the laws, think long-term, negotiate without bickering, not hide your finances, and hire a divorce lawyer.
Are you looking for a divorce attorney in Layton? Our experienced divorce lawyers will ensure your marital property gets divided equitably. Call (801) 682-5234 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.