Division of Property

Real property acquired during the marriage is subject to being divided equally between the parties.  How this is done is always open for negotiation.  But the basic premise is that any equity is split 50/50 between the parties.

Personal property, remember is everything not land or attached to land, is also divided on a fair and equitable basis.  What is fair an equitable depends.  It can mean a 50/50 split of the property or its value or something other than 50/50.  Again this is all open to negotiation.

Retirement benefits accrued during the marriage are subject to being divided regardless of who is the owner.  Courts use what is commonly referred to as the “Woodward” formula.  It’s kind of complicated but basically any retirement acquired during the marriage is divided equally between the parties.  A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is created and signed by the judge.  The Plan Adminstrator, upon receipt of the QDRO divides the accounts, pursuant to the terms of the order,  in to two separate accounts.  One for the actual owner of the account and the other for the other spouse.

Last issue to address is division of debt.  Utah, once again uses a fair and equitable standard as to the division of debt.  It can mean to divided on a 50/50 basis or something other than that.  Some principles usually apply, for example, debt follows property.  If one party is receiving a car that has a payment, it is generally presumed that person will be responsible for that debt.  There will be obligation for removing the other party from financial responsibility on the car or other property.  This usually requires a refinance within a designated period of time.  Other times debt can be divided by who incurred the debt or in who’s name the debt is listed.  Debt can also be divided on the same basis as child support is calculated.  The court can look at the combined gross income of the parties, determine each part’s percentage contribution to the combined gross income and divide the debt accordingly.

Division of Debt

Utah, once again uses a fair and equitable standard as to the division of debt.  It can mean to divided on a 50/50 basis or something other than that.  Some principles usually apply, for example, debt follows property.  If one party is receiving a car that has a payment, it is generally presumed that person will be responsible for that debt.  There will be obligation for removing the other party from financial responsibility on the car or other property.  This usually requires a refinance within a designated period of time.  Other times debt can be divided by who incurred the debt or in who’s name the debt is listed.  Debt can also be divided on the same basis as child support is calculated.  The court can look at the combined gross income of the parties, determine each part’s percentage contribution to the combined gross income and divide the debt accordingly.

Alimony Attorney Services

One of the most difficult things a court decides is alimony, and in turn one of the hardest things for an attorney to predict. Statutes tell courts and lawyers of the factors which are to be considered, but even knowing what the factors are, knowing what alimony will be can be hard to know.

However, there are some factors which are important than others, these factors are known as The Jones Factors:

  • The needs of the spouse requesting alimony.
  • The requesting spouse's ability to earn income to meet their own needs.
  • The paying spouses’ ability to pay.

Other important factors include:

  • Whether the spouse asking for alimony contributed directly to the earning potential of the other spouse. Such as working to put a spouse through school.
  • Did the spouse requesting alimony work in a business owned or controlled by the other spouse.
  • Length of the marriage.
  • If there are children, whether the spouse requesting alimony has custody of minor children.

 

What Else is Required?

Both parties will be required to submit financial declarations, these declarations contain information regarding each spouse's income, tax deductions, debts, assets and expenses. The court will require documents supporting these declarations. Documents include:

  • Two years most recent tax returns.
  • Income statements or paystubs for the last full year.
  • Financial statements & loan applications for the last year.
  • Property tax notices and copies of any appraisals.
  • Last three months financial statements for any and all accounts.
  • Proof of claimed expenses, such as; utility bills, mortgage/rent statements, other bill, etc.