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Four things to know about property division during divorce in Utah

Divorce in Utah is a complex matter and property division is often one of the more contentious issues that can arise. Having a basic understanding of the process can help.

Divorce is a complicated and intimidating process. Those who are considering a divorce may have done a brief online search in an attempt to get an idea about how the process works. Although beneficial to gather information about the process, it is important to make sure the information you are reviewing is not only accurate but also applies to your situation.

Divorce is a process that is governed by state law. As a result, a divorce in New York will likely be different from the divorce process here in Utah. This piece is specifically catered to those who are going through the process in Utah.

How do courts in Utah split property during divorce?

Utah uses equitable distribution when dividing property during divorce. An equitable distribution is one that is deemed fair by the courts. This type of distribution does not always result in an equal split. The court will decide on a split based on a number of considerations. This can include the length of the marriage, the occupations of the parties and the health of all involved.

Utah Courts note that the odds of an equal split increase for longer marriages. If the marriage is relatively short, the courts are more likely to focus on the economic position each individual was in prior to the marriage and attempt to develop a split that would preserve this station in life.

What about retirement assets?

Retirement assets are generally considered marital property and are subject to distribution during divorce. In many cases, courts will choose to provide the spouse that contributes to the account with the asset. In exchange, the other spouse is given something of equivalent value. This could be the family home or a combination of other assets.

If the retirement asset is split, special paperwork is required to ensure payment. A divorce decree alone is not enough to ensure that someone other than the listed owner of the retirement asset receives payments from the account. A court order referred to as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is generally required.

What about prenups?

If a couple has a prenuptial agreement, it will likely be used to guide the divorce. As long as the prenup is valid, it can determine how assets are distributed. It cannot, however, determine how child support payments or other expenses related to children are determined.

Do I need a lawyer?

It is generally wise to seek legal counsel when going through a divorce. These are just a few of the many issues that must be addressed during the property division determination portion of the divorce and this is just one portion of the divorce. Additional areas to address include child custody and child support.

As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can advocate for your interests during the divorce process, better ensuring an outcome that sets you up for a successful transition after the divorce is complete.

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