Division of Property and Debts

Utah Divorce Lawyers in Salt Lake City | Division of Property and Debts

Utah law calls for an “equitable” division of the parties’ property in connection with a divorce. Courts usually accomplish this by first segregating the parties’ assets into “marital property,” i.e., those assets acquired by the parties during their marriage using funds that were earned during the marriage; and “separate property,” i.e., those assets that were separately owned by the parties at the time they got married, or that were acquired by one of the parties by gift or inheritance during the marriage, and that have not become “co-mingled” with the marital property. The marital property is usually divided equally between the parties, and each party is allowed to keep his or her separate property. However, in unusual cases where one party has a disproportionately large amount of separate property and other factors exist, such as where there is little marital property to divide after a long-term marriage, courts may award a larger share, or even all, of the marital property to the poorer spouse; and in extreme cases may even award some of the richer spouse’s separate property to the poorer spouse.

Debts are usually handled in a similar way. When awarding an asset on which money is still owed, say a house or a car, courts will generally order the spouse to whom the asset is awarded to pay the debt associated with the asset. That, however, does not relieve the other spouse from his/her original obligation to the lender, it just gives him/her the right to try to have his/her ex-spouse held in contempt for failing to pay the debt as ordered, and to obtain a judgment against the ex-spouse for reimbursement for whatever amounts the other spouse spent in paying the debt.

As Utah Divorce Attorneys in Salt Lake City, at J.D. Milliner & Associates we will work hard to make sure your property and debts are fairly divided.

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