How Is Property Divided in a Divorce?

If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, one of the many things you may be thinking about is how your property will be divided. You and your spouse may have things that you acquired before you were married, as well as items acquired during the marriage.

So who gets what? The answer is that it depends on what the court thinks is fair.

Equitable Division of Property

Utah is an equitable division of property state. This means not that property will be divided 50-50 but that it will be divided fairly.

Before determining what you and your spouse are entitled to, you must determine what each of you had before the marriage or what was acquired through inheritance (referred to as non-marital property). Generally, in divorce cases, Utah courts will allow each spouse to keep their non-marital property.

However, in situations where non-marital property became marital property (by combining it or legally declaring it as such), the court will divide the non-marital property as marital property.

Factors Considered When Dividing Marital Property

In Utah, when property is acquired during a marriage, regardless of who purchased it or whose name is on the title, during divorce proceedings, it must be divided between the spouses fairly.

The court will consider various factors when determining what is fair. This includes:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse
  • The occupation each spouse
  • The economic status of each spouse

If you and your spouse were married for many years, the court might determine that a 50-50 split is fair. However, either you or your spouse may get more or less of 50% of the marital property.

If you and your spouse were married for a shorter period, your property might be divided based on what each of you had before the marriage.

But what if you and your spouse have agreed beforehand on how your property will be split? In this situation, the court will review your proposed division to ensure that each spouse is getting what is considered fair.

What's Considered Marital Property?

Various types of assets acquired during your marriage are considered marital property, such as:

  • Land or homes: If you and your spouse purchased land, a home, or other real property while you were married, upon divorce, it may be sold and the money split fairly between you and your spouse, regardless of whether only one of your names is on the deed. If your situation allows, you or your spouse may keep the home, but the person who keeps it must buy out the other party.
  • Cars, jewelry, and other personal property: Things can get a little more complicated when determining how to divide movable property. Typically, the court will give each spouse enough property that would allow them to establish their own home. For instance, if you and your spouse have two of something, such as a car, you'll each get one.
  • Retirement and pension plans: If you and your spouse have retirement or pension plans, typically, the court will allow you to each keep your own. However, if only one of you has a plan, the spouse without it may receive something of value equivalent to the benefits of the plan.
Various nuances exist concerning property division during a divorce, and our Salt Lake City attorneys can help you understand your rights. Call Lokken & Putnam, P.C. at (801) 829-9783 or contact us online for the legal assistance you need.