In Utah, the general rule is that a spouse will get to keep his or her separate property (assets), but the marital property (assets) will be split 50/50 between husband and wife. Separate property is property that an individual owned prior to getting married; property that is given during the marriage as a gift specifically to the individual; or money or property that an individual inherits before or during marriage. These three types of property are typically considered separate property, and all other property that either spouse owns is typically considered marital property. There are some exceptions when it comes to separate property. For example, if you get a big chunk of change as an inheritance and you go deposit it in a joint bank account, and you and your spouse use that money, a court would probably consider that money to be “co-mingled” and therefore converted into marital property.
There is no specific calculation for dividing debts. When people get divorced, Utah law simply requires that the division be fair and equitable. Typically, if someone ends up with more property, they likely will end up with more debt. For example, if you get one car, you will likely get the debt left on that vehicle. If your spouse gets another car, he or she will likely take that vehicle subject to any loan payments that remain. Courts just try to be fair and equitable in dividing property. An easy way to do it is to make an Excel spreadsheet of all your major items of personal property, and another sheet for all your debts; then you and your spouse sit down and choose who gets which item of property, and who gets which debt. The idea is to make a practical division of the things that you own. Usually (and hopefully) this can be achieved by you and your spouse rather than by spending money to take it to court and have a judge or commissioner decide for you.
To learn more about property and debt division, including retirement accounts, life insurance, and filing taxes, visit our Assets and Debts page.
At Woods Law, we are dedicated to helping and protecting our clients to ensure that the division of their debts and property is fair and equitable, which we achieve through detailed inspection of the law. Contact us today at (801) 772-4419 for a free consultation.