When a couple divorces, they face many different obstacles that must be settled. Included in that set of issues is the division of property. Dividing assets for a divorcing couple can be a tedious process. If the couple is unable to determine this for themselves, they will turn to the court to dictate their property’s division.

Discover more about how property is divided in Utah divorce cases below.

How is Property Divided?

Utah courts will use an equitable approach when dividing marital property between each spouse. This means that the property acquired throughout the marriage will be divided fairly, though this does not necessarily mean an equal, 50-50 split. 


Regardless of the income source, Utah recognizes that each spouse contributed to acquiring the property in their marriage and will use an equitable approach to dividing the property. However, generally speaking, separate property (inherited, gifted, or premarital) will not be divided between spouses in a divorce. So, if one spouse was gifted a property, inherited property from the death of a loved one, or owned a property before the marriage and brought it into the marriage, the property will not be distributed between spouses.


Several factors play into determining the division of property, including how long the marriage is, how old spouses are, their overall health, jobs, and income. Longer marriages will typically be split equitably. Shorter marriages may result in the judge placing spouses back in their economic position before they were married.


Splitting Specific Assets

Real Property — Real property includes land and anything permanently attached to it. If real property was purchased during the marriage, it is typically considered marital property, regardless of whose name is on the deed. This may be awarded to the parent with physical custody of the children, sold and the money is distributed, or one spouse may buy out the other spouse.


Personal Property — Overall, any property that can be moved is considered personal property, for example, cars, boats, jewelry, TV, appliances, tools, and more. Property is regarded as marital property if it has a legal title (even if only one person’s name is on the title). Generally speaking, the rule for distributing property is to help each person set up their own home. So, if there are two of an item, each spouse will get one.


Retirement and Pension Plans — Generally speaking, if only one spouse has a retirement or pension plan, the other spouse is entitled to half of the amount that was contributed and earned during their marriage. If they each have their own, the court may determine that each spouse keeps their own or that they are combined then split equitably. 

Contact The Ault Firm

You will find, like most everything, there are exceptions to these laws which can be complex. If you are going through a divorce in the Salt Lake City or West Jordan, Utah area, contact the experts in family law at The Ault Firm. Our team of professionals will guide you through this complicated process and help protect your rights. Contact us to schedule your case review today.