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During the course of a relationship, you and your spouse accumulate real and personal property. In the event that your relationship ends, you will need to divide the property. Utah law provides for an “equitable distribution” of all marital property. Any assets purchased or any debts incurred during a marriage usually deemed marital property, subject to equitable distribution. Protection of your separate property from being included in such distribution becomes vitally important. Separate property includes assets obtained prior to the marriage, assets excluded from the marital estate through prenuptial agreement, inheritance and gifts. The longer married, the more difficult it will be to distinguish marital assets from separate assets.
Non-marital property, property owned before a marriage or received as an inheritance or gift during a marriage. This property usually kept after the marriage by the individual who owned it prior to the marriage or received it as inheritance. Though this seems straight forward, complications occur when this property usage forces it to take on the legal status of marital property. It is important to get seek the help of an attorney to help you know which property should and should not be classified as non-marital property.
Or, any land property and anything permanently attached to it. This includes any houses, buildings, or other structures attached to the land owned. In Utah, when this property is divided, it does not matter if only one of the married individual’s names is on the deed, it can still be divided as marital property. An attorney can insure the handling of the property correctly according to the law. Situations that have this sort of asset division become more frequently complicated when one party wants to keep the property. In such a case that party would then have to pay the other party the value of their equivalent share.
Personal property, or other family property not perminately attached to owned land. This includes all things inside of a home such as furniture, but also includes cars, boats, and other vehicles. Assets usually divided by allowing each party in the divorce to have one of everything needed to start a new home. Though in some cases, small household items are unspecified in the asset division agreement.
Agreements made prior to marriage that took effect after the party got married. These will effect all marital assets agreed to in the prenuptial agreement such as real property, income, and retirement earnings.
Retirement and pension plan benefits are a more complex type of property division. In the simplest case, the entitlement of each party to their own retirement benefits as they have collected throughout the marriage. This is, however, less simplistic if their is only one worker in the marriage. Often you will see a partner offer other assets to compensate for the retirement benefits, and the working partner will keep their own retirement benefits. In any case, if the spouses are unable to reach an agreement regarding these benefits, the court will use a predetermined formula to divide this asset.