There are two legal doctrines that apply when it comes to how to divide property between spouses in a divorce. A handful of states use “community property,” while others — including Utah — use a doctrine known as “equitable distribution.”
The concept behind equitable distribution is that the court and the judge overseeing the divorce action will be mainly interested in seeing that the asset distribution is fair, as opposed to community property which tends toward even split of property acquired during the marriage. This can make equitable distribution more complicated to effect, but its results are meant to be more balanced based on the situation of each spouse.
Courts in Utah use established criteria to help them determine how assets should be allocated. These include but are not limited to:
- The duration of the marriage
- The respective ages and health condition of each spouse
- The employment occupations of each spouse
- The sources and amount of each spouse’s income
Each divorce matter is unique and must be resolved based on its own facts and circumstances. Not all property will be subject to equitable distribution; spouses are entitled to retain separate property that can be identified as such, like inheritances or gifts that he or she received before entering into the marriage. If you are contemplating the end of a marriage through divorce, the assistance of an attorney experienced in Utah divorce cases can be helpful in helping you to receive the allocation of marital assets that is most fair for your individual situation.