For many couples, divorce is not just an overnight decision. Rarely does someone just wake up one morning and decide that they are going to file papers. A lot of couples may even opt for a trial separation. In some cases, they may not even intend to get remarried so it just seems easier to stay living apart without formally dividing their assets.
While it might seem easier, separating without a formal agreement can leave both spouses unprotected. Whether a couple chooses a legal separation or a formal divorce, setting terms for how property should be handled is more than a prudent choice.
How can living separately have a financial effect? The first issue is that a spouse may have no idea how the other spouse is spending the couple’s money. Until divorce occurs or a legal date of separation has been decided, any income earned or liability incurred is still considered marital. Longer separations even provide more time for a spouse to carefully hide assets.
Aside from how a spouse may spend or deal with finances, a lot can happen in life that could affect a future settlement. For instance, the law itself is a consideration. Not only can laws change, but a spouse could move to a jurisdiction in which the settlement outcome may be drastically different due to varying laws.
What if one spouse decides to enter into a new relationship? It may not have been in his or her future plans, but it happens. Not only would a spouse have to obtain a divorce prior to remarrying, but being in a relationship during divorce could have an effect on the outcome.
What if a spouse loses his or her job? What if you inherit a large sum of money? What if a lawsuit arises against the other spouse? What if they run into criminal trouble and are forced to pay restitution?
The point is that life is unpredictable, but those that want to have control over their financial future should discuss their intentions with an experienced divorce attorney in Utah.