Under Utah divorce law, the division of marital assets between divorcing spouses is based on equitable distribution. This means that if spouses do not agree on how to split their marital assets, the courts will divvy up the assets based on what is fair to both parties. Spouses may avoid the court’s involvement if they can reach an agreement together as to how the assets should be split. Salt Lake City property division attorneys typically recommend that divorcing couples work to solve asset division issues outside of court if possible, but sometimes that is difficult when there are emotional attachments to specific assets.
Assets with emotional attachments
In general, spouses will be permitted to keep property that they acquired separately and prior to marriage unless previously acquired property ends up being combined with marital property or used in a way that takes on the legal status of marital property. When couples cannot agree on the division of assets, it is often because there are strong emotional attachments for one or both parties to specific assets. See below for some examples.
- Pets – If you are an animal lover, you probably understand how divorcing spouses may not be able to compromise on who gets to keep these beloved creatures in a divorce, which means leaving it up to the courts to decide where family pets will live.
- Houses purchased by one spouse prior to marriage – If the marriage is short, children were not raised in the house, and the spouse who did not purchase the house also did not provide substantial contributions to the home, it might stay with the original purchasing spouse. On the other hand, when a home purchased by one spouse prior to marriage becomes the family home in a long term marriage, both spouses may feel emotionally attached to the house with each fighting to keep it post divorce.
- Family property – When a married couple purchases one spouse’s family property, there may be a fight about who gets to keep it. For example, if a husband and wife decide to purchase the wife’s parents’ home to raise their family in, after years of considering it their family home, the husband may feel attached to the home where his children were raised and the wife may feel attached to it because it used to belong to her parents.
- Family business – Similar to family property, if a married couple purchases the wife’s family’s business and the husband and wife operate it together for a number of years, the husband may feel attached to the business because he was instrumental in its growth and operation while the wife may feel like she has more of a right to it because it was originally her family’s business.
Divorces are difficult to begin with and property disputes make them significantly more difficult. Salt Lake City property division attorney, Emy A. Cordano, is an experienced family law attorney who has represented divorce clients in contentious property disputes and is a skilled negotiator and trial attorney. If you are struggling with property division or any other family law issues, contact Emy A. Cordano to schedule a consultation.