So, you’re getting divorced. After making the big decision, some realizations may dawn on you, like what will happen to your family home. For many of you, it is your most valuable investment and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Others may feel the complete opposite, associate it with bad memories, and want to sell it. Either way, it’s helpful to understand how you and your spouse’s property will be divided upon divorcing each other.
Here’s what our South Jordan attorneys have to say.
Utah Property Division Laws
To understand who will get the home, we need to start at the beginning— property division laws. In a divorce, there are two types of property: marital and separate. Generally, marital property is any asset acquired or earned during the marriage. On the other hand, separate property is anything that belonged to one spouse before the marriage and was kept separate throughout the relationship.
You also need to know that Utah is an equitable division state, meaning courts will fairly split all marital property.
Who Gets the Home?
The answer depends on many factors. Were you gifted the home through an inheritance? Did you and your spouse buy it together? These are details that your attorney will look at to determine a fair settlement.
The family home is one of the most common property types divided during a divorce and often a hotly debated topic. Once there’s a proper appraisal of the property, and the equity is determined, couples can choose from three options:
The spouses sell the home and divide the proceeds
One spouse may refinance the home and “buy out” the other spouse
One spouse (typically the custodial parent) remains in the home with the exclusive use and possession for a specific period (i.e., until the kids turn 18), then either buys out the other spouse or sells the home and divides the proceeds
Can You Afford to Keep the House?
Keep in mind that owning a home requires a tremendous amount of responsibility, and a lot can change with a divorce. Is your income sufficient to maintain a similar lifestyle prior to the breakup? Far too many homeowners do not think about this before demanding the house because of an emotional attachment. It’s smart to discuss your goals with your attorney, who can advise you on the smartest choices.