Equitable distribution of property in Utah divorce, and what that means
Different states divide marital property in different ways. Utah (and other states’) law applies the principle of equitable distribution of property (as opposed to the “community property” standard that some other states utilize).
It is important to understand that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, it means fair.
When looking to divide property, the first thing the court will do is classify the property as marital or separate property. The court considers marital debt, as well as assets that are considered marital property when determining what an equitable division of both responsibility for debt and of the marital assets.
While equitable distribution is a flexible system, it is difficult to predict the actual outcome of distribution because some of the factors that courts take into consideration when dividing property during equitable distribution are subjective, meaning they are up to your judge to determine, not a mathematical formula that applies in all cases. Therefore it is important to present a solid persuasive argument, backed by facts and the correct legal authority showing why you should get what you want.
A court may decide to award one party more or less than the other party depending on the particular circumstances of a case.
The courts have wide latitude to determine what it reasons to be an equitable distribution of property, so once the trial is over, unless you have grounds to appeal, you’re stuck with the trial court’s decision. Before you go to trial, remember that you are allowed to settle your divorce case without a trial if you both come to an agreement as to how the debt and property should be divided.