Divorce and Dividing Debts
Divorce calls for couples to divide their property during divorce. It also requires division of debt.
Research suggests disagreements about money are the leading predictor of divorce in the United States. Arguments about money can sour a marriage and make divorce difficult. When money is an issue during marriage, debt is oftentimes involved.
Common forms of debt carried by many couples include:
- Credit cards
- Home equity loans
- Car loans
- Tax liabilities
- School loans
In Utah, assets and liabilities are subject to equitable distribution. Just as value acquired by a couple is part of their marital estate, so is debt. Questions arise when debt is incurred from gambling, secret investments or the use of marital funds to support an extramarital affair.
Typically a couple may have a joint account or separate credit cards used for personal and household expenses. Unless it can be otherwise shown, this type of debt is often equitably divided.
If you have debt and are considering divorce, think about the following steps:
- Try to eliminate as much debt as possible prior to divorce. It is easier to get a fresh emotional and economic start after divorce if you are not saddled with debt.
- Close joint checking accounts at the outset of divorce.
- Close unused credit card and other unneeded accounts.
- Depending on your long-term objectives, speak with your divorce attorney about reducing your debt load during negotiations for marital assets.
Don’t Endanger Your Children
A woman has been found guilty of endangering her children after she was found living in squalor. According to the prosecutor’s office, this woman was living with her children in a house that was missing some exterior walls and part of the roof. The home also had no running water and was being powered by extension cords from another home. If you are having trouble, get help from your family, friends, government, church. Don’t do this to yourself and your children. You’ll lose custody of your kids.
The case began after police found her eight-year-old son and her two- and three-year old grandchildren hiding among some of the refuse in the home. They had been investigating her son on burglary charges when they entered the decrepit home with a warrant.
The home had been badly damaged in a fire, and police feared that another fire could occur when they found the extension cords, garbage and lights set up in the way that they were. There were also buckets of excrement located throughout the home, as well as insects and other vermin.
This woman now faces up to a year in jail after being found guilty on three counts of child endangerment. The three children are now in custody of other relatives.
Even after she gets out of jail, it is unlikely that she will regain child custody, having proven herself unfit to be a guardian of these children. Her relatives will likely work with the court system to find a new arrangement that is in the best interest of the children.
Divorcing Later in Life
Divorcing after many years of marriage is a growing trend with some statistics indicating that the rate of divorce for people over the age of 50 has doubled since 1990. There is even a name for this new trend: “the gray divorce”.
Divorcing later in life can bring a complicated set of circumstances into the process. As people grow older, they often face financial stresses. Divorce places even more of an economic burden on a separating pair who must now run two households instead of one. Emotional ties to a home may make dividing the value of this asset difficult. Significant debt or mortgages can complicate matters.
Children may be grown, so custody will not be an issue, but issues such as health insurance can be a problem for couples who are not yet old enough to receive Medicare. Sometimes couples may agree to live apart pursuant to a Separation Agreement to avoid the expense of health insurance, or the effects of taxes.
Many later-in-life divorces involve a high net worth that calls for a detailed valuation of assets. Businesses grow over time and become more valuable. Retirement accounts and stock plans can increase significantly as the years pass.
Typical items to be divided include:
- Home and other real estate
- Trust accounts
- 401(k), Keogh plans, pensions and other retirement plans
- Bank and stock accounts
- Profit-sharing agreements
- Off-shore or foreign bank accounts
- Significant collectibles or other personal property
Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah
If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506