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Layton Utah Divorce Attorney

Layton Utah Divorce Attorney

Layton, Davis County’s largest city, is located eleven miles south of Ogden and twenty-three miles north of Salt Lake City. It is bordered by the Wasatch Mountains on the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west in an area noted for occasionally strong east winds. Mormon pioneers first settled the Kaysville-Layton area. Edward Phillips, John H. Green, and William Kay came with their families in the spring of 1850 and were followed by other families the same year. It is easily seen on a contemporary map that Layton, an outgrowth of Kaysville, was not a planned settlement as were many Mormon communities. An 1854 survey outlined Kaysville’s town plat where the business center was located. By 1882 two businesses, the Farmers Union and Barton and Sons, were operative several miles to the north in the area first called Kays Creek. By 1886 that area was known as Layton, named after Christopher Layton, a prominent early settler of the area, and a separate precinct and post office were established there. Layton’s citizens’ ongoing discontent over being taxed by Kaysville without receiving any benefits came to a head in 1889 when Kaysville began construction of an imposing city hall. Led by Ephraim P. Ellison, Layton began an extended legal battle to break away from Kaysville which led several times to the Utah Supreme Court and eventually to the United States Supreme Court.

Suits and countersuits were finally resolved in 1902, and Layton became an unincorporated area. A growing business district in Layton at the time included two general stores, a meat market, saloon, coal dealer, blacksmith shop, barber shop, hotel, and the Layton Milling and Elevator Company, which in 1903 shipped more flour than did any other Utah mill. The First National Bank of Layton, the oldest local business still in operation, was established in 1905. With a population of 500, Layton was incorporated as a third-class town in 1920. Growth remained stagnant until World War II. However, the expansion from 646 in 1940 to 3,456 ten years later enabled Layton to become a third-class city in 1950. By 1985, with an estimated 36,000 citizens, Layton surpassed Bountiful as Davis County’s largest city. The city’s population in 1990 was 41,784. Layton’s area also expanded from its original 1.7 square miles in 1920. Its largest annexations were Laytona in 1957 with 3.5 square miles and East Layton with two square miles in 1981. The city today embraces 18.48 square miles. Agriculture, the basis of Layton’s early economy, produced two firsts in Utah Territory–the first reservoir built by Elias Adams in 1852 and the first alfalfa raised by Christopher Layton. Grazing utilized much of the marginal land, and early dry farming was also successful. Kays Creek provided water, and a succession of canal companies improved the scant supply. Construction of the East Canyon Dam and Reservoir finally assured a dependable water supply, enabling Layton farmers to become commercially successful with such cash crops as alfalfa, grain, onions, and potatoes. Peas and tomatoes were processed at local canneries, including the Layton Canning Company. Sugar beet production increased upon completion of the Layton Sugar Factory in 1915. Dairy products were marketed and east bench orchards produced abundant fruit crops. After World War II, field corn and turkey production were also successful; however, with increasing suburban sprawl, little agriculture remains today. With the population increase, several wartime government housing projects were built in Layton.

One of these, Verdeland Park, was dismantled during the 1950s and eventually became a spacious public complex which includes Layton High School, the Layton branch of the Davis County Library, the Heritage Museum, new city offices, and an attractive city park, including a wave pool. As is the case with many cities, Layton no longer has a single downtown business district. Small stores and shopping centers dot the city, with the Layton Hills Mall being the largest. Smith’s Food and Drug Center, Inc., with regional offices, dough and dairy plants, and automated distribution warehouse, is the largest employer in Layton City. While Mormons are still most numerous, greater religious diversity is now found in Layton. Early settlers were members of the original Kaysville Ward until 1889 and 1895 when separate wards were organized to the north. There are seven Latter-day Saint stakes in the Layton area today. St. Jude’s Episcopal church and school was established in Layton in 1885; however, the school was discontinued in 1896 and the church in 1916. In 1948 the St. Rose of Lima Catholic church was dedicated and is firmly established in the community. A number of other denominations including four branches of the Baptist Church, the First Assembly of God, Buddhists, Lutherans, the Church of the Nazarene, and an interdenominational community church are also represented in Layton.

What Are My Rights If I Get Separated Or Divorced?

When you separate or divorce from your spouse, you may have a right to economic support or property. Your rights depend on different things, such as whether you were legally married or in a common-law relationship, and if you have children. In some cases, the law requires a person to pay spousal support to their former spouse. This can apply if you were legally married, in a common-law relationship with children or in a common-law relationship for at least 3 years without children. You are entitled to child support if your children live with you. The person who pays is called the “payor.” If you were married, you or your spouse may have to make an equalization payment to the other. This calculation can be difficult to do on your own and there are different rules and exceptions. If you were common-law married, you do not automatically have this right. Generally, each spouse gets to keep whatever assets are in their own name but there are exceptions. For married and common-law couples any written separation agreement that you and your spouse signed in front of a witness may affect your support and property rights. It is important to get legal advice and properly understand any agreement before signing.

How to Split Home Value in a Divorce

When a couple gets divorced, they have three basic options for what to do with the home they own. No matter which option they choose, the first step is determining the value of the house. The most reliable way is to get an appraisal or better yet, two. Even in an amicable divorce, it’s wise for each spouse to order an appraisal. Getting two appraisals protects both sides, as it’s unlikely that two appraisals would be inaccurate in the same way. After the divorcing couples agrees on the value of the home, they subtract what they owe on it. The result is their equity.

How is home equity divided in a divorce?

There are three main ways to handle the home:
1. Sell the house and split the proceeds.
2. One ex-spouse keeps the home and refinances the mortgage to remove the other from the loan.
3. Both former spouses keep the house temporarily.

Option 1: Sell the house and split the proceeds

The cleanest way to divide the home’s equity is to sell the house. Once the couple retires the mortgage debt, pay taxes and the sale-related expenses, they split the remaining money. By selling the house, the two exes can more easily untangle from each other’s lives.

Option 2: One ex keeps the house

The best way for one spouse to become the sole owner is to refinance the mortgage. Refinancing serves three purposes:
• It removes the other spouse from the mortgage so the house is no longer a jointly held asset.
• It pays off any outstanding mortgage debt, replacing the old mortgage with a new loan.
• It frees up cash to buy out the other ex’s share of the equity.
In a refinance, the now-divorced owner typically has to qualify for the mortgage based on one income. That can be difficult if the couple originally qualified for the mortgage based on two incomes. Sometimes it’s unrealistic to expect one ex-spouse to be able to afford the home.

Option 3: Both keep the house

Sometimes the time isn’t right for selling the home. Maybe the soon-to-split couples owe more than the house is worth. Or they can’t afford separate homes, so they continue sharing the house. Or one spouse moves out, but pays the mortgage while the kids are in school. Most commonly, children are the reason that couples keep joint ownership. Eventually, the couple usually sells the house, or one ex buys out the other’s equity.

How to Find a Home Appraiser During Divorce

Dividing marital assets is one of the top priorities in divorce. Whether you decide to sell the marital home, or refinance and split the equity, you’ll first need to establish a fair property value. In order to do this, you’ll need to engage the services of a licensed real estate appraiser. An appraiser is professionally trained and experienced in determining a home’s fair market value. It’s impossible to negotiate a deal with a buyer or an ex-spouse unless you have accurate numbers to work with on the front end.
The first is the fair market value/listing price of the home. This is what the house could reasonably sell for taking all factors into account. The second is the net proceeds that you can expect to share. To determine this, you’ll need to subtract what you still owe on the house to come up with a net number. For example, if you own a home with a market value of $800,000, but you still owe $300,000, then the net amount would be $500,000. This is the amount of value that you and your ex would split. If you have an equal 50/50 interest in the home, then each owner could reasonably expect to receive $250,000 when the home is sold. To come up with an accurate fair market value, an appraiser will assess a home’s value by inspecting the property, determining square footage, the lot size, number of rooms, and what other nearby similar homes have sold for in recent months. The appraiser will also look at the overall condition of the property, housing trends, crime data, and other surrounding neighborhood amenities.

Most appraisers use a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report to record data.
Normally, when a home is sold, to determine the value and develop a strategy to come up with a good listing price, a realtor will perform a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA compares home sales in your area to determine a value for your home. It’s a standard procedure that is a trusted way to price a home. However, in a divorce, especially where there isn’t a lot of trust, a CMA probably won’t do the trick by itself. Instead, a full appraisal is the best protection. It should be noted that when an appraisal is done through a bank as part of a divorce refinance, the value is often low. This helps to limit the potential risk a bank will have in granting you a loan. One other important thing to remember is that if you had an appraisal done more than six months ago, it may no longer be viable for divorce purposes.

Are there real estate appraisers that specialize in divorce?

In an age dominated by niches, it should come as no surprise that there are appraisers who specialize in divorce situations. While all appraisers will be empathetic in a home sale situation, an appraiser specializing in divorces will often be familiar with the heightened emotional issues that accompany a home sale process. The divorce appraisal may also be different because there may be a retrospective element involved when determining value. In other words, the valuation may be based on a date in the past such as filing date or date of separation. Although it doesn’t happen often, divorce appraisers may be asked to testify in court as part of the divorce proceeding. That is why it’s critical for the appraiser to be a neutral third party who has been approved by both sides. An appraisal can take on extra added legal importance, making it critical that it can be legally defended in a court of law.

Where to find real estate appraisers that specialize in divorce?

A good place to start is by asking your attorney for a referral. Chances are, they have already prescreened and used several different appraisers who can be trusted as neutral and honest in the efforts. You can also ask friends and family members for a referral as well. Unfortunately, divorce is common and there’s a chance somebody you know has already gone through what you’re currently facing. Do not just accept the first appraiser you come in contact with. Like any other important decision, you need to do your due diligence. Your appraiser must have strong attention to detail and he or she should be local so that they fully understand your neighborhood and market. Be sure to hire an appraiser who is licensed. Rules vary from state to state, but using Utah as an example, appraisers must:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Take 150 hours of classes
• Apply for a license through the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (BREA)
• Take and pass a live proctored exam
• Pass a fingerprint and background check
• Gain 2,000 hours of supervised experience with an established Certified Appraiser
• Apply for and receive a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser license from the BREA

How To Prepare For A Divorce Home Appraisal?

If a home is being sold outright, then it’s in both parties’ best interests to make sure the home is appraised for the highest value possible. But, if one spouse wants to buy the other spouse out, then they’ll be hoping for the lowest fair market value. As you can see, things have the potential to get dicey with so much on the line. Let’s assume you’re working toward a mutual goal of selling the home outright. In this case, you might also consider a home inspection to identify repairs, unseen major issues, and concerns that a buyer’s home inspector would turn up. By identifying these issues proactively, you can decide if you want to invest in having repairs made, or simply flagging them as something that can be used to negotiate a lower price by whoever buys the home. Make notes for things that you want to point out to your appraiser, such as upgraded insulation, double-pane windows, upgraded appliances and fixtures, and so forth. Appraisers are pretty good at spotting these things, but it never hurts to help your cause. If you’re already working with a realtor, they will also have a wealth of ideas on how to improve your home’s value as well.

Who pays for a home appraisal in divorce?

It’s negotiable. In many cases, couples split the cost which can run $250 to $500 depending on the size and complexity of the appraisal. However, if you’re buying out your spouse and intending to keep the home, it’s customary for the buyer to pay for the appraisal. When trust no longer exists, it’s easy to understand why spouses may not agree on which appraiser to use. That’s heightened in cases where one spouse pushes hard to use somebody they already know. It’s okay to be suspicious and cautious when the stakes are this high. In situations like this, it’s common for both parties to hire their own separate appraisers. If the appraisers come up with different values, then a couple may choose to split the difference if they’re being reasonable. It’s quite common for both appraisers to be in the same general value vicinity as each other since they are trained to look for the same things. However, when appraised values vary widely, a judge may need to step in and reconcile the value to be used, settling on a compromised number.

Layton Utah Divorce Lawyer

When you need a lawyer to get divorced, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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Michael Anderson

About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.