Utah Divorce Code 30-3-2 – Right of Husband To Divorce. The husband may in all cases obtain a divorce from his wife for the same causes and in the same manner as the wife may obtain a divorce from her husband.
What Are Your Rights to the House in a Divorce
Divorce can leave a man single and without a home to call his own. State laws vary and each divorce case is unique in the eyes of the court. The circumstances surrounding the divorce play a part in deciding what is done with the assets of the marriage. Even if the man loses the right to live in the home, he may still be entitled to a part of the equity, including properties that were purchased by his wife before the marriage.
All property obtained during the course of the marriage by either the husband or the wife is considered to be shared in common by both spouses regardless of whether the state you were married in is an equitable distribution or a property earned state. The amount of money that the man spends on a property during the time of the marriage will determine how much, if any, of the home equity he is entitled to even if the property is in his wife’s name and not his. The only exception to the rule would be if the wife purchased the property using the proceeds that she acquired before the marriage.
Property Owned Before Marriage
Even in a situation where the wife had property before the date of the marriage, the husband may still have a share of the equity if mortgage payments or home improvements were funded by money earned during the marriage. Many states will provide the husband with one-half of the increased value of the home in these situations but, again, this depends on which state you are in.
The circumstances surrounding the divorce have much to do with who gets to live in the home. If the home belonged to the wife before the marriage, most likely she will be allowed to continue living in it. If the man is the one who initiated the divorce, or if she left you as the result of bad behavior on your part, it is most likely that you will lose possession of the house. In addition, you may even be required to make the mortgage payments even though it is no longer your place of residence.
Home Equity Payment
Regardless of who has temporary possession of the home, sooner or later the equity will need to be distributed per the courts instructions. This could mean that either the husband or the wife will need to buy out the share of their spouse or the property must be sold in order for each to receive their portion of the cash. Sometimes in a buyout situation, other marital property or debt can be used instead of actual cash in order to meet the requirements of the divorce agreement.
The English courts can dissolve foreign marriages so long as there is an appropriate connection. It may be that you and your spouse have connections with more than one country and that you have the option to get divorced here or abroad. Choosing the right country to get divorced in is important as it can have a big impact on how the marital finances are shared. If you think your spouse intends to start divorce proceedings in another country, you should seek family law advice urgently as you may wish to start divorce proceedings. This is known as a petition race.
Grounds for Divorce
The only ground (reason) for divorce is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. Irretrievably means the marriage has broken down permanently and cannot be fixed. To prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, you must state one of five facts in your divorce petition:
• Adultery: Your husband has committed adultery with another woman or your wife has committed adultery with a man. Adultery is sexual intercourse between a married person and a person of the opposite sex who is not their spouse. If your husband or wife admits to adultery and agrees to the divorce proceedings, the divorce is likely to be accepted by the court. If your spouse does not admit to committing adultery you will need to provide the court with evidence of the adultery. In addition to the adultery, you must also prove that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse, either because of the adultery or because of some other behavior. Intolerable means that you cannot bear to be in the marriage any longer. If you continue to live with your husband or wife for 6 months after you find out about their adultery, then you cannot use that incident of adultery as the reason to divorce. You have the option to name the person who committed adultery with your husband or wife in your divorce petition (the “co-respondent”). However, if you do so you will have to send the divorce papers to that person as well as to your spouse. This will cause additional expense and delay if they do not co-operate.
• Unreasonable Behavior: your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. Unreasonable behavior can include a wide range of behavior from domestic violence to withholding love and affection. Generally you will need to set out 4 or 5 examples of your spouse’s behavior. It may be helpful to include the first, the worst and the most recent incident of the unreasonable behavior during the marriage. If you continue to live as a couple for 6 months after the last incident of unreasonable behavior, it may be harder to prove to the court that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your spouse.
• Desertion: Your husband or wife has deserted you for at least two years. You need to show that your spouse left you in order to end your relationship, without your agreement and without a good reason, for at least two years. This is difficult to prove so it is very unusual to use this fact.
• Two years separation with consent: You and your spouse have been separated for a continuous period of two years and you both agree to the divorce. You need not necessarily have lived in separate homes but you need to have had separate lives, for example, eating and doing domestic chores separately and sleeping in different rooms. Your spouse must agree to the divorce on the basis that you have been separated for a continuous period of two years. It is a good idea to check whether your spouse will agree before sending your divorce petition to the court.
• Five years separation: You and your spouse have been separated for a continuous period of five years. If you have been separated for 5 years you are entitled to apply for divorce, even if your spouse does not consent. Your spouse can only oppose the divorce if they can argue that ending the marriage would result in serious financial or other hardship.
Responding to a Divorce Petition
Your spouse will be required to sign and return and Acknowledgement of Service form to the court, in order to show that he or she has received the petition. This must normally reach the court within eight days, starting on the day after they receive the divorce papers, although time limits will be longer if your spouse is being served outside the country. The Acknowledgement of Service form allows your spouse to say whether or not they agree with the contents of the divorce papers and whether they wish to defend the divorce. Defended divorces are rare because if one person wants a divorce, that is usually a sign that the marriage has broken down. Consenting to a divorce will not normally affect a person’s rights in terms of finances or the children. The child arrangements and finances may need to be resolved, but it is unlikely to matter who divorced whom or what reason was given in the petition. A defended divorce can also cost a lot of money, as a court hearing will normally be listed, which you may have to attend. If your spouse defends your divorce petition, you should seek legal advice.
If your husband has told you that he has received the divorce papers but he refuses to send the Acknowledgement of Service form to the court, you can apply to the court to make an order of deemed service. You must prove to the court that your spouse has received the divorce papers. If the court is satisfied that your spouse has received the papers, it can make an order that your spouse was served on a particular date. The court needs your spouse’s address in order to serve the divorce papers on them. If you have lost contact with your spouse and do not know where they live or work you may be able to use an alternative method of service. Before requesting an alternative method of service from the court, it is important that you have made every effort to find out where your spouse lives from their family, friends, employer and anyone else who knows them. If you still cannot trace them you can apply to the court for substituted service. This normally means sending the documents to a different address, such as a friend or family member you know he is close to, or his work address, or email or even Facebook. If, in spite of trying the above, you simply cannot trace your spouse, you can apply to a district judge for an order dispensing with service. If the judge is satisfied that you have done everything you can to try and find your spouse, the judge can make an order that the divorce can proceed without the divorce papers being served on them.
How long will it take?
Even the most straightforward divorce can take between 4 and 6 months and it is often advisable to postpone applying for decree absolute until any financial proceedings have concluded as it can affect your rights to live in the family home, pensions, or other issues relating to joint finances. If your spouse is uncooperative of there are complications resolving the finances, the divorce could take much longer. There is a waiting time in Utah of 30 days for a divorce to enter.
My home rights
A person has a right to live in a property if it is their matrimonial home. This means that even if your spouse owns the property in their sole name, you have the right to live there until your marriage ends. This is called matrimonial home rights. If your home is in your spouse’s sole name the divorce may end your right to live there so it is important to seek legal advice.
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