Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Utah?

Henriksen LawDivorce

Divorce isn’t just tough on the heart; it’s also a complex tangle of legal decisions and asset division. When couples get divorced in Utah, they don’t always split everything right down the middle. Instead, the courts try to divide things fairly based on what’s best for each person.

Many Utah divorces end with one party keeping the family home. Usually, this is because they might be better set up to pay for the house on their own. Or maybe, they need the house more, like if they have custody of the kids. 

When it comes to the marital home, emotions can run high, and both spouses might feel a strong attachment to the property. But who gets to keep it? Let’s walk through how these decisions are made, and how a Utah divorce attorney can help. 

Understanding Utah’s Equitable Distribution Laws

Utah is an equitable distribution state. Essentially, this means that during a divorce, any property (including the marital home) is divided fairly but not always equally. 

Now, there are two kinds of property you could be dealing with: marital property and separate property. 

Under Utah divorce laws, marital property includes anything acquired or earned during the marriage, such as salaries and items bought with those earnings. Even property that was originally owned by one spouse before marriage can become marital property if it was used for the benefit of both partners during the marriage. 

Separate property refers to things that one spouse owned before getting married and kept apart during the marriage. It also includes gifts or inheritances given only to one spouse during the marriage. 

If the home was bought during the marriage, or if both spouses paid for its purchase or upkeep, it’s considered marital property and must be divided.  

Factors that Affect Property Division

Several factors play a role in determining who gets the marital home in a Utah divorce case.

1. Who Wants the House?

First off, see who wants to keep the house. Sometimes both parties want it, and sometimes one person is ready to move on. If you have kids, keeping the family home might be important to keep things stable for them. 

But the real deal-breaker is whether you can afford the house by yourself. 

Think about it: Can you handle the mortgage payments alone? What about all the upkeep and the property taxes that come with owning a home? Consider all these expenses to make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew. 

2. Who Has Custody of the Children?

Often, the house goes to the parent who has the kids most of the time. Why? Because it keeps things steady for them. The children can stay in the same school, keep the same friends, and not have to adjust to a new neighborhood. This can make a huge difference for them during a time that’s already full of changes. 

Courts often think about what’s best for the kids when deciding who should keep the house. So, if you’re the main parent, you might have a stronger case for staying put and keeping the family home. 

3. Who Has More Earnings and Contributions?

For divorce cases in Utah, the money you and your spouse put into your home makes a difference. If one spouse made more money or paid more towards buying the house, this can play a big part in who gets to keep it. The more you’ve put in, the stronger your case might be to stay in the house. 

Courts often look at these contributions to figure out a fair way to split things up. They see who paid for the house, who took care of it, and who made it a nice place to live. If you’re the one who mostly footed the bills or spruced up the place, you might have a better chance of calling it yours after the divorce. 

4. Who Has the Potential to Make More Money?

During a divorce, thinking about the future is just as important as looking at the past. If one spouse is expected to make more money down the road, they might be better equipped to handle the costs of keeping the house, such as the mortgage, repairs, taxes, and utilities.

Alternatives to Keeping the House

If fighting over the house seems like a losing battle, there are other options. 

Sell the House: This is often the cleanest break. Selling the house and splitting the profits can dissolve any potential for ongoing conflict over property. It’s great for when maintaining the house is too much for either spouse on their own or when both parties are looking for a fresh start. 

Buy-Out: If one of you loves the home and has the means to maintain it on their own, they might want to buy out the other’s share. 

Trade-offs: Trade-offs involve a bit of give and take. If one spouse takes the house, the other might receive equivalent assets like retirement funds or stocks.  

Getting Legal Help from a Utah Divorce Attorney

Deciding who gets the house in a Utah divorce can be tough. That’s why you need a reputable divorce lawyer in your corner to defend you. 

  • An attorney can guide you through all the tricky parts of a divorce. 
  • They make sure your rights are looked after, so don’t get a bad deal. 
  • Lawyers are equipped to negotiate on your behalf, striving to reach a settlement that benefits your financial and personal circumstances. 
  • An attorney can facilitate discussions between you and your spouse to reduce conflict and promote a fair and amicable resolution. 

Having the right legal assistance sets the groundwork for a stable and promising future. With a competent Utah divorce attorney by your side, you can focus on rebuilding your life, confident that the legal details are in capable hands. 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, who gets the house in a divorce comes down to a mix of legal guidelines, personal needs, and financial realities. Always think about what’s best for your long-term happiness and stability. Remember, it’s not just about the house, but about setting yourself up for a fresh start post-divorce. 

Need help navigating your divorce and property division? Our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the divorce process in Utah, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive a fair outcome. Call us for a consultation today!