The Appellate Group

Wadsworth v. Wadsworth

Wadsworth v. Wadsworth, 2022 UT App 5 (Christiansen Forster, J.)

Family Law

In appeals arising from a divorce and division of a marital estate, the former Wife and Husband each appealed various rulings made by the court below. Among other things, the district court awarded Husband the bulk of the marital estate and gave him five years to pay Wife her share, which Wife challenged on appeal. In a consolidated opinion, the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed most of the lower court’s rulings but remanded on certain points, including for the district court to grant Wife a security interest in the marital estate:

  • The division scheme selected by the district court was “not inequitable, so long as adequate security for the unpaid equalization payments is included,” but “it was unreasonable for the court not to grant [Wife] any type of security in her half of the marital estate.” Accordingly, the court of appeals remanded for the district court to fashion “an equitable security interest that will adequately protect [Wife’s] ability to collect her remaining share of the marital estate at the end of the five-year forbearance period.” .
  • Of note: The court of appeals cautioned that “arrangements such as this should be reserved for only the most unusual cases” and noted that the division arrangement “in this case ha[s] the unfortunate result of keeping the parties tied together long after their divorce and depriving [Wife] of immediate access to her share of the estate.”

Read the full court opinion