Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Colts owner's wife files for divorce after 33 years

Marriage is an unique institution. Like relationships in general, no two marriages are the same, and what works for one couple could spell the end of the marriage for another. The longer a marriage lasts, the harder a decision to divorce can be. Like marriage, for better or worse, no two divorces are the same.

The highly popular Colts owner Jim Irsay is headed to a divorce court after his wife of 33 years filed her divorce petition recently. Although still married, the couple has been living separately for the past decade, possibly in an attempt to save their relationship. In a public announcement, the soon to be divorced couple, who have three children, stated that Jim will maintain 100 percent ownership of the Colts and all his business assets. The pair stated that the decision to divorce was mutual and the right one for the family. The divorce petition cites an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage as a reason for the divorce and asks the court to divide the marital property.

The majority of states' laws allow for an equitable distribution of property. For short term marriages, the court is likely to try and put the couple in the same position as they were before the marriage. Long term marriages are likely to be considered for 50/50 property division, though there are reasons a court can award less than 50 percent of property as a "fair" distribution. The distribution of property is an important issue in both low and high asset divorces as it can determine what happens to homes, cars, debts, and even gifts. Without a prenuptial agreement in place, it is up to the couple to decide whether to divide the property themselves or leave it up to a court's discretion. Utah residents facing divorce proceedings should make every effort to ensure their legal rights are enforced.

Source: Indy Star, "Wife of Colts owner Jim Irsay files for divorce," Mike Chappell, November 21, 2013

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