Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Food Network cooking couple must split marriage and business

As the number of older couples deciding to divorce continues to grow, marriage is looking less like a life-long commitment in some people's eyes. Not even those couples who have spent decades building not only their marriage but their business and images together are immune.

After two decades of marriage the popular Food Network cooking couple Gina and Pat Neely have announced their divorce. Citing irreconcilable differences, Gina Neely filed for divorce from her long-time husband and co-star. The couple, who have created an empire of TV shows, cookbooks, a food line and a restaurant, have two adult daughters from the marriage. While the pair has maintained a business relationship over the past two years while separated, they are planning on solo ventures after the divorce. What remains to be seen is how the couple plans to divide the empire they built together as a couple.

Utah is an equitable property division state. This means that unless the parties agree otherwise, the judge will divide the marital property based off of what is fair. A fair property division doesn't always means a 50/50 split, and in some cases may result in one spouse being award more property than another. Determining the proper distribution in a divorce like the Neely's can be difficult. Utah has several factors it uses when making such a determination, such as the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, their occupations and the amounts and sources of income.

Trying to separate 20 or more years of accumulated assets can be overwhelming. Although courts are equipped to divide marital property, allowing a judge to do so takes away power from both parties and may result in more problems in the future.

Source: Webpronews, "The Neely Divorce: Gina And Pat Neely File For Divorce After 20 Years Of Marriage," Meaghan Ellis, Sept. 29, 2014

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