Category Archives: Family Law

Legal Issues For Gay And Lesbian Adoptions

Legal Issues For Gay And Lesbian Adoptions

Same sex couples face several unique legal issues when they decide to become a family with children. Special rules can apply to gay and lesbian adoption in many states, and even when a child is born into a gay or lesbian partnership, different rules may be applied regarding the two parents, especially if they’re not married.

Gay and Lesbian Adoptions

It’s often the case that gay and lesbian couples decide to bring a child into their lives through conception and birth. For a lesbian couple, this usually involves finding a male donor or visiting a sperm bank and then having one of the couple become pregnant. The other parent in such a partnership then can become a legal second parent through stepparent or second parent adoption. Not all states allow such adoption, however. Gay men can also become legal parents of a child in a similar fashion through the use of a surrogate mother.

Adoption laws vary from state to state, and there are some states that do allow lesbian and gay couples to adopt children as legal, joint parents. Gay and lesbian couples in these states can go through adoption agencies in order to adopt, personally arrange their adoption, or even adopt internationally.

In many states, however, stepparent, second parent or even joint adoption are not options for gay and lesbian couples. In Florida, for example, state laws prohibit any “homosexual” from adopting a child. Florida prohibits second parent adoptions as well. If you would like to look up the legal status of gay and lesbian adoptions in your state, you can visit Lambda Legal for a list of the laws of each state which address homosexual adoption.

Raising a child can be one of the biggest decisions in your life, which is why it’s important to know all of the legal ramifications of your decision before you start down the road. There are often gay and lesbian parenting groups in many large cities around the country that are willing to give advice to couples looking to raise children. If you cannot find any in your area, you can visit the Queer Resources Directory. The following sites can also provide you with helpful information: Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

The Rights and Duties of Legal Parents

A legal parent is defined as the person who has the right to live with a child and make decisions about the child’s education, well being and health. Legal parents must also support their children financially. When a heterosexual married couple has a child, both parents are automatically presumed to be the child’s legal parents. Even if the couple divorces, both parents still are the legal parents of the child under this parental presumption.

As mentioned above, gay and lesbian couples living in some states can jointly adopt a child. In other states, one partner can legally adopt the biological child of the other partner through adoption procedures such as stepparent adoption or domestic partner adoption. A joint adoption or secondary adoption are important since they allow both parties to the same-sex partnership to become legal parents of the child.

Before same-sex marriage was legally recognized by the Supreme Court in 2015, some states that allowed same-sex marriage also applied the parental presumption to such spouses. Other states, such as California and New Jersey, would even grant legal parent status upon the birth of a child to unmarried gay and lesbian couples as long as the couple was in a civil union or domestic partnership. Since 2015, as all states are now required to recognize same sex marriage, some are also enacting laws applying the parental presumption to same-sex spouses. However, this is an uneven process among the states and still a focus of litigation.

Relying on the assumption that the legalization of same sex marriage will automatically result in legal parent status upon the birth or adoption of a child can be a risky move. Attorneys regularly recommend that non-biological parents go through the legal procedures required for stepparent or second parent adoption as a precaution. This legal relationship will exist as a backup form of security if the gay or lesbian couples decide to travel to a state that does not recognize the parental rights of a same-sex married couple.

In the remaining states that do not allow gay and lesbian adoption, the second parent is not considered to be a legal parent and has limited rights.

Gay and lesbian couples should plan on making arrangements with respect to their children and the laws of their state. Same sex couples, just like heterosexual couples, are encouraged to make parenting agreements that set out in plain language the couple’s understanding of their rights and responsibilities. By doing this now, you may be able to save time, money and hardship later on.

What happens to the second parent’s rights after a split?

When a same-sex partnership dissolves, the issue of a second parent’s rights is certain to come up if a child is involved. These problems are difficult to resolve because of the unique legal nature of gay and lesbian unions. When heterosexual couples split up, a court will issue a child custody order if the two parents cannot come to an agreement. When a same-sex couple splits up, however, the second parent’s rights can be more uncertain.

Many states have settled that a second parent has no legal rights to raise or make decisions pertaining to the child in the future, even if that second parent has acted and behaved like a parent for the entirety of the child’s life. In the worst case scenario, a court will treat a second parent as a complete stranger to the relationship between the child and the first parent, giving the first parent the absolute right to dictate all future interactions between the child and the second parent.

On the other hand, some courts have seen the laws as softer and more flexible, often allowing a second parent court-ordered visitation time after a finding that the second parent has played an integral role in the child’s life. The courts making these decisions often call the second parents “de facto parents,” meaning that the person has lived with and raised the child just as a regular, legal parent would have.

When considering whether a second parent should be judged a “de facto parent,” a court will often look to the following criteria:
• Any steps that were taken between the same-sex partners regarding joint-parenting that could show the intent of both parties;
• The length of the relationship between the same-sex partners, and whether the child lived with the couple; and
• The presence of any parenting agreements or other documents drawn up between the same-sex couple regarding the child.

Parenting Agreements

After you and your partner have committed to a joint parenting relationship, the first thing that you both should do is sit down and draw up a parenting agreement. This document should reflect that, although only one of you might be the true, legal parent of the child, both of you consider yourselves and each other to be the parents of the child. You should both also indicate that you know the rights and responsibilities that come with parenting your child. Lastly, the agreement should also include a clause that you both wish to continue parenting even if your relationship ends.

These agreements offer greater certainty when they cover financial issues as well, such as the costs of education, food and housing. In addition, the legal parent should also express their intention that, even if the relationship ends, he or she will grant generous visitation rights to the second parent.

If a same-sex relationship does end, it is important that both the legal and second parent of the child try hard to honor the parenting agreement. In the beginning, both parents agreed to raise the child without some of the legal protections afforded by adoption or legal parentage, so they should try to recognize this point and abide by the agreement. The two parties should make a concerted effort to resolve their differences before taking their dispute to the courts. The outcomes of custody battles between same-sex partners vary greatly and there is no guarantee that it will turn out the way to the parties expect.

LGBTQ Adoption Lawyers

When you need legal help for an LGBTQ Adoption in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Adoptions Attorney

Utah Adoptions Attorney

Things you need to know – “A lot of things are out of your control — and that’s okay.” Attorneys understand how important the adoption process is to those who have been waiting so long to become a family. Therefore, they also understand how frustrating it can be when it seems like there are so many parts of the adoption process that are out of your hands, like your wait time, legal scheduling, birth parent relationships and more. Accepting this lack of control early on will make the adoption process easier on all involved and allow your adoption attorney to focus on what they can do to move the process along.

You should know that – “You are putting yourself in the birth parent(s)’ emotionally-charged situation.” As much planning and preparation you do as prospective adoptive parents, there is always a risk involved when you’re working with prospective birth parents in such an emotionally-charged process. Many times, potential birth parents are dealing with other unstable aspects in their lives, and adding adoption into the mix can make everything more complicated. When you recognize the instability that many expectant parents are facing, you can better understand why some things in the adoption process go the way they do.
“Be patient.”

Adoption is obviously a complicated process with many steps, and it can take time to complete your adoption. Expect a wait time when it comes to finding an adoption opportunity, receiving ICPC clearance, meeting minimum residency requirements for the child before an adoption finalization, etc. Patience can be hard but can also be the most helpful thing for a positive adoption experience.
“Read what your attorney and agency send you.”
A lot of the answers to your questions can be answered if you read your email and mail from your adoption professionals. We put a lot of time and thought into what we send you.
“Communicate, communicate, and communicate.”
Your adoption agency and adoption attorney are there to help you through all possible complications of your adoption journey, but they can’t do that properly without all of the information they need. Make sure your agency and attorney are aware of any life changes, like a change of address or family composition, as soon as possible. Tell your agency or attorney if the birth parents tell you something that you think could even have a chance of being important. Always tell your agency or attorney everything, even your dark or embarrassing secrets. The more they know the more secure and stable they can try to make your adoption plan. Your attorney doesn’t like surprises.

“Even the most secure adoption has some degree of legal risk.”
Unfortunately, no adoption can be completely free of legal risk. Birth parent situations and adoption laws can be complicated, so your attorney can not assure you that a certain adoption opportunity is 100 percent legally safe. Your adoption professionals will do everything they can to reduce this legal risk to be as miniscule as possible.
“Complete your home study and supervisory visits in a timely manner.”
Your adoption finalization requires certain steps to be met. If you’re not updating those requirements as needed, you could delay your adoption’s finalization. This is one of the most important steps to making sure an adoption is completed as quickly as possible.
“ICPC takes time and we are moving as fast as we can. We want you to get home too.”
For adoptive families, it can be frustrating to have a baby placed with them but be unable to return home to their normal life. Attorneys and adoption agencies understand how frustrating this can be, and they do all they can to expedite this process. Trust that your attorney is doing everything they can to complete the ICPC process as quickly as possible.
“After the adoption finalization, some states take months to send the amended birth certificate.”

If you need a birth certificate quickly for things like a passport, please let your attorney know as soon as possible. Otherwise, a birth certificate can take a good deal of time to make its way to you.
“Finalizing the adoption at the courthouse is a fun experience. However, it is still a courtroom.”

When you are in a court in front of the judge during your adoption finalization, you and your guests still need to dress appropriately. This means no shorts, no flip-flops, etc. While an adoption finalization can be a quick event that you already know meets all the requirements for approval, it’s still important to dress in an appropriate manner. If you have questions about your appearance during an adoption finalization, talk to your attorney or your adoption professional.

Utah Adoption Process

Adoption establishes a parent-child relationship between individuals who are not naturally related. In many cases, the process requires a natural parent to relinquish his or her right to the child being adopted, which is why legal adoption requires a court proceeding and adherence to strict procedures. Adoption attorneys ensure that several parties receive notification of your intent to adopt, including the child’s natural parents, any current guardian or custodian and any other person standing in loco parentis — serving a role similar to a parent in place of a parent. In many cases, including the adoption of a minor stepchild, the noncustodial parent must consent to the adoption. If the noncustodial parent refuses to consent, a trial may be necessary. If a trial occurs, adoption attorney must establish grounds for the termination of the noncustodial parent’s rights.

Grounds for termination of parental rights

• Abandonment
• Abuse
• Neglect
• Unfitness
• Incompetence
Moreover, a father who was not married to the mother of the child being considered for adoption may not have to consent if he did not establish a substantial relationship with the child. Adoption attorneys usually make every effort to avoid a trial in adoption proceedings. And as is often the case in family law, a willingness to negotiate and discuss the issues can usually bring about consent from even an initially reluctant noncustodial parent. As an adoption attorney, you could work for a firm or government agency, or you may choose to open a private practice. In either case, you should be prepared to work long hours. It’s also not unusual for attorneys to deal with high-pressure situations in representing their clients. Adoption attorneys should have their Juris Doctor, or J.D., degree in law. All states require lawyers to be licensed. Some key skills for adoption attorneys include critical thinking, analytical reasoning, negotiation, research, and writing skills.

What Are The Responsibilities And Duties Of An Adoption Attorney?

The role of an adoption attorney includes filing the appropriate paperwork to begin, continue, and finish the placement process. Another duty or responsibility of an adoption attorney is to appear with you during adoption proceedings. Your adoption attorney should also help you with completely understanding your state’s specific adoption laws. This is something you’ll want to look for when you begin your adoption attorney search– someone who knows the applicable regulations and laws and how they will apply and affect you.

What are adoption attorneys’ fees?

Attorney adoption fees vary by state, experience, and time frame. It all really depends on which adoption attorney you choose. It can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. There isn’t one set rate, so it is important to consider multiple adoption attorneys before you settle on one. Remember that you don’t have to work with the first adoption attorney you come across. Explore your options so that you can be confident and comfortable in your final decision.

How do you find an adoption attorney?

There are many methods available for finding an adoption attorney that is best for your specific situation. You should of course call Ascent Law LLC who has adoption attorneys who regularly appear in the Utah Courts doing adoptions on a regular basis. Indeed, we do adoptions all the time. We have rapid access to legal resources in other states and countries and to each other for ideas and strategies. We can be trusted to apply all of this to their clients during their family building journey. Adoption lawyers at Ascent Law understand how important the adoption process is to those who have been waiting so long to become a family. Therefore, they also understand how frustrating it can be when it seems like there are so many parts of the adoption process that are out of your hands, like your wait time, legal scheduling, birth parent relationships and more. Accepting this lack of control early on will make the adoption process easier on all involved and allow your adoption attorney to focus on what they can do to move the process along. As much planning and preparation you do as prospective adoptive parents, there is always a risk involved when you’re working with prospective birth parents in such an emotionally-charged process. Many times, potential birth parents are dealing with other unstable aspects in their lives, and adding adoption into the mix can make everything more complicated. When you recognize the instability that many expectant parents are facing, you can better understand why some things in the adoption process go the way they do. Adoption is obviously a complicated process with many steps, and it can take time to complete your adoption. Expect a wait time when it comes to finding an adoption opportunity, receiving ICPC clearance, meeting minimum residency requirements for the child before an adoption finalization, etc. Patience can be hard but can also be the most helpful thing for a positive adoption experience. Your adoption agency and adoption attorney are there to help you through all possible complications of your adoption journey, but they can’t do that properly without all of the information they need. Make sure your agency and attorney are aware of any life changes, like a change of address or family composition, as soon as possible. Tell your agency or attorney if the birth parents tell you something that you think could even have a chance of being important. Always tell your agency or attorney everything, even your dark or embarrassing secrets. The more they know the more secure and stable they can try to make your adoption plan. Your attorney doesn’t like surprises. Unfortunately, no adoption can be completely free of legal risk. Birth parent situations and adoption laws can be complicated, so your attorney can not assure you that a certain adoption opportunity is 100 percent legally safe. Your adoption professionals will do everything they can to reduce this legal risk to be as miniscule as possible. Your adoption finalization requires certain steps to be met. If you’re not updating those requirements as needed, you could delay your adoption’s finalization. This is one of the most important steps to making sure an adoption is completed as quickly as possible. For adoptive families, it can be frustrating to have a baby placed with them but be unable to return home to their normal life. Attorneys and adoption agencies understand how frustrating this can be, and they do all they can to expedite this process. Trust that your attorney is doing everything they can to complete the ICPC process as quickly as possible. If you need a birth certificate quickly for things like a passport, please let your attorney know as soon as possible. Otherwise, a birth certificate can take a good deal of time to make its way to you. When you are in a court in front of the judge during your adoption finalization, you and your guests still need to dress appropriately. This means no shorts, no flip-flops, etc. While an adoption finalization can be a quick event that you already know meets all the requirements for approval, it’s still important to dress in an appropriate manner. If you have questions about your appearance during an adoption finalization, talk to your attorney or your adoption professional.

Adoption Lawyer

When you need legal help from adoption attorneys in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Family Attorneys Near Me

Family Attorneys Near Me

The area of family law is composed of the legal relationships between family members. These relationships can include those of parents, children, spouses, domestic partners, and guardians. Issues involving family law can include: marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, reproductive rights, paternity, and domestic violence.

Family law encompasses the rules, regulations, and court procedures that involve the family unit. As such, it is not uncommon for cases that are heard in family court to be very personal and emotional. Family law attorneys help their clients file for divorce or separation, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony. Experienced lawyers also assist their clients in establishing paternity, obtaining domestic violence restraining orders, property division, debt allocation, and parenting plans.

Family law attorney is a person who deals with all the matters of families. No matter if it is a matter of marriage, divorce, child custody, property, ownership, etc. The Family-law attorney deals with all such matters. A Family-law attorney is out of the zone of the criminal justice system and works only under civil law. Whenever a person gets a problem in family matters, no matter how severe the condition is, a Family-law attorney is hired, not a criminal lawyer. A Family-law attorney has the massive responsibility of getting justice for his clients.

Do You Need A Family-Law Attorney?

The first step to finding out the best Family-law attorney during your research is to determine why you and whether you need a Family-law attorney or not. By identifying this, you will be able to know the specialized area of Family-law attorney for which you need services. One you will recognize this; you will be able to narrow down your Family-law attorney research only to those who deal with problems that you are facing.

Decide the Right Venue

This is also an important step to keep in mind because every country and state has its laws under which it works. It is therefore important that the person who is filing the case chose the right venue of the claim. The venue must be the one in which both the member of the party is present. In another case, it will be difficult to follow the example if the laws have huge differences. Another benefit of doing this is that the Family-law attorney you will choose will know the court and the judges of that place. It will be easy for him to evaluate the situation and also will have an idea that how to handle the case before the authorities.

Do Some Family Law Research

Quick research about the Family-law attorney you are going to choose for your case will be of great help as it will provide you with all the background knowledge of the lawyer. You can search for the official website of the Family-law attorney and see how his work is going on and how active he is participating in different cases. Moreover, you can also go through social media account of your chosen Family-law attorney, as it is also helpful in understanding that person. Other than this, you can see the press releases about that person or meet someone of his organization to know well about him and his working attitude. This point is of great importance, so never neglect or miss it.

Narrow Down Your Choices

After all the above efforts gave, you will be now able to narrow down the search of your Family-law attorney. You might have 10 Family-law attorneys on your list in the start, but after the above evaluation, you might be left with only 2 or 3. Now, you can choose the best one out of these very easily. You may consider the minor factors for this. For instance, you can choose the Family-law attorney who is nearest to you, who is more understanding and comfortable for you. By looking into these small details, you are now able to get the best option out of the entire Family-law attorney in your surroundings. After doing this, you can even call your chosen Family-law attorney to get consultation on phone or either request to have a personal meeting in which you can get in-person consultation. You can ask them about simple preliminary questions about their career and ambitions. In this way, you can evaluate them on a personal level and get to know how seriously they will carry out your case and how determined they are for their profession.

Call A Family Lawyer Near You Today

You can call your selected Family-law attorney and ask for a meeting for which you will get an appointment. Some Family-law attorney charges for even early meetings, but if you are sure that you will select that Family-law attorney, then there is no harm in paying the fee. Some charge on the hour basis and some charge collectively for the whole day, so you can ask them about it and know about their charges so that you may go with preparation. During this phone call, you must ask your Family-law attorney that what things you need to take with you for the first appointment.

Gather Your Documents for First Meeting

If your Family-law attorney does not tell you about the documents that you have to carry with you for the first meeting, then you can decide it on your own. You can find out about the essentials by searching online. Now, after finding out about the essential documents to be carried with you, take out copies of all of them. You may have to go to other Family-law attorney also, so make sure you keep more than one copy with you. Also, leave the original documents back home so that you may not lose them in any case. They must be kept safe and only taken outside when you need them at any cost.

Now, you are also required to gather details about your case that you might have forgotten over time. There will be so many questions that your selected Family-law attorney is going to ask you for, so you must be able to answer them properly and in detail. This would only be possible if you revise your case thoroughly in advance and then go to the Family-law attorney for the further proceedings. It is very important to remember every detail of your case because even minor things matter when it comes to winning a case in court. So, if you are not able to tell your Family-law attorney even a single detail of your case, you lose the chances to win it. So, keep your eyes open and make sure you remember everything and also deliver that to the Family-law attorney.

As much as it is important to make the list of things the Family-law attorney could ask you, you have also to make a list of questions that you need to ask your chosen Family-law attorney. These questions are both general and specific to the case for which you are going to hire that Family-law attorney. Make sure you ask questions and feel satisfied with the answers of the Family-law attorney because if you do not feel comfortable and hopeful about the future proceedings of the case after visiting your Family-law attorney, then you might not have a good chance to carry on with such Family-law attorney. You can ask the Family-law attorney about how much he will charge you, how much time he will give to the case, when he is expecting the case will be resolved, how tough it would be for him, etc. These questions might look very simple, but they are the way in which one can evaluate a Family-law attorney about his skills, professionalism, and ability to win the case for you.

Top Family-law attorney

Now after you are done with all the essential work, that is, you have met your Family-law attorney and asked every question you wanted, the next step you have to take is to schedule out your future meetings with him. Now as you will be satisfied and comfortable with your Family-law attorney, you can make a flexible plan for your meetings because you know that you will be working with him for a long time so compromise will be made and a proper plan will be constructed. It is not easy, but you can make it off your Family-law attorney is determined enough. Also, you must be very strong in your plans so that the Family-law attorney may not get relaxed at any point. So, you have to enforce regular meetings with the Family-law attorney.

Reasons You Need a Family Law Attorney

Here are a few reasons why choosing a qualified family law attorney is the right decision:
• Objective advice – Even if you’re the party who is initiating the divorce action, chances are that you are experiencing some very deep emotional turmoil concerning the matter. When emotions are running high, it’s easy to make rash decisions that, in hindsight, will prove to be ill-considered. Having a family law attorney in your corner means that you have a professional who can offer objective, fact and experience-based advice regarding your divorce. A family law attorney can help you avoid going for a quick resolution that leaves you at a long-term financial or parenting disadvantage.
• Access to top-notch consultants – In contentious divorce proceedings, the testimony and advice of professionals such as bankers, investment consultants, appraisers, physicians, and mental health experts may be necessary. Experienced family law attorneys have contacts with many of these experienced professionals and can recruit knowledgeable experts who can lend authority to your case with their knowledge.
• Courtroom experience – There is no substitute for experience when it comes to litigation. Family law attorneys have spent a significant portion of their careers in the courtroom arguing divorce cases. This experience gives them unparalleled insight into what tactics opposing attorneys will pursue and how judges will react to various arguments and evidence. While most divorce cases settle, the most contentious ones end up in a courtroom and, in that circumstance; you want a seasoned professional on your side.
• Familiarity with opposing counsel – Most family law attorneys in your area will interact in court and develop working relationships. Experienced family law attorneys can draw upon those contacts to work effectively with your spouse’s attorney to help negotiate a settlement that is fair and equitable.
• Alternatives to litigation – Family law attorneys can advise their clients on whether alternatives such as divorce mediation may be appropriate for their circumstances. Mediation can save divorcing spouses with good communication the time, expense, and stress of a divorce proceeding. In mediation, a facilitator helps guide divorcing spouses to an amicable agreement. While this option isn’t for everyone, many couples have used it to successfully end marriages without the acrimony involved in divorce.
• Pricing – Family law attorneys understand how tough the divorce process can be, particularly with regard to finances. Family law attorneys may charge more competitive rates than non-family law practitioners and may also be more willing to work with clients regarding payment.

The fees charged by a Family Lawyer can vary dramatically depending on how experienced the Lawyer is, the complexity of the case and whether they charge an hourly rate or a fixed fee. However, they should provide you with an estimation of the expected fees from the outset. There are many areas of Family Law that a Family Lawyer or Solicitor may specialize in, the main areas of focus being divorce, children matters and the cost of each matter can vary depending on the complexity of the individual case and the amount of work the Lawyer is ultimately instructed to complete. To assess the cost of an hourly rate case will require the client and the Lawyer to discuss the circumstances in detail and estimate how much work the matter will require. Once this has been established, the Lawyer should be able to provide an accurate estimate of fees, though this will still only be estimation. A fixed fee service is where the Lawyer provides a quote before any of the work starts, and this price is guaranteed not to change. Some clients prefer this as it means they know exactly where they stand right from the start. Regardless of whether a Family Lawyer is charging a fixed fee or an hourly rate, they should discuss the fees with their client right at the point of initial engagement

In most Family Law matters, there are likely to be additional costs that will need to be paid alongside the legal fees. It’s important to understand what these costs are so that you can budget accordingly.
• Court Fees: When an application is sent to Court, depending on the nature of that application, the Court will charge a fee for the application. In divorce matters, this is currently £550, in children matters the fee is £215 and in financial separation matters the fee is £255. This fee is separate to the Lawyer or Solicitor’s fee as this is paid directly to the Court and is known as a ‘disbursement’ (meaning a fee which is payable to a third party other than the instructed Lawyer or Solicitor.) If the client cannot afford to pay the Court fee, it is possible for them to apply to the Court for a reduction or even an exemption from the Court fees by completing a fee remission form. The Court will then assess the amount that the client will be expected to pay towards the Court fee.
• Barrister Fees: Depending on the nature of the case there may be further disbursements required. If a case is taken to Court, for example, then the Family Law Solicitor may arrange for a barrister to represent the client at the hearing. Typically, a barrister will be able to offer a fixed fee for representation at Court.
• Tracing Agent and Process Server Fees: Sometimes, if someone who is involved in a Family Law matter cannot be located and their contact details are unknown, a tracing agent may need to be instructed. This is an organization which attempts to track down the missing individual. In addition, it may also be necessary to instruct a process server, which is an organization that serves the individual with legal documents, advising them of the legal proceedings. A process server will usually be instructed if there is an individual who is difficult to track down or who is not engaging with the proceedings. This is because the Court requires that reasonable efforts are taken to notify an individual of legal proceedings that involve them.

Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You

• Handling Divorce Issues: Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court.
• Handling Estates and Wills: A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.
• Handling Child Custody Agreements: When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.
• Handling Prenuptial Agreements: A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.
• Represent Litigants in Court: Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

Utah Family Law Lawyers

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a family law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Family Attorneys UT

Family Attorneys

The area of family law is composed of the legal relationships between family members. These relationships can include those of parents, children, spouses, domestic partners, and guardians. Issues involving family law can include: marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, reproductive rights, paternity, and domestic violence.
Family law encompasses the rules, regulations, and court procedures that involve the family unit. As such, it is not uncommon for cases that are heard in family court to be very personal and emotional. Family law attorneys help their clients file for divorce or separation, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony. Experienced lawyers also assist their clients in establishing paternity, obtaining domestic violence restraining orders, property division, debt allocation, and parenting plans.

Family attorney is a person who deals with all the matters of families. No matter if it is a matter of marriage, divorce, child custody, property, ownership, etc. The Family-law attorney deals with all such matters. A Family attorney is out of the zone of the criminal justice system and works only under civil law. Whenever a person gets a problem in family matters, no matter how severe the condition is, a Family-law attorney is hired, not a criminal lawyer. A Family-law attorney has the massive responsibility of getting justice for his clients.

Do You Need A Family Attorney?

The first step to finding out the best Family attorney during your research is to determine why you and whether you need a Family-law attorney or not. By identifying this, you will be able to know the specialized area of Family attorney for which you need services. One you will recognize this; you will be able to narrow down your Family-law attorney research only to those who deal with problems that you are facing.

Decide the Right Venue

This is also an important step to keep in mind because every country and state has its laws under which it works. It is therefore important that the person who is filing the case chose the right venue of the claim. The venue must be the one in which both the member of the party is present. In another case, it will be difficult to follow the example if the laws have huge differences. Another benefit of doing this is that the Family attorney you will choose will know the court and the judges of that place. It will be easy for him to evaluate the situation and also will have an idea that how to handle the case before the authorities.

Do Some Research

Quick research about the Family attorney you are going to choose for your case will be of great help as it will provide you with all the background knowledge of the lawyer. You can search for the official website of the Family attorney and see how his work is going on and how active he is participating in different cases. Moreover, you can also go through social media account of your chosen Family attorney, as it is also helpful in understanding that person. Other than this, you can see the press releases about that person or meet someone of his organization to know well about him and his working attitude. This point is of great importance, so never neglect or miss it.

Narrow Down Your Choices

After all the above efforts gave, you will be now able to narrow down the search of your Family attorney. You might have 10 Family-law attorneys on your list in the start, but after the above evaluation, you might be left with only 2 or 3. Now, you can choose the best one out of these very easily. You may consider the minor factors for this. For instance, you can choose the Family attorney who is nearest to you, who is more understanding and comfortable for you. By looking into these small details, you are now able to get the best option out of the entire Family attorney in your surroundings. After doing this, you can even call your chosen Family attorney to get consultation on phone or either request to have a personal meeting in which you can get in-person consultation. You can ask them about simple preliminary questions about their career and ambitions. In this way, you can evaluate them on a personal level and get to know how seriously they will carry out your case and how determined they are for their profession.

Making Final Decision

You can call your selected Family attorney and ask for a meeting for which you will get an appointment. Some Family-law attorney charges for even early meetings, but if you are sure that you will select that Family-law attorney, then there is no harm in paying the fee. Some charge on the hour basis and some charge collectively for the whole day, so you can ask them about it and know about their charges so that you may go with preparation. During this phone call, you must ask your Family-law attorney that what things you need to take with you for the first appointment.

Gather Your Documents for First Meeting

If your Family-law attorney does not tell you about the documents that you have to carry with you for the first meeting, then you can decide it on your own. You can find out about the essentials by searching online. Now, after finding out about the essential documents to be carried with you, take out copies of all of them. You may have to go to other Family-law attorney also, so make sure you keep more than one copy with you. Also, leave the original documents back home so that you may not lose them in any case. They must be kept safe and only taken outside when you need them at any cost.

Think About Your Family Law Case

Now, you are also required to gather details about your case that you might have forgotten over time. There will be so many questions that your selected Family-law attorney is going to ask you for, so you must be able to answer them properly and in detail. This would only be possible if you revise your case thoroughly in advance and then go to the Family-law attorney for the further proceedings. It is very important to remember every detail of your case because even minor things matter when it comes to winning a case in court. So, if you are not able to tell your Family-law attorney even a single detail of your case, you lose the chances to win it. So, keep your eyes open and make sure you remember everything and also deliver that to the Family-law attorney.

As much as it is important to make the list of things the Family-law attorney could ask you, you have also to make a list of questions that you need to ask your chosen Family-law attorney. These questions are both general and specific to the case for which you are going to hire that Family-law attorney. Make sure you ask questions and feel satisfied with the answers of the Family-law attorney because if you do not feel comfortable and hopeful about the future proceedings of the case after visiting your Family-law attorney, then you might not have a good chance to carry on with such Family-law attorney. You can ask the Family-law attorney about how much he will charge you, how much time he will give to the case, when he is expecting the case will be resolved, how tough it would be for him, etc. These questions might look very simple, but they are the way in which one can evaluate a Family-law attorney about his skills, professionalism, and ability to win the case for you.

Plan an Appointment with Family-law attorney

Now after you are done with all the essential work, that is, you have met your Family-law attorney and asked every question you wanted, the next step you have to take is to schedule out your future meetings with him. Now as you will be satisfied and comfortable with your Family-law attorney, you can make a flexible plan for your meetings because you know that you will be working with him for a long time so compromise will be made and a proper plan will be constructed. It is not easy, but you can make it off your Family-law attorney is determined enough. Also, you must be very strong in your plans so that the Family-law attorney may not get relaxed at any point. So, you have to enforce regular meetings with the Family-law attorney.

Reasons You Need a Family Law Attorney

Here are a few reasons why choosing a qualified family law attorney is the right decision:
• Objective advice – Even if you’re the party who is initiating the divorce action, chances are that you are experiencing some very deep emotional turmoil concerning the matter. When emotions are running high, it’s easy to make rash decisions that, in hindsight, will prove to be ill-considered. Having a family law attorney in your corner means that you have a professional who can offer objective, fact and experience-based advice regarding your divorce. A family law attorney can help you avoid going for a quick resolution that leaves you at a long-term financial or parenting disadvantage.
• Access to top-notch consultants – In contentious divorce proceedings, the testimony and advice of professionals such as bankers, investment consultants, appraisers, physicians, and mental health experts may be necessary. Experienced family law attorneys have contacts with many of these experienced professionals and can recruit knowledgeable experts who can lend authority to your case with their knowledge.
• Courtroom experience – There is no substitute for experience when it comes to litigation. Family law attorneys have spent a significant portion of their careers in the courtroom arguing divorce cases. This experience gives them unparalleled insight into what tactics opposing attorneys will pursue and how judges will react to various arguments and evidence. While most divorce cases settle, the most contentious ones end up in a courtroom and, in that circumstance; you want a seasoned professional on your side.
• Familiarity with opposing counsel – Most family law attorneys in your area will interact in court and develop working relationships. Experienced family law attorneys can draw upon those contacts to work effectively with your spouse’s attorney to help negotiate a settlement that is fair and equitable.

• Alternatives to litigation – Family law attorneys can advise their clients on whether alternatives such as divorce mediation may be appropriate for their circumstances. Mediation can save divorcing spouses with good communication the time, expense, and stress of a divorce proceeding. In mediation, a facilitator helps guide divorcing spouses to an amicable agreement. While this option isn’t for everyone, many couples have used it to successfully end marriages without the acrimony involved in divorce.
• Pricing – Family law attorneys understand how tough the divorce process can be, particularly with regard to finances. Family law attorneys may charge more competitive rates than non-family law practitioners and may also be more willing to work with clients regarding payment.
How Much Do Family Attorney Cost?
The fees charged by a Family Attorney can vary dramatically depending on how experienced the Lawyer is, the complexity of the case and whether they charge an hourly rate or a fixed fee. However, they should provide you with an estimation of the expected fees from the outset. There are many areas of Family Law that a Family Attorney or Solicitor may specialize in, the main areas of focus being divorce, children matters and the cost of each matter can vary depending on the complexity of the individual case and the amount of work the attorney is ultimately instructed to complete. To assess the cost of an hourly rate case will require the client and the attorney to discuss the circumstances in detail and estimate how much work the matter will require. Once this has been established, the attorney should be able to provide an accurate estimate of fees, though this will still only be estimation. A fixed fee service is where the Lawyer provides a quote before any of the work starts, and this price is guaranteed not to change. Some clients prefer this as it means they know exactly where they stand right from the start. Regardless of whether a Family attorney is charging a fixed fee or an hourly rate, they should discuss the fees with their client right at the point of initial engagement

Additional Costs

In most Family Law matters, there are likely to be additional costs that will need to be paid alongside the legal fees. It’s important to understand what these costs are so that you can budget accordingly.
• Court Fees: When an application is sent to Court, depending on the nature of that application, the Court will charge a fee for the application. In divorce matters, this is currently £550, in children matters the fee is £215 and in financial separation matters the fee is £255. This fee is separate to the Lawyer or Solicitor’s fee as this is paid directly to the Court and is known as a ‘disbursement’ (meaning a fee which is payable to a third party other than the instructed Lawyer or Solicitor.) If the client cannot afford to pay the Court fee, it is possible for them to apply to the Court for a reduction or even an exemption from the Court fees by completing a fee remission form. The Court will then assess the amount that the client will be expected to pay towards the Court fee.
• Barrister Fees: Depending on the nature of the case there may be further disbursements required. If a case is taken to Court, for example, then the Family Law Solicitor may arrange for a barrister to represent the client at the hearing. Typically, a barrister will be able to offer a fixed fee for representation at Court.
• Tracing Agent and Process Server Fees: Sometimes, if someone who is involved in a Family Law matter cannot be located and their contact details are unknown, a tracing agent may need to be instructed. This is an organization which attempts to track down the missing individual. In addition, it may also be necessary to instruct a process server, which is an organization that serves the individual with legal documents, advising them of the legal proceedings. A process server will usually be instructed if there is an individual who is difficult to track down or who is not engaging with the proceedings. This is because the Court requires that reasonable efforts are taken to notify an individual of legal proceedings that involve them.

What Utah Family Attorneys Can Do For You

• Handling Divorce Issues: Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court.
• Handling Estates and Wills: A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.
• Handling Child Custody Agreements: When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.
• Handling Prenuptial Agreements: A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.
• Represent Litigants in Court: Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

Free Initial Consultation with a Family Lawyer

When you need family law attorneys in your corner, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Child Support Calculator

Utah Child Support Calculator

Child support is an important issue for any divorcing couples with children. Parents need to know what to expect so they may plan for the future. Child support is money one parent pays the other to meet the needs of a child. Needs may include food, shelter, clothing, health insurance, medical costs, education and child care. The amount of child support is based on the income of both parents. The goal is to give children the same standard of living they would have if their parents were together.

How long does child support last?

In most circumstances, child support is paid until your child is age 21. Child support may be suspended or terminated if a child older than 16 becomes emancipated, marries or enters the military. Duty to pay child support does not stop automatically. Requests to stop making payments need to be submitted and approved by the same court that made the child support order.

What If Parents Have Joint Custody?

Joint custody is common if when both parents live locally. The effect of joint custody on child support depends on the nature of the joint custody arrangement. With joint legal custody, both parents share major decisions regarding the child. Joint legal custody may have no effect on child support. One parent still has primary custody of the child and handles payment of most of the child’s day-to-day expenses. The custodial parent’s expenses for the child have not been reduced by the joint custody arrangement. With joint physical custody, the child spends substantial time with each parent. If the parents have approximately equal incomes, it is possible neither parent will have to pay support to the other. The father and mother will pay the child’s day-to-day expenses when the child is in the respective homes. The parents, however, will need to coordinate payments on major expenses such as camp, school, clothing, and insurance. If there is a significant difference in the parents’ incomes, the parent with higher income probably will make payments to the other parent or pay more of the child’s expenses, but the amount paid might be less than the guideline amount because of the joint physical custody arrangement.

How much will child support be?

The basic formula for child support is based on both parents’ income per year and the number of children. If the parents’ combined income is $136,000 or less the court follows a simple formula: (Combined Parental Income) x (Child Support Percentage) = Basic Support Obligation
Child support percentages are:
• 17% of the combined parental income for one child,
• 25% of the combined parental income for two children,
• 29% of the combined parental income for three children,
• 31% of the combined parental income for four children, and
• no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.
Income for purposes of this calculation is gross income on the most recent federal income tax return, minus Medicare, FICA and NYC tax deductions.

Basic Support Example

One parent is the primary caregiver and makes $25,000. The other parent makes $100,000. They have one child. Total income is $125,000, which is multiplied the “child support percentage” of 17%.
$125,000 x .17 = $21,250 is the basic child support obligation.
The higher-earning parent would be responsible for 80% of that figure ($17,000) because their income ($100,000) makes up 80% of the combined parental income ($125,000). The other parent would be responsible to pay 20% ($4,250) of the child’s expenses. In theory, both parents could pay their share into a trust or separate account for the child. However, the court may presume (or the couple may agree) that the custodial parent is spending their share directly on the child’s expenses.

Additional Costs, Payments, or “Add Ons”

In addition to the basic child support obligation, additional payments to cover child care costs (if the custodial parent is working or in school), health care expenses, school, camp, or other major expenses may be required. These payments are prorated at the same percentage as the support obligation (using our example, 80% and 20%). The basic award may be increased to include a pro-rated share of child care expenses, if the custodial parent is working or in school. In addition, the court may increase the award to include a pro-rated share of educational expenses for the child.

Higher Incomes

If the combined income is more than $136,000, the court could use the same formula for all income or choose to set a “ceiling” for income to be applied to the formula. That ceiling could be much greater than $136,000 for very high-income couples. Alternatively, the court could use the formula for only the first $136,000 of combined income, and then decide how much (if any) additional to award by considering these factors:
• The financial resources of the custodial and non-custodial parent, and those of the child.
• The physical and emotional health of the child and his/her special needs and aptitudes.
• The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or household not been dissolved.
• The tax consequences to the parties.
• The non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of the child.
• The educational needs of either parent.
• A determination that the gross income of one parent is substantially less than the other parent’s gross income.
• The needs of the children of the non-custodial parent for whom the non-custodial parent is providing support who are not subject to the instant action and whose support has not been deducted from income.
• Any other factors the court determines are relevant in each case.
Occasionally, the guideline support amount is unfair to a parent or the child. Before a child support order is put in place, either parent can ask to adjust the amount of support. In that case, a court will review a long list of factors to either increase or decrease the amount of child support. These factors include:
• income of a new spouse, domestic partner or other adult(s) in the household
• child support from other relationships
• gifts, prizes, and other wealth
• extraordinary income of a child
• nonrecurring income – like a bonus or overtime pay
• taxes and debt
• the difference in the parents’ cost of living
• a disabled child’s special needs
• the time the child spends with each parent, and
• children from other relationships.
Enforcing Child Support Orders in Utah
A parent who fails to pay court-ordered child support is in violation of a court order. That means a parent who refuses to pay child support can have his or her wages garnished, tax refunds intercepted, and face other legal and financial penalties.

How to Increase Child Support Payments

One thing is certain – life is unpredictable. Even the well-thought out plans for child support may prove unsuccessful. So what happens when the child support amount you’ve been getting no longer covers your child’s basic needs? You go back to court. Once a child support order is issued, either parent may request that a court modify (change) the amount of support, either up or down. Although either parent can ask a court to modify child support, this article will focus on increasing child support payments.

Show a Substantial Change in Circumstances

Although the specific requirements vary from state to state, generally in order to increase (or decrease) child support payments, the requesting parent will have to prove that after the existing order was put in place, a substantial change in circumstances occurred, such as a change in the child’s needs, an increase in salary, or the involuntary loss of a job.
Some of the most common reasons for child support increases include:
• A substantial increase in the non-custodial parent’s (paying parent) income, usually 10% or more – courts consider it in the best interests of the child to live in reasonably equal circumstances when residing in either parent’s home.
• A substantial decrease in the custodial parent’s income, again, usually 10% or more. In a difficult economy, if a custodial parent involuntarily loses a job (through no fault of his or her own) the custodial parent may require a substantial increase in child support, at least temporarily.
• A substantial increase in the child’s needs, including medical expenses, educational expenses, age-related expenses, or cost-of-living increases.
Substantial changes like these should not be based on intentional actions by either parent. For example, if the custodial parent quits a job or takes a substantial pay cut voluntarily, that is generally not considered a qualified reason for increasing support payments from the other parent.
Make your Child Support Modification Official
It’s essential to get court approval for any child support modification. The parent who wants to change child support must go to court and get an order specifying the new amount. Otherwise, the original child support order will be the only official record of the amount owing. Even if you and your child’s other parent have entered into a verbal or written agreement between yourselves about modifying child support and have agreed to a new amount, you must go to court and ask a judge to approve your agreement and issue a new order reflecting your terms. While parents may agree to change child support and decide that a verbal agreement is sufficient, if their relationship deteriorates, the parent that accepted the changes requested by the other may renege on the agreement, and ask the court to invoke the original support order. In addition, courts won’t enforce verbal child support agreements. If the paying parent falls behind, and the custodial parent asks a judge to help collect support payments, the court will invoke the original support order. In most states, turning your agreement into a modified child support order may be as simple as filling out the proper forms and submitting them to the court for a small fee. If the requested change to support is in the child’s best interests and based on a substantial change in circumstances, the court will generally approve it without a hearing. If the parents can’t agree, they will have to argue their cases in court, which means incurring additional court costs and attorney’s fees.
Factors in Calculating Child Support
The calculation of child support depends on numerous factors. Perhaps the most important is how much money the parents earn.
• Income of Both Parents: The income of both parents is taken into consideration. Also, the amount a parent is able to earn is considered that is, if a doctor in his 40s is lying on the beach all day instead of working, she or he may still owe child support even with no income. A related factor is how much other income each parent receives. For example, parents may earn interest or other investment income. Income and needs of Custodial Parent: The parent that has custody of the parent requires more support since they have main custody of the child and will incur more expenses to take care of the child. If the custodial parent makes less money than the non-custodial parent, they will receive a much larger child custody payment to cover the expenses needed.
• Family structure: that is, how many children are involved. Obviously, more kids means more money (a truism every parent can attest to). There is the factor of how much time each parent spends with their children – in this case, more time spent with kids usually means less money owed to the other parent for child support.
• Age and status of the child: Depending on the state and the child support agreement, the child support may end at some point in the child’s life. Some states and agreements will allow the parents to cut off support when the child reaches the age of majority. Others will require that the children graduate from college or that the children become married before the support can be terminated.

• Child’s Standard of Living Before Divorce or Separation: The courts also look at the needs and standard of living for the child before the divorce. The courts main intent is to ensure that the child receives the same type of living after the divorce and the separation does not impact the child in a major way.
• The Parent’s Ability to Pay: The court ensures that the child support payments are fair and proportional to the parent’s income. If the paying parent cannot afford to pay the child support, the court allows the parent to modify the child support payment.
• Needs of the Child: The main factor that is determined is the need and expenses of the child to live a standard life. This includes the child’ health insurance, education expenses, day care, food, rent, and special needs. Note that step children are not counted in some states for purposes of child support as those states do not recognize the stepparents as being legal guardians for those children. If there is no legal obligation then there is no child support.

What Other Factors Are There In Determining Child Support?
This list is not exhaustive. Family law courts are designated “courts of equity,” which means they can and do take into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances in determining the most just and fair outcome of the case. They are charged primarily with looking out for the best interests of the child.
Other factors include:
• Tax filing status of each parent
• Support of children from other relationships
• Health insurances expenses
• Union dues
• Retirement contributions
• Traveling to visit kids

How Does the Court Determine the Child Support Payments?

The courts often require each parent to fill out a financial statement to provide a complete overview of the parents income and expense. Then the court looks at both parent’s income and determines the situations that each parent is in before making the decision on the child support payments. In the financial statement, each parent has a duty to provide all the detail of his or her monthly income and expenses. Once the court sets out the child support payments, it always takes into factor the pre-divorce standard of living and attempts to continue this standard of living for the child.
Do I Need An Attorney To Obtain or Modify Child Support?
Unless both parents agree on a child support amount, you will need to go into court to establish or modify child support. The court procedure for establishing or modifying child support can be very confusing, so it may be wise to consult with an experienced child support attorney to make sure your interests are protected.
How Long Child Support Lasts
Generally, the law requires that the person paying child support continues to make those payments until any of the following circumstances apply:
• Your child is no longer a minor (unless the child is still in high school or has special needs)
• Your child becomes active duty in the military (applies to most states, but not all; you will also have to file a motion with the court)
• Your parental rights are terminated through adoption or another legal process
• Your minor child is declared legally emancipated by a court (in which case the court has determined the child is able to be self-supporting)

Child Support Calculator Lawyer

When you need a Utah lawyer for child support issues, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Restraining Order Consequences

Restraining Order Consequences

A restraining order is a document issued by a court that prevents one party from contacting or communicating with another party or parties. Courts issue restraining orders when one party credibly alleges that another has engaged in domestic abuse, violence, or stalking, or has threatened to commit these acts. Consequences of violating a restraining order include being held in contempt of court; losing child custody or visitation rights; jail time and/or monetary fines; and money damages. A court typically issues a restraining order to prevent physical harm to a person. Physical harm includes stalking, assault, domestic violence, and domestic abuse. A court may also issue a restraining order to prevent emotional harm or distress. A restraining order may include terms that require the restrained party from:
• Approaching, or attempting to approach the party who obtained the order, within a certain radius;
• Attempting to contact the party who obtained the order; or
• Engaging in acts of intimidation, or threats to commit violence or to violate the order.
A restraining order may also include terms requiring a party to:
• Move out of a shared residence;
• Refrain from visiting the other party’s home or place of employment; and
• Undergo anger management therapy.

In some instances, a court may issue an order to prevent financial harm. Such restraining orders may require a party, such as a debt collector, from engaging in financial harassment. Such orders may also require a party to refrain from specific financial activity that will harm the party who obtained the order. In appropriate cases, restraining orders can be issued to protect more than one person. If, for example, an individual has made threats against an individual and that individual’s family, a court may issue a restraining order protecting the entire family from being contacted by the restrained individual. A business entity can ask the court to issue a restraining order against another business or individual, if the other business or individual has threatened or engaged in illegal activity affecting the business entity. A person or entity that violates a restraining order will be held in contempt of court for violating that order. Contempt of court can be punished by monetary fines, imprisonment, or both. Violation of a restraining order carries civil penalties, including fines. Violation of an order also may prompt a court to issue a mandatory injunction. A mandatory injunction is a court order requiring a person or entity to take a specific action. For example, if an individual has obtained a restraining order against a factory prohibiting the factory from engaging in pollution, a court may take action, the court may require the factory to remediate the pollution by, for example, ordering that the factory properly dispose of waste. An individual who violates a restraining order may be sued by a victim in civil court.

The court may require the violator to pay monetary damages for emotional pain and suffering. The court may order a violator who engages in physical harm, to pay for doctor bills, pharmacy bills, and other expenses resulting from that harm. If the violation consists of physical abuse, a court may order revocation of the violator’s child custody and visitation rights, especially if the physical abuse is committed in the presence of the violator’s child or children. Violation of a restraining order may also result in criminal penalties. The amount of prison time and/or monetary fine depends upon the severity of the violation. For example, a person who intentionally violates a restraining order by approaching the protected individual with a gun may be charged with a felony. Violation of a restraining order that is otherwise punishable as a misdemeanor, may be punished as a felony if the violation is a second, third, or other additional offense.

What Should a Victim Do if a Restraining Order is Violated?

Step One – call the police. Restraining orders cannot be effectively enforced if their violation is not brought to the attention of the authorities. Therefore, victims should promptly report all violations to law enforcement officials. If the police issue a police report, the victim should obtain a copy. If you have been accused of violating a restraining order, or your restraining order is being violated, you should contact a criminal defense attorney or a family law attorney. An experienced criminal lawyer near you can represent your rights if you have been accused of violating a restraining order. If your own restraining order has been violated, an experienced family law attorney near you can assist you with taking appropriate legal action, including the filing of a contempt of court order, and/or initiating civil litigation. A court date will be set and you will appear before a judge. You will have the opportunity to explain your situation to the judge. You will usually appear before a judge without the abuser being present. When you return for your second appearance in court, on the date indicated in your order, the abuser has a right to be present. Both you and the abuser will have the opportunity to tell the judge what happened between you. You are allowed to bring a lawyer to this hearing, but it is purely your choice. At the end of this hearing, the judge will determine if you should receive a final order, for how long, and under what conditions.

If the abuser does not appear at the hearing, the judge will either continue the temporary order in effect until the abuser can be brought into court, or will enter a final order if there is proof that the abuser was served with the T.R.O./Notice to Appear. The sheriff or police should have proof of service. You cannot be asked or told to serve papers on the abuser. If you don’t appear and have not made arrangements with the court to reschedule the case, someone from the court will attempt to contact you by phone at home or at work, or they may send you a certified letter if you have no phone. The courts take domestic violence very seriously and will be worried about your safety if you do not call. If they cannot find you, your restraining order may be dismissed and you will no longer have the protection granted in the order.

What Happens After Court

The court will give you a copy of the order. Be sure to ask someone before you leave the court if there is anything you don’t understand. Carry it with you at all times. If the abuser does not obey the order, call the police. The police have to arrest an abuser who violates any part of the order that protects you from threats or violence. You have the right to police protection. If you carry your order with you at all times, it will be easier for the police to understand your current situation. If you lose your order, or it gets destroyed, return to the court and obtain another copy. To know what proof you need for a restraining order, it helps to understand what a restraining order does. It’s a way to stop someone from engaging in threatening behavior. In serious cases, the only way to stop the behavior is to order the offender to stay a certain distance from the victim. But it can also target specific things like contacting the victim’s friends or family, phone calls after certain times, or other unwanted behaviors. But before a court will do that, you have to prove that there is some danger to you. Most courts won’t order a behavior to stop unless there’s proof that it’s happening.

How To File A Restraining Order

Deciding to seek protection from someone who may wish you or your family harm can be frightening and isolating. The first step in protecting yourself from an aggressor, whether from domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, or threats, is a restraining order. Georgia has a relatively straightforward civil process to obtain a protective or restraining order. Throughout this process, by showing that the defendant means you harm, you must demonstrate the necessity of the restraining order to a judge. The more proof that you have of abuse, harassment, or harmful intentions, the better your chances of obtaining a restraining order are. Several different behaviors may constitute legal grounds for a restraining order. Getting a restraining order may be one of the procedures requested during a divorce case. If your health, well-being, or livelihood is at jeopardy because of another person, ask your lawyer about filing for a temporary protective order.
Physical Abuse and Threats of Harm
Acts or threats of violence are some of the most substantial pieces of evidence necessary to convince a judge. Any unwanted touching, pushing, and restraint may be considered physical abuse. Pictures, videos, and voice recordings go a long way towards proving abuse. Photos of the bodily damage caused and audio or video recordings of threats can also serve as evidence when filing for a restraining order.
Sexual Abuse
If someone forced you into sexual activity without your consent, you have the right to apply for a sexual abuse protective order. At the hearing, you should be ready to have witnesses testify, give your testimony, and provide the judge with any evidence you have. Photos of your injuries and text messages from respondents are some examples of potential evidence in these cases.
Psychological Abuse
Psychological and emotional abuse is also considered sufficient grounds for a temporary restraining order. Reliable evidence can include notes, text messages, or voice recordings in which the defendant demonstrates abusive behavior. Witness testimony can also prove a valuable asset. Note that such claims are not limited to physical threats, but include any ongoing harm to your emotional and mental well-being.

Stalking
Stalking Protective Orders have their own rules in Utah. No proof of abuse or threats of violence is required. All that is needed is that you demonstrate that the accused is following you, making you feel uncomfortable, or invading your personal space. If you can provide proof of threatening or disturbing behavior through messages, videos, or pictures, you have a good chance of getting approval for a stalking order.
Depletion of Assets
If you can prove that the aggressor is hiding or destroying assets to punish you, this can also be grounds for a restraining order. Financial records or any written proof of financial wrongdoing can always aid your case. The court may also file a restraining order against a bank to prevent the defendant from hiding assets. Family Violence Protective Orders exist to protect anyone in a family from any other family member who poses a threat. These orders are particularly useful because they mandate that the defendant immediately vacate the family home. Temporary Protective Orders (TPO) typically last for 30 days. A judge will schedule a court date before the TPO expires where the victim can seek more permanent protection against the aggressor’s abuse or harassment.

How To Get An Order Of Protection Dismissed

It is possible to drop an order of protection once it has started in particular circumstances. However, the judge (or a different judge) needs to perform an evaluation of the current situation. In some circumstances where the order of protection has been filed is because of improper reasons. When this is explained to the judge, he or she may decide to quickly drop the outstanding order. Reversing the order when a spouse or partner either regrets or thinks the order of protection has been applied for the wrong reasons, it may require more work to reverse the order than it is when then the order was originally issued. A partner or spouse may call a judge through the appropriate means is there is a need for direct distance between the individuals. As long as there is reasonable evidence, this is usually granted and may require a complete order or one that prevents the other party from having contact.

Dropping The Protection Order

If there are no criminal charge claims the courts have aimed at the target of the order, the process is simpler and there is room for possibly dropping the order. However, when the situation solely involved the domestic relations courts, dropping the order is far less difficult. The petition order may be dropped if the parties can agree to file a dismissal. Furthermore, if the parties fail to show for a hearing, the petition loses its validity. In the absence of a prosecuting lawyer whose job is to pursue the case – there is no need to maintain the protection order if there is no interest from either party in keeping the order active. It is vitally important to hire a lawyer who knows what can be done so the order of protection may be dropped. Although the person has to initially file a dismissal, the other party may be a no-show for the hearing. A lawyer can also offer many helpful ways forward and explain how to proceed depending on the actions of the party that is protected.

How Do I Drop a Restraining Order?

When the person that had the restraining order issued needs to drop it for various reasons, he or she may need to research how to do so or contact a lawyer for assistance in this matter. Once the judge has the order in place, it may depend on other circumstances such as domestic violence charges issued to the other party before there is the possibility of the order dropping. The court’s permission is necessary to drop a restraining order, and the party needing to drop it must remain present in the courtroom before a judge. Even if the person that caused the circumstances to seek a restraining order lives with the protected party again does not mean the order will automatically drop. It is important that the protected party seeks to drop the order before any living or contact arrangements resume between the protected and target of the order. Otherwise, legal penalties and punishments may issue against the target of the order. It is also important to know the process according to the state where the person lives. Preparations for dropping a restraining order depend greatly on which party is seeking to drop the order. If this is the target of the order, he or she may need to provide proof that no evidence truly exists that necessitated the restraining order, or he or she may need to explain how the possible violent activity will not occur again in the future such as through counseling or anger management programs. If the protected person seeks to drop the order, he or she may need to explain to the courts how the circumstances no longer exist. A reconciliation of the relationship due to issues such as counseling or programs may provide the judge with the information he or she needs to drop the order properly. To pursue dropping a restraining order for whatever reason, it is important to have a lawyer on hand. Losing the restraining order removes the ability to have any violator from an arrest or violations held in court against the person. This could lead to further possible domestic or violent issues. This might also necessitate the dropping and dismissal of all criminal complaints against the other party for the event that caused the order’s issuance. This is often a necessary step when explaining before a judge why a restraining order is no longer needed. The protected person will usually discuss the matter with the lawyer first before progressing to the courtroom. Any possible doubts about lifting the restraining order may dissolve when talking with the lawyer. Meeting with legal representation may provide the information necessary to proceed to the next step. However, the legal professional will also discuss why keeping the order in place would benefit the individual. If the event that caused the issuance involved violence, abuse or an attack, lifting the order usually also lifts any protection against an attack or in law enforcement immediately arresting the person that causes the problem. The lawyer will discuss these matters fully before recommending what to do next to lift the restraining order.

State Requirements for Dropping the Order

Some states require the person that sought the order to meet with a state worker. In situations where the person wants to drop the restraining order, he or she may need to talk with the state employee tasked with the issue. Some states have the person discuss the reasons to drop it, counseling for victims and meetings if children are part of the greater issue. The primary concern with someone seeking to drop an order is that the individual may suffer from coercion or duress from the other party. Then, some states have certain forms that are different than in other states. Some require a motion to dismiss or dissolve the restraining order. The details of the forms may require certain names, dates and reasons for the dissolution of the restraining order. The motion requires notarization generally. Some may need a signature before a notary as well. Several copies are necessary, and the court clerk files the paperwork.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Common Law Marriage Utah

Common Law Marriage Utah

Common law marriage is a concept that has been around since the 1800s. The idea allows couples to be legally married without the formality of a ceremony, witnesses, and a marriage license. Many people believe that a common law marriage is formed simply by living with your partner for a specific amount of time. On the contrary, for you to establish a common law marriage, you must live in one of the handful of states that recognizes it and meet several other requirements. The benefits of common law marriage may include inheritance rights, property division, and alimony upon the termination of the relationship. Currently, only Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah recognize common law marriage. A few other states, including Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania may retroactively recognize a common law marriage if you and your spouse satisfied the requirements before the state banned it. If you live in a state that currently recognizes common law marriage, you’ll need to demonstrate the following before the state accepts your relationship:
• you must live together for a significant amount of time (no state defines the time limit)
• you and your partner live as and portray yourselves to your friends, family, and community as a married couple, typically meaning you share the same last name, refer to each other as “spouse,” “husband,” or “wife,” share bank accounts and real property, and/or file a joint tax return, and
• you both must have the capacity to marry (at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and not already married to someone else.) If you lived in a state that recognized common law marriage and relocated to one that doesn’t, the new state may recognize your relationship for inheritance and divorce purposes.

Is Common Law Marriage a Good Alternative to Legal Marriage?

No. It’s not. Some couples want to avoid a nasty divorce, so they set out to establish a common law marriage instead. However, if you live in a state that recognizes common law marriage, the only way to end the relationship is to ask the court for a divorce. You’ll still need to go through the formal process of property division and custody and support determinations, in addition to asking the court to terminate your relationship legally. Divorcing from a common law marriage may first require a trial to prove to the court that you were in a legally enforceable marriage, which could take more time and money than a divorce from a traditional marriage. Some couples want a common law marriage for inheritance purposes, but the process isn’t any easier for common law marriages than traditional marriage, in fact, it’s more complicated. If your common law spouse dies without a will, your spouse’s family may petition the court for the property because the two of you weren’t legally married. Before you can proceed and collect your rights as a spouse, you’ll need to prove to the court that your common law marriage is legal. If you fail to meet even one of your state’s common law marriage requirements, you risk losing your inheritance. Common law marriages also prove complicated if you’d like to sue on your spouse’s behalf. For example, if your spouse dies in a work accident, you can’t sue the employer for neglect unless you can demonstrate that you and your spouse have a legally enforceable relationship. The court would require you first to prove that you meet the requirements for a common law marriage before you can proceed with the suit for neglect. Had you and your spouse formed a traditional marriage, the court would allow you to sue immediately on behalf of your spouse. Utah does recognize Common Law Marriage but it is under a set of specific circumstances that is hard to prove. When it comes to common law marriage, the process of getting a divorce isn’t too different from a regular divorce; there’s no such thing as “common law divorce.” In fact, the main difference in the divorce process is that you first have to prove that a common law marriage existed. There are a few ways to do this (you need all these elements to show common law marriage existed):
• Are of legal age and capable of consent;
• Are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage under the provisions of this chapter;
• Have cohabitated;
• Mutually assume marital rights, duties and obligations; and
• Have held themselves out as and have acquired a uniform and general reputation as husband and
• The determination or establishment of a marriage shall occur during the relationship described above within one year following the termination of that relationship

How to Tell Whether You Have a Common Law Marriage

There are no absolute rules or guidelines; whether or not a common law marriage exists depends on the facts of each situation. However, a common law marriage can occur only when all of the following occur
• You are a heterosexual couples who lives together in a state that recognizes common law marriages
• You have lived together for a significant amount of time (not defined in any state). Despite much belief to the contrary, the length of time you live together does not by itself determine whether a common law marriage exists. No state law or court decision says seven years or ten years of cohabitation is all that is needed for a common law marriage. It’s only one factor the court may consider.
• You hold yourselves out to the community (your neighbors, friends, and coworkers) as a married couple—typically, this means using the same last name, referring to the other as “my husband” or “my wife,” and filing a joint tax return.
Courts most often apply the rules of common law marriage in situations where one partner dies without a will and the other claims there was a common law marriage so as to inherit property under intestate succession laws. These laws automatically give a share of property to a spouse but don’t recognize an unmarried partner. If your state recognizes common law marriages where both partners are still living and your relationship meets the requirements, you may need to end your relationship by divorcing, just as you would if you had gotten married with a license and ceremony. Check with a lawyer who knows that law in your state to get this all sorted out.

Changing Your Name if Your Marriage Is Common Law

Anyone can do a name change you don’t need to be married. In theory, most states allow you to legally change your name by usage only — meaning that you simply start using your new name without any court action, and at no cost. However, practically speaking, because you don’t have a marriage certificate, you will need an official court order changing your name before you’ll get government agencies and many private companies, such as banks and title companies, to accept your new name. Common law marriages are recognized in a small number of states by a notarized affidavit or domestic partner agreement. A common law marriage is one without a marriage license. If you are in a state that recognizes common law marriage, you can show proof of your common-law relationship by providing an affidavit from you and your partner regarding your history together. Some states, as well as the Social Security Administration, may also require affidavits from two people who are aware of your common-law relationship. These documents must be notarized and filed with a county clerk. Depending on the jurisdiction, a certificate may be issued or the affidavit itself may be recognized as valid proof of marriage.

Common Law Marriage Requirements In Utah

There are certain statements that affidavits of common law marriage are required to include:
• The state where the two of you agreed to be husband and wife
• The date when you made this decision
• Any previous marriage relationships, both licensed and under common law. If there are any such marriages, you will need to provide wedding dates, and how the relationships ended, with documents supporting the termination.
• That you are 18 years old or older, and any other competence requirements for the state
Couples that want a traditional marriage must apply for a license and complete a wedding ceremony, which may be officiated by a judge, preacher, or other qualified person. After the ceremony, the spouses will receive a marriage certificate to keep for their records. Once the couple takes these steps, they are legally married and entitled to marital benefits from the state and federal government, including marital tax deductions, Social Security spousal benefits, inheritance rights, and the right to apply for immigration status for a foreign-born spouse. In Utah, couples who have lived together and treated each other as spouses can ask the court to recognize their past relationship as a marriage. To do this, a couple needs to file a formal, written request called a “petition to recognize a relationship as a marriage” at the local court. This petition must be filed either during the relationship or within one year after it ends. If a judge grants the request, the couple will be legally married. Unlike traditional marriage, which becomes legal as of the date of the ceremony, a couple petitioning the court to recognize a past marital relationship will have their marriage backdated to the time their relationship began. Before completing all the steps required preparing and filing a petition to recognize a relationship as a marriage, couples should understand that this process has the same effect as getting married. Unless the couple (or one of the partners) must have the past relationship recognized as a legal marriage for a specific purpose, such as divorce, inheritance, or spousal support, it may be cheaper and faster to simply get married.
How Do I Establish My Marriage?
Either partner can ask a judge to recognize the past relationship as a marriage. The partner who files the paperwork will need to present evidence and witnesses to support the request. To prove to the court that a marriage existed, the filing partner must show:
• both partners are of legal age and can give consent
• both partners are legally capable of entering a marriage
• the couple has lived together
• the partners have treated each other as a spouse and treated their relationship as a marriage, and
• both partners presented themselves as a married couple to the public, in a way that made others believe they were married.
If the court finds that the evidence is sufficient support the request, a judge will approve it and declare the couple legally married. If the couple files the petition together, they should file it with their local county court. If the partner files the petition after the relationship has ended, it can be filed along with a divorce petition. Both partners in the relationship must agree that their union is a marriage, which is known as consent. The person who files the petition is responsible for proving consent to the court and can do so in a variety of ways. For example, the person filing the petition can provide the court with:
• a written agreement between the parties
• testimony from others who were present at the time the parties made the agreement that they were in a marriage
• proof of joint bank and credit accounts
• evidence of a purchase and ownership of joint property
• joint tax returns, or
• other documents that support or declare the relationship, such as a will, deed, or power of attorney.
What are the Benefits to Having the Relationship Recognized?
Legally married couples enjoy a variety of benefits including tax breaks, inheritance and survivor rights, spousal Social Security benefits, and spousal privilege rights. Either party in an unmarried couple can petition the court for recognition, and often this occurs at the end of the relationship. Once a court declares that a marriage existed, a spouse will have access not only to all marital benefits and rights, but also to divorce-related legal protections if the couple decides to end their relationship—these include:
• fair property settlements
• alimony (if appropriate)
• a share of the partner’s pension and/or retirement benefits
• attorney fee contributions from the other spouse, and
• all the other rights and protections afforded to divorcing spouses.
It can also be helpful to have the relationship marked as a legal marriage when one partner passes away and the living partner may inherit property. If one partner dies without a will, that person’s legal spouse will have automatic inheritance rights, while a non-legal partner will not.
Why Common Law Marriage is Complicated in Utah
Countless couples throughout Utah live together for years in long-term relationships without exchanging wedding vows. In addition to living at the same property, many couples in common law marriages also have children together or from previous relationships. But what happens when a common law marriage comes to an end? Fortunately, it is not much different from conventional divorce. First, it is important to remember there is no such term as “ common law divorce”. However, there is one major fundamental difference. Couples must prove they are in a common law marriage.
How Common Law Marriage in Utah is Determined
In any long-term relationship, couples will share many things. People involved in common law marriages have the same issues as conventional marriage. The division of property, child custody and visitation are some of the most important.
To prove a common law marriage existed, couples must prove the following:
• Both parties must be of legal age of consent
• Both parties must live together
• Both parties must be capable of entering a legal marriage under the provisions of Utah family law
• Both parties have mutually assumed marital obligations, rights, and duties
• Both parties have established a reputation as husband and wife

Requirements for a Common Law Marriage
The requirements for common law marriage vary between the states, but all states have these criteria in common: you both must have the intent to be married and the legal capability to marry. Most states, but not all, also allow require you to live together.
Basic Requirements
Here are the basic requirements for the creation of a common law marriage; however, your specific state may have additional requirements.
• You and your partner must have the capability (that is, be old enough and have the mental capacity) to enter a contract for a valid marriage with each other.
• You must both live in a state that recognizes common law marriages when the marriage contract is entered into.
• You must both have the intent to marry one another.
• You must both consider yourselves husband and wife, and
• You must both agree to be husband and wife from that time on.

Common Law Marriage Lawyer In Utah

When you need legal help with a common law marriage, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Affordable Family Law Attorney

Affordable Family Law Attorney

Usually when you hire an attorney, it’s to avoid being drained financially by an ex-spouse, former business partner or adversary who wants to sue you. But what do you do when you need a lawyer to protect your assets and paying for one is out of the question? In a criminal proceeding, if you can’t afford legal assistance, a court will appoint an attorney for you. In a civil case, generally described as a dispute between two private parties, to get legal representation, you have to get creative.

Here’s how to find legal help if you can’t afford a lawyer:
• Contact the city courthouse.
• Seek free lawyer consultations.
• Look to legal aid societies.
• Visit a law school.
• Contact your county or state bar association.
• Go to small claims court.
Depending on your situation, you can employ a variety of strategies to get free legal advice or cheap legal assistance.
Contact the City Courthouse
Whether it’s a divorce or you’re being taken to court for something else, if you don’t have a lawyer, a logical move would be to call the courthouse and ask who they would suggest going to.
Seek Free Lawyer Consultations
Some attorneys will offer free consultations usually by phone or videoconference. You aren’t likely to come away feeling like you’re ready to try your first case, but even if it’s just a 15-minute call, you may at least get enough information to have a better sense of what legal morass you’re in for. You might also be able to get some direction as to who can help you for free or a bargain basement price.

You could also consider hiring an up-and-coming law student to give you advice. Many law schools have pro bono programs in which law students can offer free legal advice.
Contact Your County or State Bar Association
You can call the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 9 to 11 a.m., as part of their Ask an Attorney Service, and they’ll answer legal questions for free. If you need advice that doesn’t fit in that window, the association offers a 30-minute consultation with an attorney for $30, and for certain topics for instance, pertaining to Social Security, unemployment, workers’ compensation and personal injuries, among others – they’ll offer the 30-minute consultation free of charge.
Go to Small Claims Court
Unfortunately, this isn’t a viable option for everyone. For instance, you can’t go to small claims court if you’re trying to work out your financial affairs after a divorce. But if the stakes are fairly low where someone owes you money or is trying to collect money from you, and it isn’t worth risking lawyer fees, you might consider small claims court.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
After looking around and talking to enough attorneys or law students, you may decide that you do need a lawyer and the more you look around, you may find one who will work with you on a small budget. It’s worth asking around because you may find that the fees aren’t as high as you fear, especially if you can get them capped. An attorney might give you a discount. Also, many attorneys offer payment plans, so that you’re paying monthly instead of one huge sum all at once. Of course, you could hit the jackpot and find a pro bono lawyer, or you might find someone willing to take your case on contingency. That is, if you lose your case, you won’t pay money, but if you win, the law firm will take a portion of the money awarded to you. However, it’s important to tread carefully before picking a lawyer. Choose a reputable attorney and make sure the rate is agreed upon before the lawyer takes your case. And don’t be too shocked if an attorney turns you down. It’s risky for lawyers to take cases on contingency, and they need to be confident a judge or jury will side with you, and that there’s going to be something sizable awarded to you.
How Much Does a Child Custody Court Case Cost?
Custody Battle Cost
The cost of a child custody court case can range anywhere from $3,000 to $40,000-plus according to most sources. Why such an enormous range? Because there are so many factors that impact how much a case will cost.
The two factors that will have the most impact, include:
• The attorney you hire
• If your custody case is contested or uncontested
How much does a custody lawyer cost?
Attorney fees can range anywhere from $85 to $400 or more per hour depending on the experience level of the lawyer you hire, their reputation, and their track record of success in litigating child custody cases. Attorneys can bill for their services in several different ways. A straightforward hourly billing process is standard, meaning you pay-by-the-hour for any time the attorney spends on your case, which means every phone call, email, meeting, and court appearance about your case will increase your bill. Some lawyers will bill a flat fee for child custody services. If the case is simple and straightforward, the flat fee will likely be less than a complex or contested custody case. A typical flat cost can range from $3,000 to $20,000. Finally, some lawyers charge on a retainer basis. A retainer is a fee paid in advance to the lawyer for handling your case. The lawyer draws from this retainer to pay his or her expenses as the case proceeds. If the case is finished quickly, depending on your agreement, you may be refunded remaining funds left in the retainer. If the retainer is used up before the case is settled, you will be required to make an additional payment. It’s essential to understand what is included in your attorney fees. Other items that attorneys may charge for include travel expenses, paralegal services, copying, faxes, and more. Make sure your contract is clear about how billing works, so you are not surprised by fees you didn’t expect.

Contested or Uncontested Case
The other major factor that impacts how much your child custody case will cost is whether your case is contested or uncontested. Having a contested case means that there is a dispute or challenge about how the custody of the child will be handled. For example, if one person is determined to have sole custody and refuses to cooperate or compromise, the case will proceed to a full-court trial, which will then require depositions, court time, possibly specialists or expert witnesses, and much more.
Other Child Custody Fee Factors
Other factors that may impact how much your child custody court case will cost include:
• The state where you live.
• If you need assistance negotiating or compromising on specific terms within your child custody agreement or parenting plan, you may need a mediator or arbitrator. Those costs can range from $100 – $300 an hour.
• If you require a custody evaluation done by an expert such as a child psychologist, these experts can cost anywhere from $1,500 – $6,000 or more.
• You may incur fees for miscellaneous items such as paying the sheriff or third-party to serve paperwork, court filing fees, subpoenaing bank records, or other documents.
Usually, each party in a child custody case is responsible for paying their legal fees. A judge might make an exception if one party makes substantially more money than the other, or if one party cannot afford legal representation. Some people may be entitled to legal aid or a pro bono attorney depending on their income level. While the thought of hiring an attorney and paying legal fees may seem daunting, in some child custody cases, it may be one of the best investments you ever make if it ensures the best situation for your child. Many attorneys will allow you to schedule an initial consultation at little or no cost so that you can learn more about your options.
Know Who You’re Dealing With
Many lawyers specialize in a particular area of the law. Be sure your attorney has relevant experience. An attorney who regularly drafts wills may not be the best choice to represent you in a courtroom if the subject is an auto accident. If family, friends or co-workers have hired a lawyer for a similar reason, ask them for recommendations. If not, check with your state and local bar associations. Some groups offer lawyer referral services for their members.
Do Your Research
Try to talk with more than one lawyer before you choose the one to represent you. But find out if you will be charged for an initial meeting. Be prepared to describe your problem in a brief, clear summary. Ask the various lawyers about their experience, their fees, what your options might be, and your chances of success, who will do the work, and when the problem might be resolved.
Know the Real Deal
Once you decide to hire a lawyer, be sure you understand what you’ve both agreed to. How often will the lawyer update you? What information will you are required to provide? Do you understand all your options? What will the total cost be? If you’re not clear on exactly what the lawyer is doing, ask for clarification. Although your chances of success can’t be guaranteed, discuss approaches to your case. You should be comfortable with your lawyer’s approach to your case. Be up front with your lawyer on all the facts and circumstances surrounding your situation. You may want to get the agreement with your lawyer in writing.
Payment Arrangements
Remember the most expensive lawyer is not necessarily the best one for you. Nor is a “bargain” rate always a great deal. Look for the best balance of experience and cost. You may want to ask your lawyer if a junior lawyer or paralegal can perform some of the work to lower your costs. You also may want to ask if there are tasks you could perform yourself to save time and money. For example, you might be able to copy, pick up or deliver certain documents. A lawyer may charge you a flat fee for a particular service or offer alternative methods of payment. Each has benefits and risks.
Contingency fees


A contingent fee arrangement means that your lawyer gets a percentage of whatever money you receive as resolution of your case. If you receive no money, then your lawyer collects no fees. However, you may owe charges for court fees, copying, and hiring expert witnesses. If you have very little money to pay hourly fees, it may be appropriate to negotiate a contingency fee with your lawyer. But before agreeing to a contingent fee, consider that:
• The size of a contingency fee, usually a percentage of any money you receive to resolve the case, is always negotiable. Sometimes you can negotiate a sliding scale fee (for example, 30 percent of any recovery up to $10,000; 20 percent of any recovery up to $50,000, etc.). Remember that there’s no particular percentage of a consumer’s recovery that constitutes a “standard” or “official” fee.
• The size of the contingency fee should reflect the amount of work that will be required by the attorney. Some cases are straightforward; others can be novel or uncertain. You may want to ask whether the case is likely to settle quickly and whether government agencies will gather significant amounts of evidence. A fee arrangement sometimes can be negotiated with a lower percentage for a quick settlement and a higher percentage if it goes to trial. Be sure you know exactly what is covered in your agreement. Your state also may have rules about maximum contingency fees; check with your state’s bar association.
Flat fee
You pay the lawyer a set dollar amount for a particular service, like writing a will. If the matter is simple and straightforward, say, an uncontested divorce or a simple bankruptcy filing, many lawyers often charge a flat fee. Be sure to find out exactly what the flat fee includes.
Hourly rates
The lawyer charges a set fee per hour. Your final cost will depend on how long it takes to complete your work. Hourly rates vary according to a lawyer’s expertise and experience. An experienced lawyer may charge a higher hourly rate but may complete the work more quickly. Because the hours worked on your case can add up quickly, you should ask for a written estimate of the number of hours necessary to complete your case to get an idea of what your final bill might amount to.
Retainer
Your lawyer may ask you to pay a fee up front. A lawyer can use this fee often called a retainer as a down payment on expenses and fees. It is important to review your account from time to time to understand how your money is being spent.

Public Legal Services
Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for free or low cost legal services through special organizations. For example, you may be eligible for free representation in landlord-tenant or divorce cases. Look in your local telephone directory for legal services organizations or legal clinics associated with accredited law schools.
Pre-paid legal plan
Some organizations offer pre-paid legal plans that work like an insurance policy. In exchange for a monthly fee, you receive certain legal services as you need them. However, the fees charged and the services covered vary with each state’s law and the particular plan. Check out any plan carefully to be sure you know what’s covered and whether it makes sense for your situation.
Before You Hire Child Custody Lawyers
1. Consider Your Financial Resources: When deciding whether to hire a child custody lawyer, the most important consideration is the availability of financial resources. The retainer for a child custody lawyer can be quite expensive, depending on a number of factors including how many hours it may take to resolve the case, as well as the state in which you live. When considering whether to hire child custody lawyers, ask about the anticipated costs upfront. If you reach the conclusion that you are unable to afford a private attorney, remember that you still have options. You may be entitled to free legal aid or low-cost representation through the family court. In some jurisdictions, the court may base your entitlement to free representation on your current income.
2. Weigh the Complexity of Your Case: Typically, parents are advised to hire child custody lawyers when facing a difficult or complex child custody issue. For example, interstate child custody cases are usually considered complex. If you are facing a difficult custody case and you feel unsure about representing yourself, you should consider hiring a child custody lawyer who specializes in complex legal issues and has experience in family court. If you decide to represent yourself during your child custody hearing, being well prepared will give you the best chance of winning child custody. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by reading up on the child custody laws in your state.
3. Consider the Attorney’s Reputation: Many parents decide to hire a child custody lawyer based on the attorney’s reputation for winning child custody cases. Look to hire a child custody attorney with experience handling similar cases. And don’t be shy about asking for references! This is likely the most important case you’ll ever face in your life, and you have every right to investigate the attorney’s reputation before signing on the bottom line. If you are eligible for low-cost or free representation, be extra picky about the attorney’s reputation for winning child custody, especially contested cases that require representation in court. Be sure to ask any prospective child custody lawyer about his or her strategy for winning child custody cases, too.

Family Lawyer

When you need a family lawyer, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Pre-Nuptial Agreement

Pre-Nuptial Agreement Lawyer

A prenuptial can be a great tool for couple to use if they are thinking of getting married. A prenuptial agreement can help you establish the financial rights of you and your spouse in unfortunate event of a divorce including protecting a family business, or securing your personal assets. However, prenuptial have to be done right in order to be valid in your state.

Reasons Why A Prenuptial Agreement Might Be Invalid
• No Written Agreement: Premarital agreements must be in writing to be enforceable.
• Not Properly Executed: Both parties must sign a premarital agreement before the wedding in order for the agreement to be considered valid.
• You Were Pressured: A premarital agreement may not be valid if one of the spouses was pressured by the other (or by his or her lawyer or family) to sign the agreement.
• You Didn’t Read It: If your spouse-to-be puts a bunch of papers in front of you, including a premarital agreement, and asks you to sign them quickly, the premarital agreement may not be enforceable if you sign it without reading it.
• No Time for Consideration: A prospective spouse entering into a premarital agreement must be given time to review it and think it over before signing it. If the groom hands the contract and a pen to the bride just before she says, “I do,” the agreement is probably invalid.
• Invalid Provisions: Although a premarital agreement can cover just about any financial aspect of the parties’ relationship, it cannot in any way modify the child support obligations that either spouse would have if the marriage should end in divorce. Any other provisions of the agreement that violate the law would also be invalid. It is possible, however, that the court would strike the illegal clauses and enforce the remainder of the agreement.
• False Information: A premarital agreement is valid only if it is entered into after full disclosure by both parties — as to their income, assets, and liabilities. If one prospective spouse provides the other with information that is not true, the agreement is invalid.
• Incomplete Information: Failing to provide pertinent information is as bad as providing false information, and it renders a premarital agreement unenforceable.
• No Independent Counsel: Because their separate interests are at stake, both parties to a premarital contract should (and in some states must) be represented by their own attorneys, or the agreement will not be enforced.

• Unconscionability: It’s true that you can agree to give up your right to inherit from your spouse, which you would otherwise be entitled to do upon your spouse’s death, even if he or she left you out of a will. You can sign away your right to spousal support if you should end up in divorce court, even if your spouse makes ten times as much money as you do. You can even agree that your spouse gets all of the property and you get all of the bills, if that is what you want to do. But if the agreement is so grossly unfair that one party would face severe financial hardship while the other prospered, the court is unlikely to enforce it. Basically, “unconscionable” contracts are generally found invalid, and premarital agreements are no exception.
Utah is an equitable distribution state. This means that in the absence of a premarital agreement, all property acquired during marriage (with certain limited exceptions) is marital property and would be subject to an equitable distribution upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement can override that presumption if it is stated in the agreement. Prenuptial agreements can also make agreements regarding potential spousal maintenance, division of assets, and division of debt. It is important to contact a lawyer who understands the complexity of these agreements, and who is familiar with the requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement in order to ensure any agreement reached is appropriate and legally valid. It is also important that each party either be represented by counsel, or be given the opportunity to consult with counsel. At times it becomes necessary or appropriate to define or negotiate agreements regarding property rights during marriage. Postnuptial agreements may be helpful if, for instance, one party to the marriage is starting a new business with several partners and the partners need clarification on the ownership rights. Both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements, if they have been done properly, make the eventual process of the dissolution go much more smoothly as many of the issues have already been defined.

The Pros and Cons of Prenuptial Agreements
Pros
• A prenuptial marriage agreement does not indicate that a couple is anticipating a divorce.
• Financial matters that need to be faced are examined.
• Prenuptial agreements can preserve family ties and inheritance.
• If your future spouse won’t sign a prenuptial marriage agreement, it may be best to discover this before the wedding.
• The financial well-being of children from a previous marriage can be protected.
• Personal and business assets accumulated before your marriages are protected.
• A prenup puts financial expectations out on the table before your wedding.
• A prenuptial marriage agreement spells out which assets a spouse may want to give to children or other family members in the event of death.
• In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement eliminates battles over assets and finances.
Cons
• Some people look at creating a prenup as “planning the divorce” before “planning the wedding.”
• They are unromantic and can cause serious friction in the relationship.
• Prenups can give the appearance that there is a lack of trust between the partners.
• A prenuptial agreement could create resentment between spouses.
• A prenuptial marriage agreement makes it seem like there is a lack of a lifetime commitment to one another.
• Prenuptial marriage agreements can be set aside for failure to disclose all assets, or if there is evidence of fraud, duress, unfairness, or lack of representation at the time of signing the agreement.
The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement
We live in a culture where marriages are not always “till death do us part.” Although most engaged couples imagine that their marriage will be a lifetime of shared bliss and cooperation with finances, the truth is that approximately 20 percent of marriages end within five years and more than 30 percent end within 10 years. This is why it is important to consider all possibilities for the future before you get married You need to protect the assets you held prior to entering the marriage and assert your right to certain assets you and your spouse procure during the marriage. If you have a child from a previous relationship, it is also critical that you protect his or her right to your assets through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a lot like a homeowner’s insurance policy – although you hope you never have to use it, it can be a lifesaver if you do.
What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Do?
In short, a prenuptial agreement sets rules for the court to follow regarding each party’s interests in the couple’s marital assets in the event of a divorce or one partner’s death. Without a prenuptial agreement in place, the court divides a divorcing couple’s assets according to the principle of equitable distribution, which states that each partner may receive a share of the marital property in accordance with his or her contributions to the marriage and his or her financial and personal needs following the divorce. By setting these rules, a prenuptial agreement can do the following:
• Ensure that an individual’s children from previous relationships receive their share of his or her assets after his or her death;
• Provide for a former spouse after one’s death;
• Limit a business owner’s partner’s access to his or her business-related assets following a divorce;
• Determine which partner may take ownership of specific pieces of shared property after a divorce; and
• Keep specific heirlooms and other pieces of property within a family.

What May be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Issues related to finances and shared property may be included in a prenuptial agreement. In addition to the benefits listed above, a prenuptial agreement can also state how a couple may spend their money after marrying. This can include a clause stating whether one partner may be required to pay for the other’s education expenses or whether the couple will open shared bank accounts. Some issues cannot be predicted ahead of time and, thus, cannot be included in a legally-binding prenuptial agreement. For example, any requirements related to the couple’s future children, such as how many children to have and their custody agreement in the event of a divorce, may not be part of a couple’s prenuptial agreement. Although it is not permissible in many states, you can waive your right to seek spousal support following a divorce.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Include
It is important to know the limits of a prenuptial agreement because a section that crosses those limits may invalidate the entire agreement. First, you should remember that a prenuptial agreement is essentially a financial arrangement. It shouldn’t extend to your relations with other family members, your decisions about whether and when to have children, or who is expected to do certain errands. Also, no prenuptial agreement can give either member of the couple an incentive for divorce. This means that you should think twice before making a specific arrangement on how to divide property after divorce that appears to clearly favor one spouse over the other. Prenuptial agreements cannot place restrictions on child support, child custody, or any other rights regarding children of a marriage that ends in divorce. Some states go further and prevent these arrangements from including waivers of alimony, or spousal support. Not every state has this rule, so you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in your state if you are considering this option.
Pre-Marital and Post-Marital Agreements
Couples planning to get married may consider making a prenuptial agreement. This document, which is also called a premarital agreement, outlines the property owned by each of the future spouses and the property rights available for each spouse if the marriage ends. Sometimes couples will make this type of agreement after getting married, when it is called a postnuptial agreement. Many couples appreciate the financial clarity that this arrangement can provide, as a valid prenuptial agreement can reduce conflict when a marriage ends in divorce or death. If you choose not to make a prenuptial agreement, your property will be divided according to the laws of your state, which may not produce an outcome that satisfies you. Making a decision about what to do with your property beforehand allows you to avoid uncertainty and the possibility of disappointment. As a preliminary matter, it is often good to talk with your spouse and write down some of your thoughts about certain assets you own and what you would want to happen to them should your relationship dissolve. In some cases, you and your spouse may be able to write the first draft of a prenuptial agreement before consulting a lawyer. Once you have settled on an arrangement with your spouse and drafted an agreement, you should still consult with a lawyer to check that it is valid and give you any relevant advice. When deciding to prepare a prenuptial agreement, many couples may decide to retain individual counsel to ensure they fully understand what rights they may be surrendering. While hiring two sets of lawyers will increase legal fees, having your own lawyer ensures that your interests are fully protected and not compromised by any potential conflicts of interest. Before a court will enforce a prenuptial agreement, it will seek to determine whether the agreement is written, clear and fair. The court will consider many factors, including whether the parties adequately disclosed their finances, were each represented by legal counsel, and voluntarily entered into the agreement free of coercion. The court will also look at the terms of the agreement to see whether the agreement is fair, and not one-sided or unconscionable.

Who Needs a Prenup?
Contrary to popular opinion, prenups are not just for the rich. While prenups are often used to protect the assets of a wealthy fiancé, couples of more modest means are increasingly turning to them for their own purposes. Here are some reasons that some people want a prenup:
• Pass separate property to children from prior marriages. A marrying couple with children from prior marriages may use a prenup to spell out what will happen to their property when they die, so that they can pass on separate property to their children and still provide for each other, if necessary. Without a prenup, a surviving spouse might have the right to claim a large portion of the other spouse’s property, leaving much less for the kids.
• Clarify financial rights. Couples with or without children, wealthy or not, may simply want to clarify their financial rights and responsibilities during marriage.
• Avoid arguments in case of divorce. Or they may want to avoid potential arguments if they ever divorce, by specifying in advance how their property will be divided, and whether or not either spouse will receive alimony. (A few states won’t allow a spouse to give up the right to alimony, however, and, in most others, a waiver of alimony will be scrutinized heavily and won’t be enforced if the spouse who is giving up alimony didn’t have a lawyer.)
• Get protection from debts. Prenups can also be used to protect spouses from each other’s debts, and they may address a multitude of other issues as well.
If You Don’t Make a Prenup
If you don’t make a prenuptial agreement, your state’s laws determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage, as well as what happens to that property at divorce or death. (Property acquired during your marriage is known as either marital or community property, depending on your state.) State law may even have a say in what happens to some of the property you owned before you were married. Under the law, marriage is considered to be a contract between the marrying couple, and with that contract comes certain automatic property rights for each spouse. For example, in the absence of a prenup stating otherwise, a spouse usually has the right to:
• share ownership of property acquired during marriage, with the expectation that the property will be divided between the spouses in the event of a divorce or at death
• incur debts during marriage that the other spouse may have to pay for, and
• share in the management and control of any marital or community property, sometimes including the right to sell it or give it away.
Making a Valid Prenup
As prenuptial agreements become more common, the law is becoming friendlier toward them. Traditionally, courts scrutinized prenups with a suspicious eye, because they almost always involved a waiver of legal and financial benefits by a less wealthy spouse and they were thought to encourage breakups. As divorce and remarriage have become more prevalent, and with more equality between the sexes, courts and legislatures are increasingly willing to uphold premarital agreements. Today, every state permits them, although a prenup that is judged unfair or otherwise fails to meet state requirements will still be set aside. However, because courts still look carefully at prenups, it is important that you negotiate and write up your agreement in a way that is clear, understandable, and legally sound. If you draft your own agreement, which we recommend, you’ll want to have separate lawyers review it and at least briefly advise you about it otherwise a court is much more likely to question its validity.
How to File a Prenuptial Agreement
• Prenuptial agreements were once thought to only be used by wealthy individuals. With divorce rates at an all-time high and relationships often consisting of two working individuals, all that has changed. Prenuptial agreements are now seen as a practicality and are therefore more commonplace. Creating an agreement can save both parties from undue stress, complications and lengthy court battles if a divorce comes at some point in the future. No one likes to think of divorce before the white dress has even been fitted, but considering all future possibilities is a smart move for everyone.
• Talk to your spouse-to-be and make sure you both agree on signing a prenuptial agreement. Be open and honest about your concerns, intentions and feelings regarding the agreement. Prepare a list of the things each of you would like to see in the document before consulting with a lawyer. It will save you time and money to have some sense of agreement before going to a legal office.
• Obtain legal counsel for each of you. To best protect your individual interests, you should each have your own attorney. Take your written ideas with you to the consultation. The lawyers may have suggestions for alterations based on their experiences, but having ideas on paper will speed up the process and make it easier to draft an agreement both of you will approve of. Highly complicated agreements could take several drafts, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time before the wedding to get this completed.
• Take the final document to a notary public. In order to stand up in court, the document must be signed, witnessed and notarized by a licensed authority. You should obtain at least two copies of the agreement, one for each of you. Some people prefer to have three or four copies to give to neutral parties for safekeeping.
• Do not file the document with the courts. It does not require court authorization to be valid and only needs to be filed within the court system if divorce proceedings occur. Instead, file the finalized and notarized draft in a safe place of your choice. Many lawyers suggest a fireproof safe as the best option and filing copies in two or more different locations.
• Check with your state laws to see if it requires prenuptial agreements to be updated. Since individual finances can change drastically from year to year, some states require agreements be updated or they will not stand up in court. If necessary, re-file as directed by your lawyer.
Requirements for A Valid Prenuptial Agreement
You don’t have to visit an attorney to draft a Prenup Contract, but Prenuptial Agreements must be in writing to be legally valid. It is in your best interest to use a Prenuptial Agreements form that has been reviewed by an attorney rather than creating one completely from scratch. Many individuals utilize online Prenuptial Agreements legal forms as the basis for drafting their agreements.
Additional requirements for valid Prenuptial Agreements include:
• Both parties must voluntarily execute the agreement.
• Both parties must engage in full disclosure of their respective situations at the time the document is executed.
• Both parties must sign the document in the presence of a notary public.
• Both parties must be represented by independent licensed attorneys and both of their attorneys must sign it as well.
The agreement cannot be unreasonably unfair to one of the parties. If you are planning to get married and are considering a do it yourself prenup, it is a good idea to look at sample Prenuptial Agreements forms to get ideas about the types of information typically included in these legal documents.

Pre-Nuptial Agreement Lawyer

When you need a prenup in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Aggressive Family Lawyer

Aggressive Family Lawyer

The absence of an attorney with trial/litigation experience could be detrimental if the opposing spouse has hired an attorney who is experienced in litigation. An experienced trial attorney would be necessary to avoid a potential injustice. The important fact is that you do not confuse aggressive for self-directed. An aggressive attorney may be aggressive for all the wrong reasons. You want a powerful advocate; just make sure the attorney is advocating for positions that are greater than your own. Divorce cases are fraught with financial confusion and lack of direction.
Tips for Dealing with Difficult Opposing Counsel

Point out Common Ground
Nothing takes someone off guard faster than telling them you agree with them. And nothing will confound the difficult opposing counsel like telling them there is no fight when they are geared up for one. Of course, this isn’t to say you should just give in, but emphasizing points of agreement that exist is a great way to disarm an opponent. Pointing out common ground in front of a judge will make you look more reasonable than the attorney that is trying to “win” every point. By taking areas of common ground off the battlefield, you will also be able to increase efficiency in litigation, which makes clients happy.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Why
Just because someone is making demands and giving ultimatums doesn’t mean you have to answer them without question. Instead try answering them with a question: “Why is this so important to you?” There is only one way to satisfy a position, but there may be many ways to satisfy the underlying interest – some of which may provide mutual gain!
Separate the Person from the Problem
It’s easy to get sucked into an adversarial relationship when the system is by its nature adversarial and opposing counsel is approaching you as a competitor. Remember, opposing counsel isn’t the problem; it’s the tactics they are employing that are problematic. Try to frame interactions without blame or judgment of the person, but highlight the actions instead. This will decrease the likelihood of enflaming them further, and will lead to more peaceful interactions.

Focus on your Interests
Another way to say this is “keep your eyes on the prize.” Focus on what you are trying to get out of each interaction and not on winning each presented battle. If counsel is trying to control the briefing schedule, let them, as long as it’s not impacting your interests (expediency, ability to respond, etc.). They expect a battle, but don’t get caught up in the small stuff.
Don’t Fall for your Assumptions
It’s so easy to think we know what is motivating our adversaries. Every action and statement from the other side has a purpose and because of past experiences it’s easy to jump to conclusions as to what opposing counsel and his client are up to. That motion that was filed at the last minute? He just wants you to be unprepared. That continuance they asked for? They’re just delaying matters to be a thorn in your side! Sometimes your assumptions are correct. This helps you to maximize the efficiency in which you are assimilating information. Many times they are not incorrect. Perhaps the motion was filed at the last minute because of new information. Maybe that continuance was asked for to build in some more time to explore settlement options. Believing incorrect assumptions just escalates conflict. Recognize when your reaction is to factual information and when it is based off of assumptions. This will help you act in a more calculated and reasonable manner.

Take a Calculated Approach
Just because we have an adversarial system does not mean that every situation requires a competitive approach. Competitive approaches are great when you don’t have to have an ongoing relationship with the person. If it is someone you will be facing in the future, because litigation will likely drag on or because your legal community is small, try to take the ongoing relationship into consideration. Know when to avoid or even accommodate and know when compromising or collaborating might be a better approach. Compromising is a great strategy for making quick decisions and improving the ongoing relationship. Collaborating opens options for win-win resolutions by allowing both sides to be heard and engage in dialogue (sometimes with the help of a mediator or other neutral). When you respond instead of react, you have the upper hand, regardless of your approach.
Control the Conversation by Reframing
The difficult attorney likes to make demands and inflammatory statements. He likes to be in control of the conversation. You can flip the script by using a reframe. Change complaints to requests. Instead of focusing on what they are dissatisfied with, focus the conversation on what it is they would like to have happen. Restate positions as interests. They may be demanding one thing, but what are they really looking for? Have a conversation about how to satisfy both sides’ interests. Define individual goals as joint ones. You will automatically change a competitive situation into a collaborative one. Change the focus from the past to the future. Next time opposing counsel says, “I’ll expect an answer by the end of the day of the day.” You can say, “I am glad that we both want to have this matter settled quickly.” Then negotiate a timeline that works for both of you.
Pick up the Phone
It’s so easy to mis-communicate via electronic communication. Sometimes that difficult attorney is more difficult with keyboard courage and the angry voice you use when you read their e-mails. Perhaps word choice or shortness in response to you is increasing your conflict. Picking up the phone is faster because you can engage in a dialogue, allowing you to respond and ask questions immediately. Hearing each other’s voices allows you to better determine when someone is making an offer and when someone is making an ultimatum, being difficult or simply trying to resolve an issue, and ultimately gives you more information about what tactics you should take to respond.
Tips for Finding the Best Family Lawyer
Unfortunately, the current divorce rate in the U.S. is about 40 percent. If you are going through this difficult situation, you’ll need to surround yourself with people who care about you. Moreover, you need to hire the best divorce attorney to ensure you get a good deal. Marriages end in divorce due to several reasons. These include infidelity, money, lack of communication, and fighting. Others are a lack of intimacy, unrealistic expectations, and even abuse. Worse still, some of these couples have children caught up in this situation. Since such cases don’t always end well, you must find the best divorce attorney to represent yours and your children’s interests.

Here are some tips to help you find the best divorce attorney:
• Ask Your Friends and Family: Ask your friends and family if they know a professional divorce attorney. Make sure to find an attorney who specializes in divorce cases and family law.
• Understand What You Want to Get from the Divorce: As tough as the divorce may be, you must still ensure you get what you want from it. For example, you can push for sole parental rights. Your attorney can use a child support calculator to get you the right amount from your former spouse.
• Consult the Local Bar Association: The local bar association has a list of the top attorneys in your area. Consult with them and get a list of names. Do some research on the attorneys you find, and see if any of them offer free consultations.
• Search Online: Thanks to the internet, you can get all the information you need about legal experts in your area. There’ll be reviews posted online about each of those attorneys as well. Reading these reviews helps you choose the right attorney.
• Consider Your Budget: Legal fees can go very high if you are dealing with one of the best legal firms. As such, consider your budget first. Then, look for attorneys who are within your price range.
• Use the Yellow Pages: Get the Yellow Pages and search the listings for divorce attorneys. You can either go old school with the physical yellow pages or look at an online directory.
• Try the Classifieds: Pick up a magazine or go online to check the services section in the classifieds. You might get some luck and find a listing for a divorce attorney.
• Visit Local Law Firms: Research law firms in your area and pay them a visit. Many firms offer free initial consultations. During your consultation, get more information on the kinds of cases they have experience working with.
• Get Referrals from Your Insurance Firm: Insurance agencies know many lawyers from different fields. Call your insurance agent and ask for a referral.
• Use the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: This law directory contains names and profile data of lawyers in the country. Use it to find experienced divorce attorneys. Talk to these attorneys and pick the one you like.
Aggressive does not mean smart, prepared or effective
The “aggressive attorney” often makes few friends in the courthouse. The effective attorney compromises on procedural issues because he or she knows that the case isn’t won or lost in deposition, procedural hearings and/or with tricks. Cases on won based on the facts, the arguments and the attorney’s behind the scenes preparation for trial. Those silly arguments, ranting phone calls, scathing letters and clownish antics all cost you between $300 and $500 an hour and gain you nothing but more billable hours for nothing but a silly side show. You may be certain in your own mind that settlement is impossible. Yet, statistics show otherwise; upwards of 90 percent of cases settle before trial. Settling a case is far cheaper than going to trial. Most attorneys charge a higher rate for trial hours, not to mention the extra costs for preparation, additional hearings, and potential post-trial motions. Since an aggressive attorney will be less likely to compromise, you will have a harder time settling and that will cost you serious dollars. You may be counting on an order that your spouse will ultimately pay your attorneys’ fees, but typically, each party pays his own lawyer.
Aggressive attorneys are often not realistic
Good attorneys do not become emotionally invested in their clients’ cases. Don’t get me wrong, all attorneys are competitive and they all want to win. Good attorneys know what the opposition will say before they say it and are prepared to address what they have already prepared for. You need your divorce attorney to explain the factors the court will consider in determining such things as child support, spousal support, visitation, and property division. In a typical case, one party will not get all the property, all the time with the children, or unending spousal support. An aggressive attorney may not give you a reasonable assessment of the likely outcome, leaving you unprepared for the final settlement or decree. Think of it this way: An “aggressive divorce attorney” can be like the real estate broker who tells you that your house is worth $5 million so you will sign the listing, then, once you are under contract, spends the next six months explaining to you why you need to accept $2 million. The “aggressive attorney” makes it more difficult to work with your ex-spouse down the road. Divorces are not like other kinds of litigation. In most litigation, the parties are not emotionally involved, they likely never have to see one another, or work with one another, again. In divorce cases, especially with children, you still have to work with your ex regarding shared custody, debts, property, shared expenses for the children and countless other issues for many years after the final paperwork is signed. The aggressive divorce attorney will encourage you to push for more than you will realistically obtain rather than compromise and it make it more difficult to work together in the future.
What kind of aggressive attorney should you be looking for?
In order to win your case without bankrupting you, the kind of aggression you are looking for is not the T.V. kind. Effective lawyers are aggressive in the sense that they know what can be achieved, what the likely outcome will be based on all the facts and will not hesitate to go before a judge to obtain for you what you are entitled to. But, the effective aggressive lawyer doesn’t rant at opposing counsel like some lunatic, argue to the judge points that have already been decided or write hundreds of scathing letters to opposing counsel that have no purpose other than to impress you with how aggressive they are and generate fees for the attorney. When the effective aggressive attorney hears a demand from the opposition that is not believed to be in your best interest, he or she simply says, “I’m sorry, but that isn’t acceptable, let’s ask the judge to rule on it.” The effective aggressive lawyer writes one letter for every 10 letters written by the lunatic aggressive lawyer but those fewer letters each of a purpose and are as short as possible. The reality is that every decent lawyer already knows what the likely outcome of your case is not just on your side, but on the other side as well. The effective attorney is aggressive in that he or she pushes forward on your case, prepares thoroughly for court and does all of that with as little show as necessary. Just remember, when the opposing attorney makes a demand on your lawyer, it is as effective for your lawyer to simply say “no, thank you, I believe we are entitled to the following . . . . and if you don’t agree, let’s set the earliest possible court date to let the judge decide.” Not only is this just as effective, it costs you far less than a 10 minute tantrum and five scathing letters. Aggressive lawyers are often the least comfortable and/or least effective in court, which may be the very reason they spend all of your money attempting to intimidate rather than prepare for and appear in court. In other words, the effective aggressive lawyer is as comfortable in the courtroom as in his or her own office, but would rather accept a fair settlement than simply run your fee bill up. Put another way, the effective aggressive lawyer is interested in the best possible outcome for you at the most reasonable cost.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit for Divorce Quickly
When a lawsuit is filed, the date of filing provides protection. If you are seeking alimony and/or child support, the earliest date the Court can order alimony and child support is from the date of the filing of your suit for divorce. Filing the suit also requires the opposing party to be served with the divorce papers. Service may be obtained in a number of ways. The best and quickest is through a private process server. If your spouse has moved and you are unaware of his/her new address, it may take time to locate your spouse and accomplish the service of process. Again, the date of filing the lawsuit establishes when benefits can begin and not the date of service of process. However, once suit is filed and service of process occurs, the parties may often, through negotiation, work out a settlement and save time, effort, and money. If your spouse files a divorce suit against you after you have filed a lawsuit against him/her, but your spouse obtains service of process against you first, then you will most likely have to have the case heard in the less convenient courthouse in cases where you and your spouse live in different jurisdictions. Another reason clients express for hesitating has often been that “filing a lawsuit will cause my spouse to become angry, upset, hostile and aggressive” and “that this will just make matters worse”. Actually, filing a lawsuit for divorce despite the negative thoughts and feelings of the defending spouse will often result in a quicker resolution. There are many reasons for bringing the parties to resolution and those reasons often include:
I. Your spouse will take you seriously;
II. Under the court’s management system, deadlines are set requiring each side to perform by certain dates and this avoids delays.
III. Courts may order mediation so that regardless of anger issues, the court-ordered mediator assists the parties to efficiently work out a settlement.
IV. More often the costs of extended litigation are minimized.

Aggressive Family Attorney In Utah

When you need an aggressive family attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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