Divorce Lawyer Provo Utah
Seek the assistance of an experienced Provo Utah divorce lawyer if you have decided to divorce your spouse. Once you decide to divorce your spouse, “be prepared for a fight”. You shouldn’t be surprised if your spouse becomes angry about the divorce because dissolving a marriage can bring out the worst in people. Some pre-divorce financial planning can ensure that your interests, and those of your children, are well-protected. For starters, get copies of the statements of all of your joint financial obligations, including those accounts with brokerage houses, credit card companies and other debtors. Also, secure insurance policies, bank and loan statements, pension plan documents, mortgage payments, recent tax returns and estate planning information.
Depending on how you believe your spouse will react, it may be best to keep your plans for divorce under wraps until you have all of the information you need to support your case. If you fear your spouse will try to take money from your accounts or hide important papers, you can ask a judge to intervene on your behalf. On the other hand, you don’t want to be antagonistic either. A divorce fight means that “both of you will be living your lives by your lawyers’ rules and that’s not a good thing.
When you’re compiling information, take inventory. Early on, you’ll need to determine what things you want to take with you when you leave the marriage, unless it’s already been predetermined in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The two basic legal terms for dividing property are equitable distribution and community property. Under equitable distribution, assets, earnings and debts are divided “fairly”–although this doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split. Two-thirds of the assets are often given to the spouse with the higher earnings and the remaining one-third to the other spouse
“Courts always give the children to mothers” is a belief expressed by many fathers. At one time, courts did show a preference for maternal custody. However, most, if not all, states including Utah now have gender-neutral custody laws in which mothers and fathers are equal before the law. The criterion now used by courts is “the best interest of the child” and custody is determined on a case-by-case basis.
The primary caretaker criterion explains why mothers are still more likely to be granted custody than are fathers. Despite the prevalence of two working parents in the home, studies are continuing to find that mothers assume most of these parenting responsibilities, and fathers usually play a secondary role.
Although primary caretaking was the most common factor stated in judicial custody decisions in the nineties, it is certainly not the only criterion courts use. The broader criterion, the best interest of the child, considers what a particular child needs at this time, given the totality of the current circumstances. The primary caretaker is usually only one consideration, albeit a very important one. Other considerations are likely to include a child’s individual needs, attachments, and emotional ties; parents’ emotional stability, parenting competence, and life style; parents’ willingness to share the child; parents’ ability to provide continuity with school and community; domestic violence and abuse issues; and substance abuse issues. In Utah the courts tend to consider the best interest of the child when deciding a custody application.
The special context of divorce raises other interesting questions. Decisions to be made in the best interests of children are highly subjective in such situations and require complex reasoning skills to conceptualize, let alone resolve. In some custody cases, you may need the services of an expert mental health professional to provide expert testimony. Speak to your Provo Utah divorce lawyer to know more.
The mental health professional as a skilled investigator or evaluator is especially valuable to the courts when abuse or neglect has been charged. Mental health professionals can also assist the court by pointing out what is known or not known about psychological factors in the effects of various custody arrangements. Before beginning evaluation of a child custody matter, it is critical that all parties involved understand the ground rules with respect to privacy and confidentiality.
A competent mental health professional will recognize the potential ethical problem of the parent who arrives for evaluation and during the sessions says, “Don’t tell my spouse, but . . .,” then proceeds to disclose some significant material point on which a decision might turn. In anticipation of such problems, some clinicians ask all parties to sign reciprocating waivers prior to the start of the evaluation. The waivers specify from the outset that both parents and their attorneys will have access to any information disclosed to the evaluator. A matter of great importance and great controversy for clinicians who function as evaluators in child custody disputes is whether they should address or testify to “the ultimate legal issue” in their work. That is to say, should the evaluator make an actual custody recommendation to the court or simply provide a listing of facts and opinions for the judge to consider? Child custody cases rarely involve questions of actual “parental fitness” in the sense that one or the other is grossly unfit to care for the child. Rather, the more usual issue is that of which parenting arrangement will serve the best interests of the developing child. In such instances, the term best interests is a moral or legal concept, as defined by state law, not a psychological concept. There is general agreement that mental health professionals in this role should conduct thorough and wide-ranging evaluations, point out strengths and weaknesses to the court, and help the court understand what is known or not known in the existing research or clinical literature.
Evaluation in such cases can become quite complex. Cases may involve a request for consultative input by parents in an amicable divorce, state intervention in cases of abuse or neglect, termination of parents’ rights, contested adoptions, or charges and counter charges regarding alleged sexual abuse. It is critical that the clinician who agrees to take on the evaluation of such a case be knowledgeable regarding both legal and clinical aspects of these types of cases. In addition, it is important to be mindful of the appropriate role boundaries. In particular, one should take care not to slip from the role of evaluator to that of intervenor (i.e., therapist). What factors ought to be considered in making child custody decisions? Are race, religion, or parents’ sexual conduct valid factors to consider in making a custody decision? The fact is that such decisions vary widely both regionally and according to local preference. In some cases, psychological factors have been cited as bases for such decisions, and mental health professionals are likely to be called as expert witnesses in future cases on similar issues. In general, however, religion and parents’ sexual preferences have not been deemed proper bases for making such decisions.
Utah has mandatory mediations requirements. Parties to a divorce proceeding in Utah must pay for and attend a mediation conducted by a court appointed mediator. Mediation is rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative to adversarial contests in divorce and child custody disputes. Divorce mediation was essentially the starting point for the mediation movement in the early 1970s. Divorce mediation confronts one of the most difficult conflicts that exist on earth, the breakdown and ending of the intimate, complex marriage relationship. Mediation is not really new. It is as old as the new testament and perhaps older. The Greek word for mediate means to stand between. People have always known that standing between two people in conflict can be helpful. What is new is that mediation has been rediscovered as a replacement for many of the present methods of addressing adversarial conflict. The mediation method encourages cooperating with and helping your adversary.
This new way of thinking is gaining a foothold, not only in conflict resolution theory, but also in business. Traditional beliefs about how divorce should occur are also rapidly changing, giving rise to the increased use of divorce and family mediation. Fault (i.e., who caused the marital breakdown) is no longer a factor to consider in most states. In almost all states, there is an increase in the number of couples experimenting with equal time sharing of the children. The traditional divorce, which awarded custody to mothers and made dads visitors to their own children, is no longer the status quo. Instead, couples are sharing their parenting responsibilities equally after the divorce and competition for physical and legal custody has become less important. How each parent can get assistance and support from the other parent is more important than who will have custody. Because both parents usually work full time to survive financially, they realize that they need to cooperate to cover all the emotional, physical, and financial needs of their children.
Consult with an experienced Provo Utah divorce lawyer to know how you can get visitation rights.
Never assume that because you are the non-custodial parent, the court will automatically grant you full custody rights. Even when there is joint physical custody, visitation is an important issue. The key to a continued parental relationship and to a separation that is less stressful for the children is advance planning. Emergency restraining or protective orders often deal with visitation in a general way, and what seems temporary often has a way of becoming permanent under law. Judges do not like to force children through too many changes in residence or lifestyle.
Shared parenting or joint custody would be the most equitable solution for divorcing couples. Both parents should contribute to the emotional and financial welfare of the child. The court will generally adhere to any agreement the two parties reach, provided it won’t harm the child. Aside from custody and visitation issues, your arrangement should also stipulate which parent can claim the children as tax deductions. Once child custody issues are resolved, start planning for a brighter future.
When you are fighting a divorce case, you need an expert to assist you with your legal battle. Don’t hire the first divorce lawyer you come across. Hire the best. Hire an experienced Provo Utah divorce lawyer. Diligence is an obligation of lawyers demanded by the general law. Divorce lawyers must both be skilful and must exercise the skill they have. The law reports contain many examples of lawyers being liable to clients for lack of competence, and there are also cases where they have been held to be liable to third parties where a client’s instructions have been negligently effected. Indeed, lack of competence might be raised collaterally as in the very exceptional cases where a conviction will be quashed because of the failure of the lawyer adequately to advise or act.
Lawyers may be liable for wrongful advice, albeit that the questions are obscure and difficult. Clients must be advised of the legal consequences of any step which they propose to take, about the alternative remedies available, and that any particular step ought to be taken without delay. As with others providing services, lawyers must act with reasonable competence and skill. Diligence also arises in the general law in other ways. Lawyers must not misrepresent their competence. When handling moneys they must account and not make improper investments. Lawyers must not stray beyond the task their client has authorised; if a lawyer acts without authority he or she may not only be liable to the client but to third parties for breach of warranty of authority.
It goes without saying that an experienced Provo Utah divorce lawyer has a sound knowledge of the law.
An experienced Provo Utah divorce lawyer has a superior learning and knowledge of legal processes which clients cannot hope to acquire (without a substantial investment), even if they had the inclination. Lawyer control has an additional, functional justification, in suppressing antisocial behavior. To use a sociological term, lawyers are gate-keepers. They advise clients about how to behave lawfully, they screen out unjustified claims, they encourage the settlement of disputes, and they damp down abuses of the legal process.
Provo Utah Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need legal help with a divorce in Provo Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We can help you with legal separation. Divorce. Contested Divorce. Divorce Mediation.
Modifications of Divorce Decrees. Motions To Set Aside Divorce Decrees. Child Custody Evaluations. DCFS Issues. Child Custody. Child Support.
Alimony. Prenups. Post nuptial agreements. And Much More. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506