Farmington Utah Divorce Attorney
When the Utah Territorial Legislature created Davis County in 1852, it placed the county seat at North Cottonwood and renamed it Farmington. The small Mormon farming community gradually adopted its new name and helped build Utah’s first courthouse in 1854-55, a two-story adobe building that for its first dozen years served both government and religious purposes. Centrally located between Salt Lake City and Ogden, and thus at Davis County’s midpoint, Farmington remained an agricultural town for its first half century, and then joined in the effort to develop a commercial base. Eventually, Farmington settled in as a residential community tied economically to the metropolitan areas to the north and south. Known for a time as the City of Roses, Farmington battled flash floods in the 1920s and 1930s and again in 1984, and now prides itself as a city using rocks as a distinguishing architectural element in its major buildings.
Two pioneer landmarks built of fieldstone in the 1860s–the Latter-day Saints’ meetinghouse and Franklin D. Richards’s grist mill–and a dozen pioneer rock homes helped establish that image. Farmington began when Mormon herder Hector C. Haight wintered cattle in its grassy lowlands in 1847-48. Five other families soon joined him to found a community at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains nears a stream they named North Cottonwood. On the narrow bench lands overlooking the Great Salt Lake, settlers laid out a formal town to serve the area’s four hundred people, built a log school and several mills, and in 1854-55 partially surrounded the town with a mud wall. After the Utah War, settlers spread out along the road to the north and south and created a “string town” differing in shape from most planned Mormon villages. For most of its first century, Farmington lived up to its name as an agricultural community. Its farmers specialized in raising alfalfa, grain, and livestock, including dairy herds. Millers, blacksmiths, and other craftsmen sustained the rural lifestyle. In the early twentieth century, orchardists grew cherries, peaches, apricots, and apples. Sugar beets processed in Layton became a popular cash crop for a time. Latter-day Saint bishops managed most community affairs during the community’s first forty years, including recreation, irrigation systems, roads and bridges, silk production, and cooperative herds, stores, and tanneries. A rock meetinghouse built in 1862-64 is one of Utah’s oldest still in use. In that building in 1878 Aurelia Spencer Rogers organized the first Primary organization for children of the LDS Church. Transportation routes influenced Farmington at several times in its history. In territorial days, several inns became favorite stopping places for local and long-distance travelers. In 1870 the Utah Central Railroad came through Farmington; a century later Interstate 15 closely paralleled the railroad’s route. Even more influential was the Bamberger interurban; shoppers rode the Bamberger south to Salt Lake and students rode it north to Davis High School in Kaysville. When Simon Bamberger developed Lagoon resort at Farmington in 1896, he created what expanded to become Utah’s largest amusement park and the city’s largest source of tax revenue. The private Oakridge Golf Course brought another recreational facility to the community in the late 1950s. Beginning in the 1880s, the LDS Church-managed economy gave way to private businesses and government employment.
Farmers formally incorporated to oversee irrigation. Businessmen launched Davis County Bank, new grocery stores, a drug store, and Miller Floral, famous for its greenhouse roses. Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) established an experimental farm in Farmington. A Victorian brick court house supplanted the original building in 1890, and was expanded and remodeled in 1932 and again in 1958. The county jail, library, fairgrounds, and school district are also established in Farmington. Despite the construction influenced by the county government, Farmington’s downtown business district remained compact. Residents resisted commercial growth there, but in the late 1980s a suburban commercial center blossomed along Highway 89 in the north part of town. It was during the first commercial boom that Farmington was incorporated, on 15 December 1892, with 1,180 residents. City government promoted the construction of better streets, replaced private wells with a culinary water system, encouraged electrification, and eventually installed a city-wide sewer system. With support from civic clubs, Farmington developed a city park in the mid-1950s and added others later. In July 1978 the Farmington Area Pressurized Irrigation District began serving homeowners and the few remaining farmers. By 1990 the city had grown to a population approaching ten thousand, a quadrupling over twenty years, the result of numerous new subdivisions. New residents applauded the small-town, rural atmosphere of Farmington, its tree-lined downtown area–still mostly residential–and its friendly people. By 1992 the city boasted three elementary schools and a junior high. Ten meetinghouses served twenty-five Latter-day Saint congregations, while members of other religious groups traveled to nearby communities for worship. Pinched between the mountains and the lake on a narrow strip of usable land, Farmington faced defined geographical limits to any future growth, perhaps assuring its small-town atmosphere will remain for the foreseeable future.
How Property Is Divided In A Divorce In Farmington, Utah
Property division is an extremely important part of any divorce. It doesn’t matter how much or how little property you and your spouse own, or what sort of assets you may or may not possess one way or another, your resources eventually need to be divided.
Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property States
Equitable distribution is a misleading term which seems to imply a perfectly even, 50-50 division right down the middle. However, that’s not what “equitable” actually means. The point of equitable distribution is that each spouse receives a fair and reasonable portion of property. For example, if one spouse has considerably greater income than the other, a half-and-half property split would technically be equal, but it still wouldn’t be fair. Put simply, equitable distribution tries to put each party on a level playing field. Of course, that doesn’t mean a 50-50 split is impossible just that it isn’t guaranteed. Long-term marriages, for example, can result in an even 50-50 property division. In cases involving short-term marriages, the court will attempt to “put the people back into the economic position they had before the marriage,” meaning that each party gets to keep whatever he or she owned when the marriage first started. Judges consider a variety of factors when deciding what sort of property division would be fair and equitable. For example, the judge will weigh:
• The age and health of each spouse, which impacts earning ability and medical expenses.
• The duration of the marriage.
• What sort of job, if any, each spouse has.
• What sort of income, if any, each spouse earns.
Most states are equitable distribution states. In community property states, all property and assets are divided evenly down the middle with a 50-50 split regardless of outside factors like age, health, or income.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Utah’s laws do not supply a clear-cut definition distinguishing marital property from separate property, which can lead to ambiguity and confusion. However, as a general rule, the court will typically determine that “property owned by the spouses before the marriage or received by gift or inheritance during the marriage is usually not considered to be marital property.” For example, if you alone inherit money from your relatives, and your wife or husband is not included in the inheritance, the inheritance is considered to be your own, separate property. The court cannot award an item of your separate property to your spouse, or vice versa. Spouses are usually allowed to keep items which aren’t deemed marital property, though there are a few exceptions. For example, separate property can later become marital property depending on how it is used.
While somewhat controversial, prenuptial agreements have proven invaluable to countless divorcing couples. Prenuptial agreements, also called “prenups” or premarital agreements, outline how the division of property is to be handled in the event of a future divorce. This includes real property (like land and houses), personal property (like furniture and jewelry), and pension plans and retirement benefits (like 401(k)s and defined contribution plans). In short, prenups act like blueprints. In cases where no premarital agreement exists to guide the division of assets, the court will determine how the assets and possessions should be divided, just as it would for marital property. In fact, even if you do have a prenup, there are certain areas where the court must nonetheless intervene. For example, prenuptial agreements are not allowed to include any stipulations regarding child support, healthcare coverage for children, or the costs of childcare (like daycare, food, and clothing).
Legal Separation In Farmington, Utah
Legal separation, also known as “marital separation,” refers to an agreement that a married couple enters into. It defines how they will manage their affairs and assets while living apart. Although it is not an actual divorce, it is often one of the first steps that a married couple takes when they are deciding whether or not to end their marriage. Similar to a divorce, however, legal separation must be granted by a court order before it can be officially recognized by the state. While a couple may form a contract for legal separation outside of a courtroom, the separation will not be finalized until a judge formally agrees to recognize their agreement. The primary difference between legal separation and a divorce is that legal separation does not terminate the marriage, while divorce does. Also, the parties to a separation are not permitted to remarry because they are still considered to be married in the eyes of the law.
Benefits of Legal Separation
Like most major decisions in life, legal separation comes with many advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, couples may be drawn to the idea of legal separation for a variety of reasons. Some of these benefits include that:
• The couple may hope that they will eventually be able to fix their marital problems, but might feel that they need to spend some time living apart first in order to resolve them;
• The couple could have religious or ethical objections to getting a divorce;
• They might not want to live together during the waiting period that is required in some states (usually, six months), before their divorce can be finalized;
• Being only separated, as opposed to divorced, typically permits one spouse to continue receiving insurance coverage through the other spouse’s provider;
• Separation can provide some tax benefits by stabilizing the couple’s financial situation before their divorce is granted;
• Legal separation may have been recommended during a marriage counseling session as a way for the couple to attempt to solve their issues before making a final decision to get divorced; and
• It may allow one spouse to qualify for social security or various pension benefits of the other spouse before legally divorcing.
Negative Aspects of Legal Separation
• Legal separation can be just as emotionally taxing and legally complex as a divorce, especially if the couple cannot reach a compromise for the terms of their separation agreement;
• While mentioned above as one of the advantages, not all insurance policies will continue to provide coverage to a spouse in the event of a legal separation;
• Despite the fact that a couple may be legally separated and living apart, if the couple has joint financial accounts or has entered into a prior agreement together (e.g., a mortgage), each spouse will still have access to those joint accounts and may be held liable for the couple’s payments or unsettled debts. Depending on the state, this can include one spouse’s credit card debts; and
• In certain states, couples who are legally separated cannot get remarried or enter into a relationship with someone new.
Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce
• Saves Legal Fees: The contested legal process is laborious. Attorney are expensive because they have to spend so much time dealing with the morass of litigation intensive, thoughtful client communications, communications with opposing counsel, court appearances, detailed, laborious written discovery requests and responses, depositions, motions, trial preparation and presentation. A hard fought divorce running the full gambit will consume 100 to 200 hours of each attorney’s time – 200 to 400 collective hours depending on the case. The cost of this comes from the marital estate or from marital debt that will be allocated at the final trial or from family resources that could be invested otherwise.
• Saves Client Time: The client is immersed in this taxing process as well. The client will be communicating with the lawyer, reviewing emails, reviewing documents, participating in discovery answering questions, producing documents attending depositions and hearings and testifying.
• Prevents Frustration and Stress: The legal process is bureaucratic. Dockets are backlogged. Depending on your county, even with your attorney pushing the case, you may not appear on a final trial calendar for a year or longer from the time you file. And the end result may not be what you had hoped. No trial lawyer can guarantee what the judge or jury is ultimately going to do. We can offer predictions only. Going to court and dealing with the process is stressful and unpleasant.
• Prevents Further Damage to Your Relationship: If you have children, your spouse, who you may not like, or may even hate right now, is your life partner as far as co-parenting your children. Putting him or her through litigation and embarrassing him or her at hearings and at trial will only build animosity. Ideally, you and your ex spouse will have an amicable working relationship after the divorce so you can co-parent constructively. An uncontested resolution may help this.
• Potential Benefits to Children: Children do not like to see their parents fighting, whether married or divorced. They can sense stress. They want to see their parents behave kindly toward each other. An uncontested divorce may help put an end to the stress make moves things forward.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?
If you and your spouse are deciding whether to enter into a separation agreement, you should contact a family law attorney. An experienced family law attorney will be able to provide further information about the pros and cons of becoming legally separated, as well as discuss the different laws that apply to legal separations in your state. Additionally, an attorney can help you to evaluate your best options, as well as plan ahead in the event that the separation turns into a divorce. They can also answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding legal separations in general or specific ones, such as how to continue receiving insurance coverage through your spouse. Finally, it is important that both you and your spouse retain separate attorneys to draft and review the separation agreement. This will help to ensure that all of its provisions are fair and that the agreement contains the proper terms that best meet your needs.
When you have a moment, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506 with a Farmington Divorce Lawyer. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506