Lehi Utah Divorce Attorney
Divorce is a difficult and stressful life event that affects people in different ways. Not only must you deal mentally and emotionally with the decision to end your marriage, you still face the challenge of legally dissolving your relationship before you can fully move on.
Legal Separation and Divorce In Lehi, Utah.
In a legal separation, you and your spouse are no longer living with each other, but you are still legally married. A legal separation typically requires you and your spouse to negotiate a Separation Agreement that covers many of the points also brought up during a divorce. These points include:
• Division of common property and assets
• Spousal support payments
• Custody and visitation of minor children
• Child support payments
On the surface, it may seem odd that two people would continue to stay married while living apart. However, there are some valid and understandable reasons for choosing a legal separation over divorce:
• You may believe you can re-establish your marriage after separating for a period of time.
• You and your spouse may get tax savings that make it worthwhile to stay legally married.
• You may be able to continue using each other’s healthcare insurance and other benefits by staying married.
• You may not be legally eligible to file for divorce until a later date, but still want to have a court-recognized separation for in the meantime.
The conditions negotiated in a legal separation can be revisited, and a new Separation Agreement can be created to accommodate changes in each spouse’s life. Of course, if one of you wishes to get married to another person, a full divorce must be filed for and made official before this can happen. If there are enough mutual advantages to staying legally married, you and your spouse could consider a legal separation rather than a divorce.
Legal Grounds for Divorce In Lehi, Utah
Grounds for divorce refer to the laws that govern whether a person qualifies for a divorce or not. In the US, every state has its own statutes regarding what constitutes legal grounds for divorce. There are two types of grounds for divorce: fault and no-fault. A fault divorce is just how it sounds one person blames the other person for the failed marriage. Fault divorces are often based on claims of marital infidelity, domestic violence, or criminal activity by one spouse.
A fault divorce is also sometimes called a contested divorce as it typically involves greater conflict between the married couple, particularly when it comes to the negotiation of how to divide their co-owned property and assets. It is highly recommended that you consult with a divorce lawyer if you are taking part in a fault divorce.
A no-fault divorce is where both spouses agree neither of them is solely to blame for the breakdown of their marriage, and they mutually wish to end their union in a non-confrontational manner. The term “irreconcilable differences” is a common cause cited in a no-fault divorce, also sometimes called an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, there is usually less ill will than in a fault divorce, and both spouses tend to be more willing to agree on how to split their mutual assets and debts. The state laws regarding legal grounds for divorce are those of your state of residency when you file for divorce not the state you were married in. All states currently recognize some version of no-fault divorce. Just be aware if you have moved to a new state recently, you must establish legal residency before you are permitted to file divorce papers in that state. The time required for legal residency varies by the state, but six months is a common requirement.
What Should I Do Before Filing for Divorce?
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse should discuss the details and reach an agreement on the key issues before filing your divorce papers. These key issues involve answering some or all of the following questions:
• Who will have primary custody of your children, or will joint custody be maintained?
• Will one spouse make child support payments to the other?
• Will one of you make spousal support payments to the other?
• How will joint assets and debts be split between the two of you?
• What will happen to your marital home? Will one of you be given sole ownership of it, or will it be sold and the net profit split between you?
• Which (if any) specific items will be kept by your husband/wife? Which specific items will you keep for yourself?
• If you have any pets, who will have ownership of them?
You will need to provide a lot of personal information when you sit down to create your divorce papers. It will help speed up the process if you gather as many of the relevant documents as possible. Here is a list of some of the important documents you should have on hand before filing for divorce:
• Birth certificates for you, your spouse, and your children (if applicable)
• Any relevant immigration and naturalization papers
• Marriage license
• Documents related to any previous marriages
• Social Security cards for you and your spouse
• Any income-related documents (paystubs, freelance invoices)
• Property ownership papers (house deed, vehicle titles)
• Pension and retirement plan records
• Investment papers (stock certificates, bonds, mutual funds)
• Debt-related records (credit cards, loans, mortgages)
• Insurance documents (life, auto, health, homeowner’s)
• Income tax return records
• Bank account passbooks and other records
How Do I File for a No-Fault Divorce In Lehi, Utah?
Filing for divorce refers to the process of creating your divorce papers and submitting them to a clerk at the appropriate county courthouse. Couples who agree on the key negotiation points of their breakup (financial, custody, etc.) can opt to create papers for an uncontested divorce by downloading and working through the relevant forms for their state/county of residence, or by using an online service that specializes in creating personalized divorce papers. The divorce forms you’ll need are usually available for download from your state’s government website, or on a separate state courts website. Once you have filled out the forms (using the documents and information you gathered beforehand), you must submit the forms at a county clerk’s office, sometimes referred to as a clerk of the court. This office is typically found in a courthouse located in your county of residency. There is a filing fee which must be paid at the time you file your divorce papers. Even in a no-fault divorce case, only one spouse is permitted to file the divorce papers. Copies of the divorce papers must then be given to the other spouse in a process called “serving divorce papers.” In most cases, you are not permitted to serve divorce papers to your spouse yourself; you must have someone like a friend, relative, or coworkers do it. In some cases, the divorce papers can be delivered to your spouse via certified mail. The other option for creating and filing papers for an uncontested divorce is to use an online service. These services are similar to those used to help you to file your income tax returns online. Using an online service automates much of the process for you, making it easier and quicker to create your divorce papers. In some cases, the service providers may even be able to file your divorce papers online as well, saving you a trip to the county courthouse.
Financial and Legal Advantages to Filing before Your Spouse.
In the world of sports, there are demonstrated advantages and drawbacks to serving first, receiving first, batting first and the like. The pros and cons are analyzed against the strengths and weaknesses of each player or team, and after the coin toss, coaches either make the most of having the upper hand, or compensate for being at a disadvantage. It’s all about being in the best position to win. In some ways, things are similar in divorce. Even though you may not see the dissolution of your marriage as something to “win” or “lose,” as a Divorce Financial Strategist, I can tell you there are ways to position yourself for the best possible financial advantage and ways that can lead to financial disaster. For example, if you’re preparing to divorce, you may be wondering if you’d be better off filing before your husband does.
Let’s consider some of the potential advantages. When you file first:
• Your divorce team can be lined up in advance, and without interference: Achieving the best possible outcome from a divorce requires a team of qualified experts on your side. Filing first means you can take the time to interview and retain the right people. You know you’ll need an excellent divorce attorney, and in financially complex divorces, it’s also essential to have an experienced divorce financial planner on your team. Being able to interview/consult attorneys first can also protect you from the possibility that your husband could “conflict out” the best lawyers in your area. All he’d have to do is meet with each one just long enough to establish an attorney-client relationship, after which they would be prohibited from representing you.
• You can gather and organize important documents before divorce proceedings get underway: Many divorcing women spend time and money chasing down financial and legal documents from a husband unwilling to provide them. Save yourself the grief and legal fees by locating and copying all the documents on my Divorce Financial Checklist before you file. It’s a long list, and you may even have things to add to it. Before divorce papers are served, store the documents in a secure location your husband can’t access.
• You can secure access to funds and credit: Hiring your divorce team is an essential investment in your financial future, so you’ll need money to see the process through. Divorce professionals don’t come cheap with most charging hundreds of dollars per hour and requiring retainer fees of thousands of dollars upfront. Likewise, if you don’t have a credit card in your own name, you should obtain one as soon as possible. It may not be easy to do later, and you will need credit to manage your expenses both during the divorce and as a single woman afterward.
• You may have a choice as to where your divorce will be decided: Divorces are generally filed and decided in the jurisdiction in which one or both spouses reside. If you have more than one venue available to you (equal time spent at home in Utah, for example), you might be amazed to discover the differences in laws regarding spousal support, child custody, division of marital assets and other critical considerations. Jurisdiction could have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your divorce. Do your research, and consult with attorneys wherever you might file.
• You may limit your vulnerability to your husband’s financial dirty tricks: It’s unethical, illegal, and just plain rotten, but many husbands hide assets during the divorce process. If you file first, you might narrow his window of opportunity to engage in these underhanded tactics. This is especially true if your state requires an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO), which prevents either spouse from taking certain financial actions once a divorce is filed.
• You may gain strength emotionally: There are significant emotional advantages to filing first. Taking steps to get yourself out of an unhealthy situation is tremendously empowering. To be sure, big changes sometimes require scary leaps – but acting, rather than reacting, puts you in a mindset open to possibility and opportunity. In every divorce, filing first can put you in the driver’s seat for some of it. Still, I also need to say that there can be terrible reasons to file first. Be honest with yourself. If you’re racing your husband to court out of spite, or if you want him served with papers at a particularly embarrassing time, or if your thoughts are akin to “you can’t fire me, I quit!” . . . then, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy.
Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate In Lehi, Utah
A divorce decree is a court document that is a final judgment from divorce court. It contains information about your case, including spousal support, child support, custody, visitation, property division, and other information. Most divorce decrees are thorough and contain all of the agreed-upon information in your case, such as who is responsible for getting life and health insurance, if the wife can take her maiden name again, and how you will divide your debt. Only a court can issue a divorce decree. You receive it at the end of your case. If your case went to trial, your divorce decree will indicate the terms of the judge’s decision and will act as a judgment that both parties must obey. If you didn’t go to trial but settled your case instead, the divorce decree will contain the terms of the settlement. The decree still acts as a final judgment, but you and your former spouse have decided upon the terms of your own divorce without the court’s input. Settling your case takes the decision out of the hands of the judge so long as the decision is not outrageous or one-sided. If it’s one-sided, the judge will usually intervene to help you work out the terms of your settlement.
Where to Get a Copy of Your Divorce Decree
If you want a certified copy of your divorce decree months or years after your divorce, you can usually get it at the courthouse in the court clerk’s office. Some states have divorce decrees in the county clerk’s office, so you will need to check with your state. Usually only people who were parties in the divorce, or their lawyers, can pick up the decree.
What Happens After You Get Your Divorce Decree?
After you receive your divorce decree, you’ll want to make sure you’re obeying the decree and that your former spouse is, too. For example, your former spouse has obligations created by the decree, such as paying spousal support, child support, or obtaining insurance policies. You’ll need to make sure your former spouse is complying with the decree. Additionally, if your former spouse must pay all or part of the marital debt, you’ll want to make sure your ex is doing that; otherwise, you could still be held responsible for the debt.
After you get your divorce decree, make sure you:
• Read the decree for accuracy
• Ask your attorney if you have any questions
• File an appeal immediately if you’re not happy with the judge’s decision after a trial
• Change your will
• Change beneficiaries on your insurance policies
• Update emergency contacts for your child’s school
• Change your power of attorney
• Put savings and checking accounts in your name only
• Cancel or change credit cards
• Bring your former spouse back to court if the former spouse is violating the decree
• Bring the case back to court if you need to change spousal or child support later on
A divorce certificate is a completely different document from a divorce decree. A certificate is not prepared by a court. Instead, your state’s health department or bureau of vital statistics issues the certificate. This is usually the same place where you get your birth certificate.
Unlike a lengthy divorce decree, a divorce certificate is a simple document that shows:
• You are divorced
• The names of both former spouses
• The date of the divorce
• The place of the divorce.
Uses of a Divorce Certificate
A divorce certificate is used for limited purposes, and not all states issue a divorce certificate. You can use it for:
• Getting a name change
• Showing proof of divorce without revealing the details of your divorce
• Getting a travel visa
• Getting a passport, unless your name change is not on the certificate
• Inheritance purposes, to show you are single
• Getting married
• Anywhere you need to show proof of divorce.
All documents filed in a divorce case form the Divorce Records. When a dissolution petition is filed, divorce pleadings are publicly available at that courthouse. Divorce filings can be kept under seal by request, if the parties wish to protect children’s identity, victims of domestic abuse or not disclose sensitive personal information. In general, anyone can access divorce records by submitting a request to the court clerk’s office.
Lehi Utah Divorce Lawyer
When you need child custody or divorce, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506