Provo Utah Divorce Attorney
Situated in the heart of Utah Valley between the east shore of Utah Lake and the towering Wasatch Mountains is the city of Provo. Mount Timpanogos (elevation 11,957 feet) dominates the northern view from the city. Other rugged mountains east of the city provide one of the most picturesque backdrops for a Utah city. We’re going to talk to you about a Provo Utah Divorce Attorney in this article. But first, we wanted to give you some background about Provo. Utah Valley was the traditional home of Ute Indians, who settled in villages close to the lake both for protection from bellicose tribes to the northeast and to be close to their primary source of food–fish from the lake. The first white visitors to the Provo area were Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante, who visited Utah Valley in 1776. Only a retrenchment in Spanish New World colonization and missionary efforts prevented establishment of settlements promised by these Franciscan missionaries. Fur trappers and traders frequented the area in the early decades of the nineteenth century, and it is from one of these trappers, Etienne Provost, that Provo takes its name. Provo was settled by Mormons in 1849, and was the first Mormon colony in Utah outside of Salt Lake Valley.
Troubles with Indians gave rise to a popular saying in early Utah: “Provo or hell!” When President James Buchanan sent United States troops to Salt Lake City to put down the “Mormon insurrection” in 1858, thousands of Mormons, including leader Brigham Young, moved to Provo. “The Move South” came to a quick end as the Mormons were “pardoned” and new governor Alfred Cumming made peace with the Saints. Provo remained the second largest city in Utah until Ogden became Utah’s primary railroad terminus in 1869. Provo lost in its bid as a transcontinental railroad stopping place, but thereby retained its distinctly Mormon flavor. It soon came to be known as the “Garden City” because of its extensive fruit orchards, trees, and gardens. In 1875 Brigham Young Academy was founded. From humble beginnings, this institution has grown into Brigham Young University, the largest church-affiliated university in the United States today. The city and the university have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship and have grown together. Today, the university has helped generate a fledgling high-technology industry in the Provo area and sometimes attracts national attention through its academic and sports programs.
Historically, Provo has served as the focal point of Utah Valley industry, commerce, and government. Agriculture and the Provo Woolen Mills (which had its origin in the Mormon cooperative movement of the late 1860s) served as Provo’s commercial staples in the late nineteenth century. Mining magnates such as Jesse Knight, made rich by nearby precious-metal mines, made their homes in Provo and helped create a thriving financial industry in the city. The coincidence of a major water source and the intersection of two railroad lines led to the completion in the Provo area of the Ironton steel mill in the early 1920s and later the much larger Geneva steel plant. The railroads brought in needed raw materials and transported finished steel products from Provo. Area residents currently argue about whether the Geneva plant, which many assert is a major cause of Provo’s serious air pollution problems, should continue to be operated or whether Provo should rely on new high technology as its industrial base. As county seat of Utah County, Provo is the home of county offices and courts. Since the mid-1880s Provo has been the home of the State Hospital, originally the Territorial Insane Asylum. Because of its close proximity to the mountains, Utah Lake, and rivers, Provo residents have many recreational outlets. In winter, alpine and cross-country skiing, ice skating, and other winter sports are available within minutes.
In summer, hiking, camping, fishing, and boating are equally accessible. Provo residents have long been proud of their city. Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland, United States senators Reed Smoot (who also served as an apostle in the LDS Church) and William King; LDS Church apostle Dallin Oaks (who also served as president of Brigham Young University and as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court); Jack Dempsey, former heavyweight champion of the world, and numerous less well-known political, church, sports, and business figures have lived in Provo. Today, Provo is a thriving community of 86,835 (1990 census). The city’s downtown heart is no larger the center of Utah Valley commerce, having lost that honor to large suburban shopping malls. Provo’s once proud train depot was recently demolished, a symbol of the declining importance of passenger rail transportation in the West. Provo’s downtown area remains, however, the focal point of Utah Valley political life, and nearby Brigham Young University remains the education center of the area. Provo has grown from a quiet, small Mormon city to a substantial modern metropolitan area. Some of its traditional quaintness is gone, but its heart and soul continue to thrive.
Provo Utah Divorce Attorney – Divorce Law Basics
The legal termination of a marriage is referred to by different names, Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage being the two most well-known. Couples seeking a divorce must obtain one via a court judgment, after which they will be awarded a judicial decree which declares that the marriage is dissolved. After a divorce has been legally finalized, both parties are free to remarry, pending time restrictions in some jurisdictions, which vary. Divorce orders may address various issues depending upon the specific circumstances of the parties to the divorce, such as whether there is property to be divided and/or children for whom provisions must be made. Therefore, when applicable, these orders may deal with matters such as property and bill division, alimony or spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support, as well as any other pertinent matters that the court judges to be relevant and necessary. When a divorce action is initiated, it may be brought by either or both parties and may be contested or uncontested. When both spouses desire the divorce and are able to come to an agreement on the relevant issues, they may obtain an uncontested divorce, which allows them to proceed through the court process far more easily and quickly than when there are unresolved issues.
A smaller group of married couples, though, are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement with regard to the termination of their marriage and the ensuing issues. These contested divorces take a great deal longer, make it necessary to retain legal counsel, and usually require judicial intervention to come to a conclusion and obtain orders regarding the relevant issues. Each state creates its own laws, codes, statutes and rules for handling the termination of a marriage as well as the other associated factors. Common law in each state also plays a role. Because of this, there is no uniformity, and instead divorce laws, policies and procedure often vary greatly from one state jurisdiction to the next. Although divorce is common throughout the Utah, the divorce process varies depending on the couple’s situation. Short-term marriages without children or property typically result in a less complex and time-consuming divorce than long-term marriages with significant property entanglements, marital debt, and minor children. Additionally, divorcing couples who work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce (child custody, child support, property division, debt allocation, and spousal support) will experience a less expensive and less stressful divorce than couples who can’t agree or refuse to work together.
Step One: Filing the Divorce Petition
Whether both spouses agree to the divorce or not, before any couple can begin the divorce process, one spouse must file a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. The filing spouse must include the following information:
• a statement which informs the court that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
• a legal reason or grounds for the divorce, and
• any other statutory information that your state requires.
Residency requirements vary depending on where you live. States usually require at least one spouse to live in the state anywhere from 3 months to 12 months, and in the county where the spouse files at least 10 days to 6 months before filing the petition. Divorcing spouses must meet the state’s residency requirement before the court can accept the case. Grounds for divorce vary from state-to-state. However, all states offer divorcing couples the option to file a no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce is a streamlined process that allows spouses to file a divorce petition without listing a specific reason or placing blame on either spouse. If your spouse committed marital misconduct or caused the breakup, some states allow parties to claim “fault” for the divorce, like adultery or neglect. If you’re unsure whether you should file a no-fault or fault divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in your state for guidance.
Step Two: Asking for Temporary Orders
Courts understand that the waiting period for divorce may not be possible for all couples. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent that is raising your children and dependent on your spouse for financial support, waiting for 6-months for the judge to finalize your divorce probably seems impossible. When you file for divorce, the court allows you to ask the court for temporary court orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you request a temporary order, the court will hold a hearing and request information from each spouse before deciding how to rule on the application. The judge will usually grant the temporary order quickly, and it will remain valid until the court orders otherwise or until the judge finalizes the divorce. Other temporary orders may include a request for status quo payments or temporary property restraining orders. Status quo orders typically require the breadwinner to continue paying marital debts throughout the divorce process. Temporary property restraining orders protect the marital estate from either spouse selling, giving away, or otherwise disposing of marital property during the divorce process. Restraining orders are usually mutual, meaning both spouses must follow it or risk being penalized by the court. If you need a temporary order but didn’t file your request at the time you filed for divorce, you’ll need to apply for temporary orders as quickly as possible. When you file for divorce, the court allows you to ask the court for temporary court orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support.
Step Three: Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response
After you file the petition for divorce and request for temporary orders, you need to provide a copy of the paperwork to your spouse and file proof of service with the court. Proof of service is a document that tells the court that you met the statutory requirements for giving a copy of the petition to your spouse. If you don’t properly serve your spouse, or if you neglect to file a proof of service with the court, the judge will be unable to proceed with your divorce case. Service of process can be easy, especially if your spouse agrees with the divorce and is willing to sign an acknowledgment of service. However, some spouses, especially ones that want to stay married or make the process complicated, can be evasive or try anything to frustrate the process. The easiest way to ensure proper service is for the filing spouse to hire a professional who is licensed and experienced in delivering legal documents to difficult parties. The cost is usually minimal and can help prevent a delay in your case. If your spouse retained an attorney, you could arrange to have the paperwork delivered to the attorney’s office. The party who receives the paperwork (usually titled “defendant” or “respondent”) must file an answer or reply to the divorce petition within a prescribed amount of time. Failure to respond could result in a “default” judgment against the non-responding spouse, which can be complicated and expensive to reverse. The responding party has the option to dispute the grounds for divorce (if a fault divorce), the allegations in the petition, or assert any disagreements as to property, support, custody, or any other divorce-related issues.
Step Four: Negotiate a Settlement
In cases where the parties have differing opinions on important topics, like child custody, support, or property division, both spouses will need to work together to reach an agreement. Sometimes the court will schedule a settlement conference, which is where the parties and their attorneys will meet to discuss the status of the case. The court may schedule mediation, which is where a neutral third-party will help facilitate discussion between the spouses in hopes to resolve lingering issues. Some states require participation in mediation, while others do not. However, mediation often saves significant time and money during the divorce process, so it’s often a good route for many divorcing couples.
Step Five: Divorce Trial
Sometimes negotiations fail despite each spouse’s best efforts. If there are still issues that remain unresolved after mediation and other talks, the parties will need to ask the court for help, which means going to trial. A divorce trial is costly and time-consuming, plus it takes all the power away from the spouses and puts it in the hands of the judge. Negotiations and mediation sessions allow the couple to maintain control and have more predictable results than a divorce trial, so it’s best to avoid a trial if possible.
Step Six: Finalizing the Judgment
Whether you and your spouse negotiated throughout the divorce process, or a judge decided the significant issues for you, the final step of divorce comes when the judge signs the judgment of divorce. The judgment of divorce (or “order of dissolution”) ends the marriage and spells out the specifics about how the couple will allocate custodial responsibility and parenting time, child and spousal support, and how the couple will divide assets and debts. If the parties negotiated a settlement, the filing spouse’s attorney typically drafts the judgment. However, if the couple went through a divorce trial, the judge will issue the final order.
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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!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506