Spanish Fork Utah Divorce Attorney
Spanish Fork, Utah County, is located about sixty miles south of Salt Lake City, and is built upon three distinct alluvial fans formed by the Spanish Fork River. It received its name from the fact that Catholic Fathers Dominguez and Escalante entered Utah Valley along the Spanish Fork River in September 1776 on their exploratory journey. Enoch Reece took up about four hundred acres of land in the Spanish Fork River bottoms area in 1850 and was the first man to locate a home there. He was soon followed by other settlers, including John Holt, John H. Reed, and William Pace. During the fall of 1854, a fort, called Fort Saint Luke, was built on the present site of Spanish Fork. This was occupied by nineteen families from the settlement of Palmyra, about three miles west. The fort was built as protection from the Indians. In 1855 the territorial legislature granted the city of Spanish Fork a charter and boundaries were established. After Palmyra was abandoned in 1856 and its citizens, numbering about four hundred, moved to Spanish Fork, the charter was amended to also include that area. As a result of the United States Army coming into the Salt Lake Valley in 1858, Spanish Fork became the temporary home of about four hundred families who had fled from their homes in northern settlements. Many of the refugees remained in Spanish Fork. The first commercial industry, a sawmill, was established in 1858 and was owned by Archibald Gardner. He also built the first flour mill, which began operation in 1859. The Spanish Fork Foundry, established in 1884, turned out great quantities of iron and brass castings.
While the principal industry of Spanish Fork has always been agriculture, the city has also become a primary livestock center. The canning industry was also important; in 1925, the Utah Packing Corporation established a factory and began to contract with local farmers for the growing of peas, beans, and tomatoes. As the population increased and more land was brought under cultivation, the waters of Spanish Fork River became inadequate to supply irrigation needs. After lengthy negotiations and contracts with the federal government, Spanish Fork secured the delivery of water from the newly completed Strawberry Reservoir. Water was first received through the tunnel on 27 June 1915. Teleflex Defense Systems is currently Spanish Fork’s largest private employer with over 200 employees. Seven other businesses employ one hundred or more workers: Longview Fibre Company, Natures Sunshine Products, Trojan Corporation, Valley Asphalt, Inc., Shopko, K Mart, and Mountain Country Foods. Although Spanish Fork is predominantly Mormon, the Presbyterian Church established a church and mission day school in 1882. The school functioned until the state school system was inaugurated in the early part of the twentieth century. Today there are three elementary schools, one intermediate, and one high school. An Icelandic Lutheran Church was also built on the east bench of Spanish Fork and served a congregation for many years. There is also the Faith Baptist Church, as well as twenty-six LDS wards in four stakes. The population of Spanish Fork was 11,272 in 1990, well over a one hundred percent increase from the 5,230 residents in 1950.
How to File for Divorce In Spanish Fork, Utah
Getting a divorce is a stressful and emotionally draining experience. But in most cases, the process of actually filing for divorce is relatively straightforward. Although the specific rules vary from state to state, typically you initiate the process by filing a petition with the family law court in the county where you live. Provided the divorce is relatively amicable, you may be able to handle things on your own. However, if you and your spouse have communication issues or can’t agree on matters such as child custody and support or how to divide your property, you may need extra help from a family law attorney.
Petitioning the Court for Divorce
• Confirm that you are eligible to file for divorce in the state where you live. Each state has residency requirements that you must meet if you want to file for divorce in that state. Typically, you must have lived in the state for at least 6 months to a year. Some states require a longer period of residency. However, there are often exceptions made. For example, if the reason for the divorce happened in that state, you may be able to file for divorce regardless of how long you’ve lived there. You may not be able to file for a no-fault divorce in that situation. If you’re concerned that you haven’t lived in a state long enough to file for divorce there, talk to an attorney about it. The specific court where you file your divorce typically will be the one in the county where you and your spouse live. If you and your spouse live in different counties, you may need to file in the county where your spouse lives.
• Visit a family law attorney for a free initial consultation. Family law attorneys always provide a free initial consultation. Even if you don’t think you can afford an attorney, it’s still worth at least talking to someone about your case. They may be able to help you in a limited capacity for a reduced rate. Many family attorneys also have sliding fee scales based on your income. This could help you afford an attorney. Legal aid offices sometimes provide assistance for divorces free of charge. However, due to the demand for their services, they typically don’t take divorce cases unless abuse is involved.
• Check for forms you can use if you’re filing on your own. Family courts in most state have forms you can fill out if you want to file for divorce without hiring an attorney. Typically you can download these forms from the website for your state’s court system.
• Reach a separation agreement if required. Some states, require you and your spouse to come to a preliminary agreement on child custody, child support, and how you will divide your property before you can file for divorce. This agreement can be a temporary agreement between you and your spouse or one that you intend to make part of the final divorce judgment. If a separation agreement is required, the state court website will have information and forms for you to use. At a minimum, the separation agreement will govern relations between you and your spouse until your divorce is finalized. If you and your spouse have problems communicating or there has been a history of abuse, you may want to use mediation services or hire an attorney.
• Complete your divorce petition. Through the divorce petition, you provide the court with information about yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. The petition is a document that formally asks the court to declare a legal end to your marriage. If you downloaded the forms online, you can type your information directly into the form. If you’re working with paper forms you can write your answers. Print clearly and neatly using black ink. To complete the divorce petition, you will have to provide information about your spouse, including their full legal name, date of birth, and current residence. If you don’t have all of this information and don’t know how to get it, talk to an attorney.
• Gather supporting documents. At a minimum, you will need an official copy of your original wedding certificate to accompany your divorce petition. Some states may require other documents, such as birth certificates for any children you and your spouse have. If you don’t have a copy of your wedding certificate, you can order one from the state vital records office of the state where you were married. If you were married in a different country, such as on a destination wedding, you would need a wedding certificate from the state where you registered as a married couple after you returned to the US.
• Fill out forms to request temporary orders if necessary. Through a temporary order, the judge can require your spouse to pay you child support or spousal support, or order them to pay certain bills while your divorce is pending. If there has been abuse or you are concerned for your safety, you can also get a temporary restraining order against your spouse.
• Temporary orders only last until the divorce is finalized. If you want the same arrangements to continue after the divorce, those details must be included in your final divorce decree.
• Take your forms to the family court clerk. Once you’ve completed all the necessary forms, make at least 2 copies of the completed forms. Take the copies and the originals to the court clerk of the court that will hear your divorce.
Negotiating Parenting Time and Property Division
• Determine what property is separate and what property is joint property. Generally, any property that you owned before the marriage remains your own separate property and isn’t divided. Most property acquired during the marriage is considered joint property, although there are some exceptions. Any property that one of you received as a gift or inheritance during your marriage is also considered separate property. In most states, if you and your spouse disagree on whether to characterize a particular piece of property as separate or joint property, it is presumed to be joint property if it was acquired during the marriage. The spouse who believes it is separate property must prove that to the judge.
• Make a list of you and your spouse’s debts. With a few exceptions, debts acquired during the marriage are considered joint debts, even if only one spouse’s name is on the account. If you acquired the debt before the marriage, however, it is considered your separate debt. With some exceptions, you’re typically responsible for that on your own. For example, if you incurred debt in anticipation of the marriage, or because your spouse agreed to help you pay it back, you may be able to argue that the debt is joint debt. However, if your spouse disagrees you would have to back up your claim with evidence, such as text messages between you and your spouse in which your spouse agreed to help you pay back the debt. If one of you acquired student loan debt while you were married, that debt is typically considered joint debt, even if the other spouse didn’t cosign on the loan.
• Complete your financial disclosure forms. Once you’ve made a list of assets and debts, you have to share this information with your spouse. Your spouse is responsible for making a similar list. Typically, you simply share this information with each other. However, some states also require you to file these forms with the court that is handling your divorce.
• Talk to your spouse about how you want to split parenting time. If you and your spouse have children, you need to figure out who is going to have primary custody of the kids. Courts in most states consider it in the children’s best interests to spend time with both parents, unless one parent is shown to be abusive or incapable of caring for the children. Most states have worksheets you can use to help determine equitable parenting time and child support that should be paid. These worksheets typically are included in the form packet for couples with children. If you don’t believe your spouse should have time with your kids, it’s typically a good idea to get an attorney to help you. You will have to prove to the court that your spouse is unfit to care for your kids, and this process can get very heated.
• Attend mediation if necessary. If you and your spouse can’t agree on issues related to parenting time or the division of your property, a mediator can help. The clerk of the family court where you filed your petition will have a list of court-approved mediators that you can choose from. Mediation for divorcing couples is free in many states. In some states, mediation is required by law if you and your spouse can’t agree. Because mediation is a non-confrontational environment, it can help you if you and your spouse are at each other’s throats or if emotions run high whenever you start discussing divorce-related issues.
• Write up your settlement agreement. Once you’ve come to an agreement, you and your spouse fill out a form to submit to the court that outlines your decisions. Technically, the judge can alter this agreement, although in practice few do. The settlement agreement form is typically part of your divorce form packet. Your court may have a deadline by which you must submit this form. Any deadline is usually listed in the instructions for your form packet. You can also call the clerk’s office and find out. If there are any issues that you and your spouse didn’t agree on, mark them clearly on the settlement agreement. These are issues that you want the judge to decide for you.
Attending Your Court Hearing
• Complete any required parenting or divorce classes. Many court systems have courses to help divorcing couples understand the divorce process and navigate shared custody of their children. In some states, these classes are required. The family court clerk will let you know if you’re required to take any classes. If the classes are required, the court typically won’t set a date for a hearing until you’ve completed them. Keep in mind that you and your spouse usually aren’t required to complete them together. Even if the classes aren’t required, it’s a good idea to take them if they are offered, especially if you’re filing for divorce on your own. Wait for notice of the date of your hearing. If you don’t have an attorney, you’ll receive notice in the mail when your hearing is scheduled. If you do have an attorney, they’ll get the notice and then let you know the date of the hearing. If your case is contested, or you have issues you and your spouse left for the judge to decide, you may have one or two preliminary hearings before your final hearing. During these hearings, you will share documents, witnesses, and other evidence that you plan to present to the judge.
• Make every effort to attend court on the date the hearing is scheduled. While it may be possible to reschedule the hearing, you may need to show that you have a good reason for the court to do so. If you don’t believe you can attend the hearing on the date scheduled, contact the clerk as soon as possible to determine your options.
• Organize your documents for the final hearing. Even for a simple divorce in which you and your spouse agree on everything, there will still be documents you’ll need to bring with you. At a minimum, bring your copy of every document you’ve filed with the court.
• If you and your spouse disagree on any issues, you also want to bring documents or other pieces of evidence that support your claims. For example, if you claim a debt is joint and your spouse maintains it is your separate debt, you would want to bring any documents or other information that demonstrated your spouse agreed to help pay back the debt.
• For any documents other than documents you’ve filed with the court, make at least 2 copies of the document. The judge will likely want to review the original, but you’ll need one copy for yourself and one for your spouse.
• Familiarize yourself with the court and its procedures. If you’ve never been to court before, sit in on some hearings before you attend your own. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. Watch the same judge that will be hearing your own case. If you don’t know the name of the judge, you can find out in the clerk’s office.
• Arrive at court at least 30 minutes early on the date of your hearing. Arriving early gives you plenty of time to park, get through security, and find the right courtroom. Do not bring your children with you to the hearing unless they are going to be witnesses. While you don’t have to wear a suit, clean, neat, professional attire is preferred. The court may have the dress code listed on its website.
• Stand when called to participate in your hearing. Typically, the judge will be hearing several cases in one day. When you enter the courtroom, take a seat in the gallery. When the judge calls your case, stand and indicate that you are present and ready to proceed.
When you need a divorce in Spanish Fork, Utah, 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