What Is The Best Way To Get Divorced?

What Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

How quickly a party can get divorced will first depend upon his or her state’s waiting period, or the amount of time the state requires a person filing for divorce to wait until the Court will grant the divorce. Some states have no waiting period, while others have waiting periods of up to two years. To determine what the waiting period in your state is, check the ‘effective waiting period for no-fault divorce’ column for your state on this chart provided by Americans for Divorce Reform. The amount of time it takes a couple to divorce also depends on how quickly the parties can come to an agreement and complete the procedure for divorce.

Starting the Divorce Process

• Fill out a Summons: The first step in getting a divorce is telling the court that you would like to dissolve your marriage. The specifics of this will depend on your state and county, so contact your local court to obtain the correct papers. There may be additional forms such as a marriage petition, property declaration, or other declarations pertaining to your relationship. Make sure you have found all the forms necessary for filing in your state. Fill out the papers on a computer or using blue or black ink as clearly as possible. If you find the forms difficult to navigate you may want to consider hiring someone to assist you. If you and your spouse are separating amicably, agree which one of you will start the process as court proceedings usually have a plaintiff and defendant (or petitioner and respondent). It does not matter much, but the plaintiff may have slightly more to do. Some states do also allow Joint Petitioning, in the simplest cases. If you have no children and little shared property, check if there is a marriage dissolution packet available at your local court.
• Have the dissolution forms reviewed: There are many states that offer free legal advice at family courts so take advantage if it is available to you. You can also consider hiring legal counsel to make sure the process goes smoothly. Some attorneys can be hired just to help with certain tasks, and in some cases paralegals can be hired to complete forms, so it does not have to be as expensive as you might think.
• Make additional copies: Keep a copy of the summons for yourself. You will also need a copy for your spouse. The original is to be filed with the court.
• File the papers: You will turn in the original as well as the copies to the county clerk. Your papers will be reviewed and, presuming everything is in order, stamped as “filed.” The court will retain the original summons and any other papers as the official beginning of divorce proceedings. They will return the copies for both parties to you with the “filed” stamp. This stamp means your divorce is officially underway.

• Serve your spouse: Whether you and your significant other have been in contact during this process or not, the court needs to know that your spouse is officially aware that the divorce is a concern of the court. Your spouse can receive their copy of the papers from anyone over 18, other than you. It can be a friend or family member, or a hired professional server. The plaintiff is not allowed to serve the papers. In many states you can also deliver them by certified mail, as long as the other party is willing to fill out an acknowledgment of receipt form.
• File proof of service: If your spouse receives the forms from a personal server, the server has to provide you with a form attesting to this that can be filed with the court. If your spouse accepted service by mail, it may be your duty to file the return receipt with the court.
Coming to an Agreement
• Decide with your spouse that you want to make an agreement: In order to get a quick and easy divorce in any state, you will need to write up an agreement with your spouse on all contestable issues. If you are at odds emotionally or practically from the start, it will be difficult to work out these details. In many cases it may be useful to hire a mediator to assist you even when things seem straightforward. A mediator is a legal professional who works for both of you. If you have children or complex finances you may also want to consider hiring lawyers to draw up your divorce contract even if you are in general agreement. The right lawyer does not have to make the divorce into a battle but can just make sure you are filing things to your best interests. If you hire lawyers, each side should have their own, although they can still work amicably.
• Reach an agreement about property distribution: You will need to decide who gets every piece of personal and real property that you, your spouse, or the two of you own. This includes but is not limited to bank and investment accounts, vehicles, and real estate. Anything which is legally owned would most easily be divided in half or according to the party whose name is on it, but sometimes married couples do not worry about putting names on property with a concern for possible separation. Be fair about the how the property was understood during the marriage. This also includes personal items, furnishings, gifts, artwork and memorabilia.
• Divide any debt fairly: Debts accrued during the marriage should be divided between you and spouse according to each party’s ability to pay the debt, who incurred the debt, and how much property each party is receiving. A mortgage is often one of the most complicated debts to divide. If it is possible to sell the house, all that has to be agreed is the division of funds, but if one party intends to keep the house, they will have to keep the debt as well, and the bank has to approve that. In some cases, the house may have to be sold even if that wasn’t the original plan, simply because one party cannot shoulder the full mortgage alone. Credit card debt should be divided at separation, even if it is just onto other credit cards. Try not to keep your finances entangled. In some states, even credit card debt that is not in your name but that was incurred by your spouse during the marriage may be your liability.
• Consider alimony or spousal support: If you or your spouse has been out of the workforce in order to raise children, take care of a family member, or because of a disability, alimony or spousal support may be warranted. Be careful when agreeing to pay alimony or spousal support, as you may not be able to modify that agreement later

• Reach an agreement on child custody and visitation rights: If you have children, you will need to decide which party the children will live with (the custodial parent) and how often and when the children will visit with the other party (the non-custodial parent). Most states have plans or worksheets of some kind available to help couples come to agreements on this issue. Some states will leave the issue more open but still provide assistance to make the best decision for the child. Check what the law requires in your state’s parenting guidelines.
• Come to an agreement on child support: All states have laws, which presume that the non-custodial parent should pay child support to the custodial parent. To determine how much child support should be paid in your situation, check your state’s website for a child support worksheet or calculator. You can locate your state’s website by following the appropriate link from the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) State Government Websites page.
• Write up your agreement: As you make these decisions, keep things in writing, and when you have covered everything, type up the official agreement so that both of you are satisfied with the language and level of detail. Check with your local court whether to have such a document signed and notarized, or whether it will be more useful referentially for filling out official court forms.

Filing Divorce Papers
• Locate the proper forms: Many states offer state-approved forms for uncontested or agreed divorces. Other states do not, so you may have to spend some time and possibly some money to obtain the correct forms. To locate the proper forms Visit your state’s website by following the appropriate link from the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) State Government Websites page. Use a search engine to search “your state divorce forms”. Check with your County Clerk’s Office. If the forms aren’t available online, call or stop in and ask for a copy of the forms you need.
• Complete the forms: Follow all of the instructions that came with your forms. If you did not get instructions, try to answer every question as completely as possible, while remaining brief. Type or print in blue or black ink when filling out court forms. Write clearly and do not skip portions. Divorce papers will often include several affidavits or unclear legalistic forms, so be prepared to spend some time getting things in order. If you need help, check with the court clerk and/or local bar association to see if your jurisdiction offers free or low cost assistance to pro-se parties.
• File the forms with the proper court: Your forms should be filed in the county in which you or the other party resides. Check with the court clerk’s office if you are unsure which court in your county handles divorces. You will need to submit more than one copy of each form as well as a filing fee, so call the Clerk’s office first, to find out how many copies of each document you should bring, what the filing will be, and what forms of payment are accepted.
• Attend any necessary hearings: Uncontested or agreed divorces generally do not require the parties to appear in court, but some jurisdictions may conduct a brief hearing. Be sure to attend any hearings the court schedules and bring any documentation it requests. Be punctual if you are required to attend any official hearings. Plan your day so that you can be sure to arrive early.
• Dress conservatively: You don’t need to go out and buy a new suit or outfit – just find a clean, well fitting, and as respectable as possible set of clothing. A nice button down shirt and a pressed pair of slacks will do the trick. A man can add a tie and a woman might prefer a long skirt. Be respectful in court. Address the judge as “Your Honor” and “Sir” or “Ma’am”. Stand when speaking and spoken to.

Finalizing Your Divorce

• Complete any necessary classes, courses, and/or tests: Many states have parenting classes and education courses that some or all divorcing parents are required to take before a divorce will be granted. Check with the county clerk, the court, or an attorney to determine if there are any instructional courses you need to take in order to have your divorced granted.
• Obtain and file any remaining forms: Once your waiting period is over your Final Decree or Decree of Dissolution will be granted by the state. You may then be required to file this decree as well as other remaining documents as a way to confirm that it needed no modifications and was correct. If you are unsure what you need to file besides the final decree, check the instructions that came with your form, or with the Clerk of Courts.
• Wait for a copy of your decree: Once the Judge signs your final decree, the court will mail you a certified copy of the decree or a notice telling you it is ready for you to pick up. If you do not receive anything from the court within your state’s given jurisdiction time (usually 30 days) of filing your final documents and/or attending your final hearing, call the court to inquire. The court typically allows a standard length of time during which modifications, corrections or reforms can be filed by either party.
Uncontested Divorces and Contested Divorces
A contested divorce is one where the parties cannot agree on some or all issues. It may involve a trial, and it may involve lengthy settlement meetings. It may also involve digging into your spouse’s finances, which takes a lot of time and energy.
An uncontested divorce, however, takes a lot less time because you agree with your spouse about:
• Custody
• Visitation
• Child support
• Spousal support
• Division of property
• Division of debt
• Other issues, such as education and religion
• Life and health insurance
If you want to get a divorce fast, an uncontested divorce will help you do that. An uncontested divorce also will save you money in legal fees, will reduce stress, and will get you through the court system much faster than a contested divorce.
No-Fault Divorces Versus Fault-Based Divorces
All states have some form of no-fault divorce, although in some states, you have to be legally separated for a year or more before you can get a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce that doesn’t require legal separation also can speed up your divorce because it eliminates the need to prove grounds for divorce, such as adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, or abandonment. A no-fault divorce prevents the parties from blaming one another for the end of a marriage. In most states, a no-fault divorce is accomplished by stating under oath in court or in papers that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences or are incompatible. If your divorce is a no-fault divorce, you can claim that you want a no-fault divorce in your divorce papers. A divorce can be both no-fault and uncontested. In some states, if you have a no-fault, uncontested divorce, you may never have to go to court and your divorce can be done on what is called “papers only.””
To file a no-fault, uncontested divorce, you’ll need:
• To satisfy residency requirements
• To purchase an index number
• To have a summons and complaint or petition served on your spouse
• To have your spouse file a response to your complaint or petition
• To fill out forms that put the case on the court calendar
• An affidavit of service for the papers that were served
• Income, spousal support, and child support worksheets
• A parenting plan in some states
• A marital settlement agreement, separation agreement, or stipulation of settlement—which are different ways of saying the same thing, depending on your state
• Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law or similar papers
• Judgment of Divorce
• Additional divorce papers, such as statements by each spouse
• Any other papers your state requires

Utah Divorce Lawyer

When you need legal help for a Utah Divorce, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How Common Is Divorce?

How Common Is Divorce?

Divorce is very common in Utah, United States with almost half of all marriages ending in divorce or permanent separation. Commitment has been shown to be a clear factor in why some couples stay together. There are times when divorce is necessary, but those in other circumstances often later indicate they wish they would have tried harder before divorcing

What Percentage of Marriages End In Divorce?

Researchers estimate that 40%-50% of all first marriages will end in divorce or permanent separation and about 60% – 65% of second marriages will end in divorce. Although divorce has always been a part of American society, divorce has become more common in the last 50 years. Changes in the laws have made divorce much easier. The highest divorce rates ever recorded were in the 1970s and early 1980s. Divorce rates have decreased since that time, but still remain high.

What Factors Are Associated With A Higher Risk For Divorce?

Over the years, researchers have determined certain factors that put people at higher risk for divorce: marrying young, limited education and income, living together before a commitment to marriage, premarital pregnancy, no religious affiliation, coming from a divorced family, and feelings of insecurity.
• Young age: Marriage at a very young age increases the likelihood of divorce, especially in the early years of marriage.
• Less education: Research shows that those with at least some college education (vs. high school or not finishing high school) have a lower chance of divorce.
• Less income: Having a modest income can help couples avoid stress that may lead to divorce.
• Premarital cohabitation: Couples who live together before marriage appear to have a higher chance of divorce if they marry, but the risk is mostly true for those who have cohabited with multiple partners. A common belief is that living together before marriage provides an opportunity to get to know each other better, but research has found those that live together before marriage have already developed some leniency towards divorce. This leniency towards divorce is what leads the couple to become high risk. However, there are some caveats to these findings. Research suggests couples who get engaged and then move in together are no longer at a high risk for future divorce. Their commitment towards marriage reduces the risk of a future divorce.

• Premarital childbearing and pregnancy: Childbearing and pregnancy prior to marriage significantly increase the likelihood of future divorce.
• No religious affiliation: Researchers have estimated those with a religious affiliation compared to those who belong to no religious group are less likely to divorce.
• Parents’ divorce: Unfortunately, experiencing the divorce of your parents doubles your risk for divorce. And if your spouse also experienced their parents’ divorce than your risk for divorce triples. This does not mean you are predisposed to having your marriage end in divorce, only that you may need to be more aware of your marriage trends and work harder for a successful marriage.

Most Common Reasons People Give For Their Divorce

Research has found the most common reasons people give for their divorce are lack of commitment, too much arguing, infidelity, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in the relationship, lack of preparation for marriage, and abuse. Many of the common reasons people give for their divorce can fall under the umbrella of no longer being in love. Research suggests the nature of love changes over time. If you feel as if you have fallen out of love, marriage counseling may help offer a new perspective that will help you rediscover that love.

Why is commitment so important?

Commitment as “having a long-term view of the marriage that helps us not get overwhelmed by the problems and challenges we experience day to day.” Having a personal dedication to your marriage involves a real desire to be together with one’s spouse in the future and having an identity as a couple. When there is a high level of commitment in a relationship, we feel safer and are willing to give more. Developing this level of commitment can take time as you learn to change your mindset. When your level of commitment seems to be fading it can be helpful to remember the good times in your relationship. Some couples are faced with very difficult situations, such as abuse, infidelity, or addictions. Each of these situations deserves special consideration:

Abuse And Divorce

When there is a pattern of abuse in a marriage or in a family, not surprisingly there is evidence that ending the marriage is usually best for all involved. While some spouses are able to end and overcome abuse, abused spouses and children are usually better off when the marriage is ended. Sometimes, ending a marriage with an abusive spouse can be dangerous, however. It is probably a good idea to work with a domestic violence shelter in your community to help you end the relationship safely.

Infidelity And Divorce

Most Americans say they would end their marriage if their spouse cheated on them. However, many couples (50-60%) who have dealt with infidelity in their marriages find the will and strength to stay together. Also, consider getting help from a well-trained marriage counselor and/or a dedicated religious leader, who will help you heal, decide what to do, and repair the marriage, if you decide to stay together. Recovering from infidelity can be very difficult to do without some help.

Addictions And Divorce

Addiction can come in many forms, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography. In some cases, the addict can recover and the marriage can be repaired. In other cases, it is best for the spouse and children to separate from the addict to see if progress can be made. Each person has unique circumstances and must decide what is right for her or him. Again, consider turning to a trained professional and/or a religious leader to help you know how best to handle your situation.

Extramarital Affairs And Divorce

According to a report published by AARP, infidelity still plays a significant role in why people file for divorce. It is reported that about 17 percent of divorces are caused by one or both partners being unfaithful. However, usually there is an underlying reason that causes a spouse to cheat, including anger, resentment, having varied interests, growing apart, or unequal sexual appetites.

Physical Appearance And Divorce

Physical attraction to your partner can predict marital satisfaction in the long run. According to a recent study, conducted longitudinally, men reported feeling happy in their marriage if they perceived their wives as being attractive, with their satisfaction increasing over time. Women reported feeling about the same over time, without their satisfaction increasing or decreasing. For men, their spouse’s physical appearance can act as a future predictor for successful or unsuccessful marital outcomes.

Money And Divorce

In fact, lack of money can often cause marital problems to flare into a divorce filing. A married couple facing financial difficulties is often under a lot of stress, which in turn can lead to constant arguing and lack of communication. Couples who don’t see eye to eye on spending habits or that are in relationships where one spouse controls the finances are at risk for a divorce, with an estimated 40% of divorced couples noting this as the main reason for ending the relationship.

Lack of Communication And Divorce

Healthy communication is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to a successful marriage. If one or both partners are not willing to work through their communication issues, marital satisfaction declines as both partners’ needs are no longer being met. Once parties stop communicating effectively, marital troubles that can lead to divorce may not be too far behind.

Incompatibility And Divorce

Nothing stays the same. Over time people grow, develop, and change. Around 55 percent of divorced couples cite growing apart from their spouse as their primary reason for ending the marriage. When partners’ lives, interests, or dreams become incompatible, the marriage can begin to suffer as a result. Divorce Magazine reports that incompatibility is often the reason people end up filing for divorce. Incompatibility can also lead to a spouse seeking interaction with a person of the opposite sex, which can lead to infidelity.

Unhappiness

Unhappiness lies at the root of a high number of divorces. Sometimes individuals don’t realize that love is not enough to keep you happy. Some people get married and then realize that they are not cut out for marriage and what can come with that type of lifestyle. Research states that marital dissatisfaction is one of the top predictors for divorce.

Parenting Style Differences

Parenting is an even larger undertaking than getting married. Once children come into the picture, priorities change, lifestyles change, and for sure sleeping habits are impacted. Differences in parenting style is a major reason couples seek divorce. For example, imagine one parent believes in letting a child cry and the other believes in a more hands-on approach. Unless the parties can communicate and work out a common solution, issues like this could lead to a split.

Different Perceptions of Equality

A couple can marry with the expectation that both will share equally in the amount of work to run a household, as well as for expenses and financial decisions but in reality one spouse ends up in control or expected to do more than another. Or they can marry with an expectation based on their culture or religion that the division of labor and responsibilities will be unequal at the outset. Over time this can lead to anger and resentment by the spouse who feels they are treated unequally. If the couple cannot communicate and follow through with a respectful and fair distribution of labor and responsibilities for their home, finances and child rearing tasks, this can lead to a broken marriage and divorce.

Lack of Intimacy

Marriages were sex becomes rare or nonexistent are likely to end in divorce. Marriages can become sexless for several reasons, such as the partners growing emotionally apart, too busy and tired from work and caring for children or for medical issues, mental health problems and physical disabilities. Without counseling, marriages can fall apart without regular physical and emotional intimacy. About 15 to 20% of marriages in the U.S. are “sexless” and about 50% of these results in a divorce.

Medical Problems

One spouse suffering from a serious or debilitating illness can often lead to divorce. In addition to a health problem causing problems for physical intimacy, it can lead to substance abuse, depression and anxiety, as well as financial issues like debt. More often than not, research has found that it is an illness suffered by the wife that leads to divorce. A wife with a stroke and heart disease in particular appear to significantly increase the chance of divorce.

Religious Differences

Almost half of all marriages in the Utah are between interfaith couples. If these couples do not seriously discuss prior to marriage how religion will be handled in child rearing and other serious life events, divorce can result. Surveys have found that couples in interfaith marriages are at a risk of divorce that’s three times higher than non-interfaith couples.

Leading Causes of Divorce In Utah

When you see problems on the horizon within your marriage, it is best not to wait until they are beyond fixing to address them. If you review the most common reasons for divorce, many are issues that can be resolved if both parties are open to working on them. Finding appropriate marriage counselors or support groups can be a great way to begin working through marital issues that continue to crop up. Of course, in situations where violence and abuse are present, the safety of the victimized spouse and any children should be the primary concern. If you do decide to get divorced, take time to process your emotions and seek support if needed.

Utah Grounds for Divorce

In all divorce cases, couples must provide the court with a legal ground to terminate the marriage. Although there are different ways to apply for dissolution of marriage (divorce), every case requires the applicant to list a specific reason for the request. Some states allow parties to file for a fault divorce, which is where you claim that your spouse’s behavior during the marriage caused the relationship to fail. Acceptable grounds for fault divorce vary depending on where you live, but the most common include adultery, drug or alcohol abuse, or abandonment. All states permit couples to request a no-fault divorce, meaning that neither spouse is individually responsible for the breakup. Typically, no-fault divorces are based on irreconcilable differences. In these cases, couples need to prove to the court that despite your best efforts, there are too many issues in the relationship for reconciliation to be possible. The most appealing factor of no-fault divorce is that spouses can ask the court to terminate their marriage without the need for finger pointing or mud-slinging. Many states also offer a divorce based on a separation for a specific period of time.

Utah and No-Fault Divorce

If you’re not interested in airing your dirty laundry in a public courtroom setting, no-fault divorce is probably the best option for ending your relationship. Utah courts understand that many people, primarily parents, want to preserve what’s left of their bond after a divorce, so it allows couples to pursue a divorce using its no-fault procedures. For divorcing couples to be successful, the parties will need to explain to the court that their marriage has suffered irreconcilable differences. Judges don’t usually make it a habit of questioning the motives behind a no-fault divorce, so if you are willing to testify, under oath, that you and your spouse can’t work things out, a judge will grant your divorce. If you can’t prove irreconcilable differences to the court, you can also apply for a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have lived separate and apart from each other for a minimum of three years.

Your Spouse’s Bad Behavior May Help You Get a Divorce

No-fault divorce is by far the most popular method of ending a marriage, but for some couples, it’s not the right choice. As an alternative, Utah gives couples the option of petitioning the court for a divorce based on a spouse’s bad conduct during the marriage.
The acceptable reasons for a fault divorce in Utah include:
• impotency at the time of the marriage
• adultery by either party
• willful desertion for more than one year
• habitual drunkenness
• conviction of a felony
• cruel treatment to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress, and
• willful neglect to provide the standard necessities of life.
Other Requirements for Divorce
Like most states, Utah has a residency requirement that you must meet before you can file for divorce. Couples must demonstrate that the filing party has been a resident, continuously, for a minimum of three months. Additionally, there is a 90-day waiting period before the court can hold a hearing for your divorce. This waiting period was created by legislators to provide couples with a “cooling off” period, which may or may not assist the spouses in making meaningful, divorce-related issues, like property division and spousal support. Either party can ask the court to waive this waiting period. The person requesting a waiver would need to file a motion (request) with the court and provide the judge with extraordinary circumstances for their application. Utah law is unambiguous that if a divorcing couple has minor children from the marriage, the court can’t finalize the divorce until each parent has attended a mandatory course for divorcing parents and presented a certificate of completion to the judge. The court can, on its own or if one parent makes a motion, waive this requirement, but this doesn’t typically happen unless the couple can prove that the class isn’t necessary, appropriate, or feasible.

Divorce Lawyer

When you need legal help with a divorce, child support, child custody, asset division in divorce or modification of a divorce decree in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Divorce Mediation vs Divorce Collaboration

Divorce Mediation vs Divorce Collaboration

Neither mediation nor collaboration is necessarily going to be the best—or worst— choice in all cases. Which approach to use is determined by the unique circumstances of your case, your individual preferences, and the availability of good mediators or collaborative attorneys. Here are the most common factors that may influence your choice.

The key features of mediation are:
• neutral person (mediator) helps you negotiate
• mediator has no power to decide the case
• informal
• flexible
• no obligation to hire a lawyer or other adviser
• efficient—less time consuming than litigation, and
• inexpensive—compared to litigation.
The important features of collaborative divorce are:
• spouses are represented by collaborative attorneys
• spouses and attorneys sign a “no court” agreement (attorneys must withdraw if case goes to court)
• spouses and attorneys negotiate in “four-way” meetings
• attorneys may recommend involving collaborative professionals
• informal
• flexible
• more efficient than litigation, and
• less expensive than litigation.

Factors Favoring Collaboration

Need or desire for separate legal representation. If you need the guidance of an attorney looking out for your interests every step of the way, you might find collaborative divorce a better option. For example, your case might involve some complicated legal or financial issues that you don’t feel competent to negotiate. Or you may just be more comfortable with the idea of having a professional to confer with at every turn. In collaborative divorce, the two attorneys guide every aspect of the case, so this approach would address your need for representation throughout the process.

Power imbalance in your relationship

If there are long-standing dynamics in your relationship with your spouse that leave one or both of you feeling at a distinct disadvantage in conversations about difficult subjects, you might want the added insulation and structure provided by collaborative divorce. Having a good collaborative attorney at your elbow can sometimes give you more confidence in expressing what’s important to you, even in the face of your spouse’s disapproval. Or if you know you have a tendency to “take over” in conversations with your spouse, you might find it helpful to have a supportive attorney there to nudge you into respectful silence when necessary.

Downsides to Collaboration

The primary downside to collaboration is that if it doesn’t work, your collaborative lawyer is required to withdraw, and you have to start all over with a new lawyer and possibly new experts and advisers. This means a lot of expense and delay while you get your new lawyer up to speed and retain new professionals. Some lawyers are critical of collaborative divorce for this reason. In addition, some lawyers argue that collaborative law blurs the role of your attorney, who is expected to look for compromises and solutions acceptable to the other side while at the same time representing your interests. Of course, this criticism ignores the fact that if you have chosen to collaborate, you have decided that it is in your interests to find mutually acceptable solutions. Another argument that can be made against collaboration is that because lawyers are more involved in the negotiating process than they generally are in mediation, you may be less likely to arrive at creative solutions —solutions that are outside what the law might prescribe (for example, trading payments for education or job-training now for a shorter period paying alimony in the future). One of the strengths of a nonadversarial process is that the law is only a guidepost, not a prescription, and you are free to decide what actually will work for you. The more lawyers are involved in the process, the argument goes, the less outside-the-box thinking will be applied.
Finally, as in the case of an unsuccessful mediation, there is some risk that a case can become very adversarial if collaboration fails, because there can be a tendency to give up on ever reaching a reasonable settlement. A solution to this problem is to spend time developing an “exit plan” if it looks like collaboration is not working. However, this may not always be possible.

Factors Favoring Mediation

Flexibility and control over the process. Mediation is potentially more flexible than collaboration. For starters, you need only three participants for mediation to take place: you, your spouse, and the mediator. There’s nothing to stop you from adding other people to the process if and when you need them, but you’re not required to have attorneys—or other professionals—actively involved in the process.

Mediation is also likely to be more flexible than collaboration when it comes to the procedures you will follow. Most collaborative attorneys belong to a collaborative group with its own “protocols”—or rules—that will apply to cases handled by members of the group. This can be a good thing, because it minimizes the possibility of miscues between the professionals. But the trade-off is that you may have less input than you would like in how and when things happen in the case. This won’t happen in mediation, where you work directly with the mediator on deciding both the process and the substance of your case.

Efficiency and cost savings

Mediation is potentially more efficient and cost-effective than collaboration. Just from a logistical standpoint, coordinating the calendars of four or more people, at least two of whom are busy professionals, is a time-consuming endeavor, one that can add to the cost of the process. In addition, the active participation of two attorneys, and possibly other professionals, makes the cost almost certain to be higher than a mediation in which the two spouses meet alone with the mediator, even if they consult with lawyers and other experts from time to time.

Confidentiality

A few states have laws in place to protect the confidentiality of statements made during a mediation. No such laws have yet been enacted to protect the confidentiality of collaboration. You do share attorney-client confidentiality with your own collaborative lawyer, but the four-way meetings are not considered “confidential” settlement discussions, and the laws protecting settlement discussions are far from absolute. While you can—and should—sign a confidentiality agreement if you choose collaborative divorce, the enforceability of such an agreement may be subject to exceptions. If confidentiality is important to you, and if you are in a state with strong laws protecting mediation confidentiality, you might be better off mediating.

Downsides to Mediation

If you aren’t able to reach a settlement through mediation, you may have to start over, and you will have “lost” the money you spent on the mediation process. In some cases, your consulting lawyer might not be a litigator, forcing you to start over with a new lawyer for the contested case that could be your next step. (If you are concerned that mediation might not work, you should be sure you hire a consulting attorney who can go the distance with you.)

In addition, if mediation doesn’t result in an agreement, there is a temptation to completely abandon the idea of coming to a mutually acceptable settlement. If so, your case could become highly contentious. These downsides are fairly minimal, though, because the cost of mediation is generally so reasonable. Also, you may be able to shift over to a collaborative process or another non adversarial process rather than going into all-out litigation.

Divorce Mediation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with divorce mediation or divorce collaboration in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Is There Any Likelihood Of A Wife Keeping The House In Divorce?

Divorce Attorney

The house is often considered the trickiest of all assets in a divorce. On Day One as you approach divorce, you may be thinking, “My house is one of my biggest assets.” or “Maybe I want to keep it.” “What you really need to understand is that there’s a lot of due diligence to be done before making a decision on what to do with the house.” The hardest part is that there are many emotional and financial events that happen during a divorce. You might also tend to think, “I know my home. It’s the only consistent element to this whole disruptive process of divorce.” That’s why you might be inclined to want to stay or keep the house.

Major reasons why it’s so difficult to know what to do with the house in divorce:

• You are Distracted: Financial dilemmas layered on top of divorce are incredibly overwhelming and stressful. You are likely trying to maintain your current lifestyle, taking kids to sports, working or looking for a job. There are many things happening at once.

• Your House is a Symbol of Stability (and maybe even status): The house itself might come to symbolize some stability and consistency, especially for kids. They don’t want to change schools. It’s a safe-haven during times of disruption.

• Hard to Know Whether You Can Afford to Keep the House: Change is constant. House conditions, the economy, and job security may change; all affecting whether or not the house upkeep, taxes, bills, and mortgage are affordable. Real estate values are fluid. Let’s say that you decide to keep the house, and the value is determined to be $100,000. Then, something happens to the economy, or an interstate goes up in the backyard, or something happens to that value down the road. Can you withstand that?

• Sentimental Value: Your home feels priceless. Dissolving the marriage is emotional. You have poured your heart and soul into creating a loving home environment for your family. You have memories that are priceless and that cloud your ability to make rational decisions. “Most people think of their homes in regards to the memories attached to it. You don’t have memories attached to your 401K.”

Often time’s one spouse will express an interest in staying in the home after the divorce. “Usually but not always it is for the main reason of keeping the children stable after the divorce for a period of time, and to get them through the transition.” When it comes to who gets the house in divorce, “A court can order in the interim who stays or who goes, but what if a couple is in the house, and you are not sure what to do with it, and the house then could become a financial burden to one or both of you. If neither spouse can afford to live there, or if it is deemed not prudent for them to be there, then it’s not sensible for the children to be in that home. And because they cannot be supported adequately in that home, then a court may order the selling of the house and division of the proceeds. “If a spouse is awarded the house in the settlement agreement and they are currently not on title then they would be a ‘successor-in-interest.’ In other words, they are able to claim the title to the property via the signed marital settlement agreement. So they can do a mortgage refinance for divorce, but it would be a cash-out refinance because they aren’t on title. So they are limited to a mortgage amount of 85% of the value. They would have had to be on title for 12 months to do a rate and term refinance.”

Reasons to keep the house in your divorce

• You can afford it easily on your own. This means that after any refinance, buy-out, you can easily afford monthly mortgage payments, taxes, insurance and upkeep on your own income. If you require alimony or child support to stay in the address, that is too risky. You can create a single-mom budget easily on Tiller, an easy-to-use budgeting app.

• The home is the biggest financial asset for most couples. You walk away from that, you may lose a lot of assets even if he buys you out. Why? Historically, real estate has been a more stable investment when compared with stocks (recent years being an exception). Between 1978 and 2004, real estate appreciated an average of 8.6 percent per year. While stocks returned more than 13 percent during that time, they also saw more peaks and valleys. True, stocks grew more. However, that is just appreciation not including the wealth-building associated with paying off a mortgage, or the tax advantages.

• Because your household income is very likely to be lower post-divorce in the short-term, the tax write offs like mortgage interest and property taxes will be even more valuable post-divorce. Plus, if you were to sell your home, you can likely pocket most or all of the profits tax-free. Only a few investment vehicles provide such a tax perk.

• It may make sense to keep the house if it is easy to maintain on your own, without too much physical, emotional or financial cost. How to run a single-mom household like a boss

• You can make an argument for keeping in the event that it will help facilitate peaceful co-parenting. For example, if staying put means you can live closer to your now-ex, or closer to schools or each of your jobs, which makes everyone’s life more convenient, ‘happy co-parenting’ can be a reason to argue for staying put. Rules for co-parenting with even the most toxic ex

• The emotional reasons to keep the house include providing a measure of stability for you and your kids during a tumultuous time. This includes staying in the same schools and close to friends and neighbors who provided emotional and practical support. However, there are lots of very good reasons to let your marital home go whether to your ex, or to sell it on the market. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in my work, as well as have heard from divorce attorneys, is women’s insistence on keeping the marital home in divorce to her detriment.

Reasons Not to keep the house in divorce

• You can’t afford it. Accepting that your income is now lower after divorce, and therefore you lifestyle must change, is often very difficult especially for the lesser earning spouse, who unfortunately is usually the woman. Going into debt, facing losing that very home you so desperately want to hang on to, and the emotional turmoil that financial stress induces is just bad news. Don’t.

• Selling helps you move on. Houses are emotional things. That house likely represented a family and life that you wanted very much to succeed but things turned out differently. Nothing like new real estate (and furnishings!) to re-launch your new life, and put your old one behind you. The same goes for when you sell an engagement ring or some other item that you shared.

• A new home is empowering! Whether you are purchasing a new house or renting a place on your own, moms tell me that doing this solo is one of the most empowering things they’ve ever done.

• It (might) teach your kids financial responsibility financial. Because your home is likely your biggest financial asset, you should treat it with as little emotion as possible. Compromising your finances, emotional well-being and good sense for the sake of keeping a house you really like is not a good financial example for your kids.

• Selling (might) teach your children emotional resistance. Sometimes life sucks giant, hairy donkey balls. It just does. Divorce is usually like that. But showing a measure of grace, moving on, and making wise decisions for your whole family in the face of rotten times is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids.

A cash-out refinance means that you apply for and receive a new mortgage for more than you owe. Typically, you can cash-out up to 85 percent of your home’s value.

Pros of a cash-out refinance during a divorce

• Easy way to access cash during a time when you may not have a lot of it
• Interest rates on mortgages tend to be lower than if you were to do a home equity line of credit, home equity loan, personal loan, or credit card advance.
• Interest rates on your first mortgage are usually tax-deductible
• You can keep your home and don’t have to move, which can be important at a time when everything in your and your kids’ lives is in flux.
• The mortgage is now in your name only, removing your ex from the debt and deed — which can feel really powerful for you, and be an important step in separating from your marriage and starting your life anew.
Cons of a cash-out refinance during divorce:
• Compared with a home-equity line of credit or home equity loan, closing costs can be higher
• Signing a new mortgage may extend the period for which you pay for the home — even if monthly payments are the same or lower (this happened to me).
• Signing a new mortgage may increase the overall sum you will pay for the property if interest rates have increased since you first financed it.
• If the refinance means you end up with less than 20 percent equity in your property, you may need to add PMI, or private mortgage insurance, onto your loan.

Qualify for a cash-out refinance in your divorce

The qualifications for a cash-out refinance mortgage are the same as a new mortgage, in most cases. Because you are now divorced and seeking to own the home in your name only, the qualifications are for you as a single person (not as a couple). Since a cash-out refinance is essentially the same as taking out a new mortgage, requirements for qualifying are similar. Homeowners who own their homes and meet the following criteria may qualify:
• Good or excellent credit (FICO score of 670+)
• Significant home equity: at least 20 percent of the home’s value
• Ability to repay the loan
• A debt-to-income ratio including the new mortgage payment approved by the lender.

During divorce, finances are often very tight where there was once one household with two-income or one income plus a full-time person caring for the home and kids there are now two households, two sets of insurance premiums, and increased need for child care not to mention legal fees. Obtaining a new mortgage is a big commitment. Even though you may be emotionally tied to your current home, staying put is not always the best answer. Even if your mortgage payment stays the same after the refinance, you may not be able to afford it without stress and scramble every month. Also, while the thought of leaving your home may feel traumatic today, you may feel differently in months and years to come. In fact, you may want to break free from old memories and expectations that are attached to the home.

The decision whether to keep or sell the house should be made as a part of the overall global settlement. Consider the assets and debt you expect to obtain in the divorce settlement, your anticipated income and any anticipated support you may receive (alimony or child support). Also consider the tax effects, such as the mortgage interest deduction, which may decrease your tax burden and therefore increase the amount of your income available to you. If you cannot comfortably afford the housing expenses, it might be best to consider selling the house and replacing it with something more affordable. Take your time with this decision and utilize all of the resources available to you: your lawyer, accountant, financial planner, and a trusted friend or family member who is knowledgeable in these matters.

Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Is Divorce In Utah Easy?

Is Divorce In Utah Easy?

If you enter into marriage under the age of 20 and/or have an income of less than 25,000, your risk of divorce skyrockets. Throw in a spouse losing their job or a surprise pregnancy, and your marriage may be doomed before it begins. Here in Utah, we have a tendency to marry quite young. The median age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men. Now compare that to the average age of marriage in Utah, which is 24 for women and 26 for men.

Divorce Has Declined Nearly Everywhere Except Utah

Utah’s divorce rates run slightly higher than the national average. Statistics often attribute this to Utah having larger families than the national average, citing more than 5% of families have 7+ family members compared to the 3.25 national average (2013).

Utah Requires Divorcing Couples to Attend a Divorce Education Class
Utah legislators have created a mandatory divorce orientation course that couples must complete. Your divorce cannot be finalized until both you and your significant other have completed the course. You are only required to take the divorce education class if there are minor children involved. The one-time class reviews resources for custody and child support issues, clarifies the divorce process, and consequences of divorce. More information about Utah Divorce class requirements and fees can be found here.

People May Judge You and Ask Why

The news that you are getting divorced has spread through your church, neighborhood, and/or workplace, and we are a curious species. Don’t be surprised when people you barely know ask you why you the nitty-gritty on why you are getting divorced. Insensitive comments such as, “did she leave you for someone younger?” and other flagrant comments are to be expected. For the sake of your children, you may not wish to respond in detail.
While you are preparing your financials for your divorce, be sure to take some time to handle the emotional side as well. People may even tell you that they haven’t liked your ex since before you got married. They are not usually trying to make you feel bad; quite the opposite, they are usually trying to tell you that they agree with your decision and are trying to make you feel better. My point – PREPARE YOURSELF for these comments.
Friends and family members may also take sides or disappear completely. You may be the spouse who was cheated on, and people may still not take your side. Divorce is a distressing topic, and people may want to distance themselves from the perceived drama. Just remember to stay true to yourself, cut out the negative people, and create a foundation of support. Divorce gets easier as time goes on, and surrounding yourself with those that will help you weather the storm helps the process move faster.

You May Feel Terrible About Getting a Divorce – It’s OK

There is much guilt and regret present in nearly every divorce. You may easily blame yourself because you run through all the things you could have done differently, because your children blame you, or you may feel guilty simply because you were the one who filed the divorce papers. This is normal!! Make a choice to move forward, and take care of yourself. Throughout the divorce process you will have good days and bad days. Feeling guilty or overwhelmed does not mean that you should give the other spouse everything. Doing so will probably not lessen the grief on either side, and you are still entitled to half of everything.

Additionally, people may want to tell you their divorce horror stories. Please remember that every situation is different, and you shouldn’t let someone else’s negative experience stress you out. When you are feeling stressed, rely on professional advice from your family law attorney, mental health counselor, or financial advisor as they are qualified to give you answers pertaining to your specific situation.

Parenting After Divorce May Become More Difficult

There will be many disagreements – maybe not fair or logical ones. There may be pain when you refer to your ex as “mommy” to your kids, however that is her name to them, and you need to be the adult about it. No matter what are your kids are, please practice HIGH levels of self-control and not bad mouth the other parent in front of your children. You may think with the other spouse out of the picture, that you can make all parenting decisions by yourself. If you’re granted sole legal custody, then you can make major decision about the kid(s) by yourself. Having sole physical custody simply means that you are the parent the kid(s) live with. Make a choice to try to co-parent as best you can. If you can’t get along, you may need to have separate birthdays, and the more times in your kids’ lives you are going to miss out on. Just because you are divorced, doesn’t mean that you have to be enemies.

If the Utah Divorce Decree is Violated, There Can be Serious Consequences.
Once the court has ruled and the papers have been signed, both parties are bound to the terms set forth in the divorce decree. Violating any part of the agreement may put the violator in contempt of court, and your family law attorney can help you file a contempt motion. The most common divorce violations are non-payment of child support, not complying with the visitation schedule, withholding visitation, and non-payment of alimony. If your ex does not bring the kids back at the time set forth in the divorce decree, the police will not help you bring them back unless there is an immediate threat to them. What the police will do is come to your house and make a record of “visitation interference,” which your family law attorney can use as evidence in a contempt hearing. In your court hearing you must be able to state what areas of the decree have been violated, and the burden of proof always lies with the accuser. If you are found in contempt, the violator may be given a period of time to correct the issue or they may face jail time until the matter is resolved.

If you ex is not paying alimony or child support due to unemployment, you can’t make your spouse pay if they do not bring in an income, however, past due child support will accrue. Your family law attorney will likely recommend that you contact the Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS). The ORS makes sure that Utah parents are responsible for their children’s support, and can help you collect a judgment. Click here for more information on the Office of Recovery Services.

Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney

I understand that a Utah Divorce is emotionally exhausting, even outside of the legal realm. We are a family-owned law firm specializing in handling many difficult circumstances when it comes to Salt Lake City family law situations. We specialize on father’s rights in Utah and are equally skilled in representing a mother’s position as well. Whether you are dealing with divorce, separation, alimony, child support, custody, paternity, domestic violence, or visitation issues, Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law can help. We offer legal representation that is cost-efficient and trustworthy. Call us to take advantage of our free divorce consultation.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce (DIY Divorce)

For uncontested divorces, our most popular service offered is our Do-It-Yourself Divorce. Doing your own divorce through Utah Legal Clinic is easy and economical. The process will save you substantial money and allows you to end a marriage with minimum involvement by lawyers and the legal system. We have been helping people in Utah do their own divorces since 1973. To qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be completely uncontested. This means you and your spouse must be in full agreement as to all terms. Many times, Utah Legal Clinic can determine quickly over the phone if you qualify for the Do-It-Yourself Divorce service. In most cases, no court hearing is required for uncontested divorces.

We recommend that you come in and visit us and stay away from do it yourself divorce stuff. You wouldn’t do your own dental work. You would do your own open heart surgery. Don’t do your own divorce.
• Intake appointment with a Paralegal and/or Attorney to determine that you qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce;
• Preparation of all necessary documents;
• Notary for all your signatures requiring a notary on the divorce paperwork;
• Detailed step-by-step instructions for filing your own papers and getting all necessary signatures from your spouse;
• Copies of all executed documents for you;
• Copies of all executed documents for your spouse;
• Assistance throughout the steps of your “Do-It-Yourself Divorce,” if needed.

Who Is Eligible?

In order to represent yourself, that is for you to do your own Do-It-Yourself Divorce, both you and your spouse must agree upon all terms of the divorce such as debt division, property division, and child custody.
In order to complete a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be simple. Parties that have been separated for a long time, who have few debts, and who have already physically divided all of their property can easily proceed with a Do-It-Yourself Divorce. We encourage you to have already mutually agreed with your spouse as to all terms of the divorce before you come in for your appointment. You should prepare a complete list of all items that have been resolved, how debts and property should be divided, etc. Our office can help you determine if your divorce is considered simple. Representing yourself in a divorce involving complicated terms or extensive debts and property is discouraged.

Filing Fees

The filing fee for a divorce in Utah is $318. That fee is paid directly to the Court when you file your divorce papers. In some circumstances the filing fee may be waived. For more information on waivers, you can visit the Court’s website.

Utah’s waiting period and other requirements

In Utah, you can expect your divorce to take at least one month. Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 provides that couples must wait 30 days after filing their divorce petition before a final order can be entered.
Prior to 2019, there was a 90-day waiting period was required in divorce cases. The waiting period could also be waived for any good cause set forth in the divorce papers.
In 2012, the Utah legislature amended Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 to prevent parties from waiving the 90-day waiting period unless they can establish extraordinary circumstances. While it remains, unclear what may qualify as extraordinary circumstances, it is clear that the legislature wanted to make it more difficult for couples to get a speedy divorce. Under the prior version of the statute, couples needed only to assert that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to reconciliation and that they were certain any further attempts to save the marriage would be futile. Now, couples will need to show that there is some other pressing reason, such as a new marriage or extraordinary financial situations, in order to obtain a waiver of the mandatory waiting period.
Even under the best set of circumstances, it will likely take at least 90 days after you file your Utah Petition for Divorce to obtain a final order. If the divorce is contested or the required papers are not filed, the divorce may take much longer. There are numerous affidavits, information sheets and other documents which must be filed with the court before the judge will enter the Decree of Divorce.

With contested divorce cases, it may take years to obtain a Decree of Divorce. Couples are required to fully disclose all financial assets through a lengthy discovery process. It may be necessary to retain other professional to assist in the division of property, such as forensic accountants, home appraisers and tax experts. Couples with children frequently retain guardian ad litem attorneys to interview the children or psychologists to complete a thorough custody evaluation.
Hopefully, Utah lawmakers will eventually realize the need for a faster and simpler divorce process. The current Utah belief seems to be that the courts can save marriages by slowing down the divorce process. When a couple decides that their marriage is so irretrievably broken that they need to divorce, it is generally not in anyone’s best interests to try to keep that couple together. Nobody knows whether a marriage can be saved better than the two individuals who are living in that marriage. If a couple is able to work out a divorce resolution without court intervention, Utah should let them be divorced.

The family law team at Ascent Law LLC understands the need to have divorce cases handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. Family law attorney Hailey Black can guide you through a contested divorce or work with you to ensure all required papers for your uncontested divorce are in order. During your initial consultation, we will advise you on your options and provide you with an approximate timeline for resolving your divorce case.

With Children

If you have minor children from your marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend a mandatory one-hour Divorce Orientation and a two-hour Divorce Education Class. Information about both classes can be found at Utah Courts. The cost for the Divorce Orientation is $20 per parent, and the cost for the Divorce Education Class is $35 per parent, for a total per-parent cost of $55. The costs to attend those required Courses are the responsibility of each parent. Proof of attendance for both you and your spouse must be filed with the Court prior to your divorce being entered. You should plan on attending the orientation and parenting class as soon as possible after you have filed your initial papers and received your case number. You do not have to attend that class with your spouse.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First In Utah?

Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First In Utah

Ultimately it does not matter.

When marriages begin to fall apart, most spouses know that something is wrong. However, many spouses are hesitant to be the first one to file for divorce. Some are unsure about whether divorce is really the solution, others may wonder if they are being hasty and still others may just not know how to proceed. While people’s hesitation to file divorce is understandable, people considering divorce should be aware of the potential benefits that accompany being the first spouse to file for divorce.

Financial Benefits of Filing For Divorce First

Being the first spouse to file divorce means that a person can begin the proceedings at a time when he or she is financially prepared to do so. A person would have had time to collect copies of all important legal documents, such as deeds, bank and investment account statements, wills, life insurance policies, social security cards, titles to property. They will need these papers as part of the property division process, and it may be more difficult to obtain copies after the divorce starts. Also, a person can assess the family finances and determine the extent of their assets and debts, so they will have an accurate idea of what will be divided in the property division. People filing for divorce first also have the advantage of doing so after they have ensured that they have access to money and credit to meet their needs during the divorce process.

Possible Legal Benefits Of Filing First

One of the main legal advantages that a person gains by filing the divorce petition before his or her spouse does is that the filer can request a Standing Order from the court when filing the petition. Such an order prevents either spouse from making changes to beneficiaries on policies such as life insurance or retirement accounts, selling, borrowing against or transferring property, changing bank accounts and other similar financial moves. This can be important if the spouse filing divorce suspects that the other spouse will attempt to hide assets. The person who files for divorce also chooses the jurisdiction in which they litigate the divorce. In situations where spouses have lived apart from each other for a substantial period of time, possibly great distances from each other, filing the divorce petition first can prevent having to conduct matters related to the divorce far away from where a person lives.

If the matter should go to a hearing, the person who files the petition usually presents his or her case first. This can be a drawback for a spouse if he or she does not wish to reveal his or her strategy to the other spouse. The other spouse then has the opportunity to adjust the presentation of his or her case after seeing the other side.

Advantages of Filing First

If you file the initial Utah divorce petition, the court considers you to be the petitioner. Being the petitioner can be beneficial for several reasons:

• You don’t have to scramble to select a divorce attorney in time to file a response.

• You get to choose a convenient start time and establish deadlines for the case.

• You have time to prepare for the financial costs of divorce.

• You may have more of an opportunity to protect community assets.

• You won’t have to worry about your spouse stalling the divorce.

Advantages of Being the Respondent

If your spouse serves you with divorce papers, you’re the respondent. While playing this role may not have as many obvious advantages, being the respondent can be beneficial because:

• You have a chance to review your spouse’s requests before making decisions.

• Your divorce attorney can build an effective strategy based on the petition.

• You save money on filing fees and, in some cases, on service fees.
If you’re the respondent, you need to seek out legal counsel as soon as you’re served. You only have 21 days to respond if you were served in Utah, or 30 days if you were served outside of the state. If you fail to file a response within that time, the court may grant a default judgment, giving your spouse exactly what they have requested. Many people want to file first, but there are no consequences to being the respondent. Both parties in a Utah divorce are equal in the eyes of the law, and both have the opportunity to present their case. In the end, it won’t matter whether you’re the petitioner or respondent. Your Utah divorce attorney will be on your side, fighting for your rights and working to achieve the best possible outcome. If your marriage is over and you’re ready to file for divorce, having a skilled advocate in your corner is far more important than being the first to the courthouse.

The Divorce Process

A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse (the petitioner) and served on the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. It does not matter where the marriage occurred. The petition includes important information regarding the marriage. It names the husband, wife and any children and states if there is any separate property or community property, child custody, and child or spousal support.

Serving the Divorce Petition

The petition (or the divorce papers) must be served on the other spouse. This phase of the process is called “service of process.” If both spouses agree to the divorce, the other spouse only needs to sign an acknowledgement of the receipt of service. However, if the other spouse refuses to sign or is difficult to locate, you can hire a professional process server to personally deliver the papers. Completing service of process starts the clock running on your state’s waiting period. It also sets automatic restraining orders on the spouses and helps establish the date of separation. At this point, the spouses are not permitted to take any children out of state, sell any property, borrow against property, or borrow or sell insurance held for the other spouse.

Divorce Petition Response

The other spouse is known as the “respondent.” Although it’s not required, the respondent can file a response to the petition saying he or she agrees. Filing a response shows both parties agree to the divorce. This makes it more likely the case will proceed without a court hearing, which could delay the process and cost more. Generally, if a response is not filed within 30 days, the petitioner can request that a default be entered by the court. The responding spouse can also use the response to disagree with information presented in the petition.

Final Steps of a Divorce

Both spouses are required to disclose information regarding their assets, liabilities, income and expenses. If the divorce is uncontested and the spouses can agree on the terms of the divorce, there is only a bit more paperwork to file. Once the court enters the judgment, the divorce is final. However, the marriage is not formally dissolved and the spouses cannot remarry until the end of the state’s waiting period. If there are disputes that cannot be resolved, court hearings and maybe even a trial will be required.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse are worried about expensive, protracted court hearings, you can probably relax. According to CBS News, only about 5% of cases ever make it to trial. Other sources cite the number as being less than 5%. While estimates vary depending on who you ask, it’s easy to see what they all share in common: they’re tiny. Even in the worst case scenario, the likelihood of going to trial is minimal. That being said, it’s certainly not unheard-of. The good news is that the course your divorce follows is largely up to you and your spouse. In order to understand why, you have to have a general understanding of the Utah divorce process.

First, the petitioner files a complaint (petition) for divorce, which initiates the legal process. The spouse on whom the petition is served is known as the respondent. Once the respondent has been served with divorce papers, he or she has just 21 days to file an answer. (Out-of-state respondents have 30 days.) The nature of the respondent’s answer can set the divorce down a few different paths:

• If the respondent fails to file an answer within the allotted time period, then the petitioner can ask the judge to grant a default judgment. Ignoring divorce papers will not stop the divorce from happening; it will simply strip the respondent of his or her legal ability to challenge the petitioner’s demands.

• If the respondent agrees to everything in the complaint, including requests for alimony and/or child support payments, then the divorce is uncontested. If a divorce is uncontested, you can move ahead with the divorce process by filing the appropriate forms. However, even if you and your spouse are able to agree on the petitioner’s proposals regarding division of property, child support, and so forth, it is prudent to retain a family law attorney to ensure the proper and timely filing of legal documents. Some of the documents you will need to file include:

• Acceptance of Service
• Affidavit
• Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, or Annulment
• Financial Declaration
• Stipulation
• Summons
• If the respondent disagrees with something in the complaint – for example, he or she wants to fight for sole custody instead of agreeing to joint custody – then the divorce is contested.

Even if aspects of the divorce are being disputed, it still doesn’t mean that trial is inevitable or even necessary. If you and your spouse initially disagree on how matters like custody, alimony, and division of property should be handled, then you will be sent to mandatory mediation. Mediation is not like litigation (going to court). In litigation, the parties stand in opposition to one another, and each party seeks a different outcome. A judge presides over the trial, and renders a judgment based on the facts which are presented. If the court’s orders aren’t obeyed for instance, if a spouse stops paying child support, rather than trying to have the terms of the support order modified then the non-compliant person is in contempt of court and can be fined and jailed. In mediation, a qualified mediator works with both parties to help them come to a resolution that both people can agree on. While mediation isn’t always effective, it does have several distinct advantages over litigation: it tends to be quicker, less expensive, and less formal. Plus, because mediation is inherently less adversarial than litigation, it can be desirable for divorcing spouses who want to stay on good terms for the sake of their children. Trial is essentially a last resort, the final method of resolving the disagreements between you and your spouse. If mediation fails to solve your disputed matters, it will become necessary to go to trial before a judge. You and your spouse are not officially divorced until the judge grants the final divorce decree. However, even at this stage, either party may appeal if he or she disagrees with some aspect of the judge’s decision. The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decree’s entry.

Divorce in Utah

If you enter into marriage under the age of 20 and/or have an income of less than 25,000, your risk of divorce skyrockets. Throw in a spouse losing their job or a surprise pregnancy, and your marriage may be doomed before it begins. Here in Utah, we have a tendency to marry quite young. The median age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men. Now compare that to the average age of marriage in Utah, which is 24 for women and 26 for men.

Utah’s divorce rates run slightly higher than the national average. Statistics often attribute this to Utah having larger families than the national average, citing more than 5% of families have 7+ family members compared to the 3.25 national averages (2013).

Utah Requires Divorcing Couples to Attend a Divorce Education Class
Utah legislators have created a mandatory divorce orientation course that couples must complete. Your divorce cannot be finalized until both you and your significant other have completed the course. You are only required to take the divorce education class if there are minor children involved. The one-time class reviews resources for custody and child support issues, clarifies the divorce process, and consequences of divorce.

The news that you are getting divorced has spread through your church, neighborhood, and/or workplace, and we are a curious species. Don’t be surprised when people you barely know ask you why you the nitty-gritty on why you are getting divorced. There is much guilt and regret present in nearly every divorce. You may easily blame yourself because you run through all the things you could have done differently, because your children blame you, or you may feel guilty simply because you were the one who filed the divorce papers. This is normal!! Make a choice to move forward, and take care of yourself. Throughout the divorce process you will have good days and bad days. Feeling guilty or overwhelmed does not mean that you should give the other spouse everything. Doing so will probably not lessen the grief on either side, and you are still entitled to half of everything. Additionally, people may want to tell you their divorce horror stories. Please remember that every situation is different, and you shouldn’t let someone else’s negative experience stress you out. When you are feeling stressed, rely on professional advice from your family law attorney, mental health counselor, or financial advisor as they are qualified to give you answers pertaining to your specific situation.

Parenting after Divorce May Become More Difficult

There will be many disagreements maybe not fair or logical ones. There may be pain when you refer to your ex as “mommy” to your kids, however that is her name to them, and you need to be the adult about it. No matter what age your kids are, please practice high levels of self-control and not bad mouth the other parent in front of your children. You may think with the other spouse out of the picture, that you can make all parenting decisions by yourself. If you’re granted sole legal custody, then you can make major decision about the kid(s) by yourself. Having sole physical custody simply means that you are the parent the kid(s) live with. Make a choice to try to co-parent as best you can. If you can’t get along, you may need to have separate birthdays, and the more times in your kids’ lives you are going to miss out on. Just because you are divorced, doesn’t mean that you have to be enemies.

If the Utah Divorce Decree is Violated, There can be Serious Consequences.
Once the court has ruled and the papers have been signed, both parties are bound to the terms set forth in the divorce decree. Violating any part of the agreement may put the violator in contempt of court, and your family law attorney can help you file a contempt motion. The most common divorce violations are non-payment of child support, not complying with the visitation schedule, withholding visitation, and non-payment of alimony. If your ex does not bring the kids back at the time set forth in the divorce decree, the police will not help you bring them back unless there is an immediate threat to them. What the police will do is come to your house and makes a record of “visitation interference,” which your family law attorney can use as evidence in a contempt hearing. In your court hearing you must be able to state what areas of the decree have been violated, and the burden of proof always lies with the accuser. If you are found in contempt, the violator may be given a period of time to correct the issue or they may face jail time until the matter is resolved. If you ex is not paying alimony or child support due to unemployment, you can’t make your spouse pay if they do not bring in an income, however, past due child support will accrue.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Why Should I Get A Legal Separation In Utah?

Why Should I Get A Legal Separation

No one can stop you from getting a legally separated if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t follow proper legal procedure, a judge can deny your separation, forcing you to start over. Your spouse can’t stop you, but she can complicate the process.

• Decide what ground you want to use to file for your separation. All states require that you give a reason in your divorce petition for ending your marriage. All states also provide for some version of no-fault divorce. In either case, you have the burden of proof to show the court your ground exists. If you chose a fault ground when your spouse is already resisting the divorce, you’ll provide her with an opportunity to contest it by denying the wrongdoing. She generally can’t contest a no-fault ground.

• Research the rules for service of process in your state. You can call your county court, a legal aid center, your local paralegal association or consult with a lawyer. Make sure you understand exactly what you have to do to ensure that your spouse legally receives a copy of your divorce petition after you file it. If you err, your spouse can say she wasn’t properly served and block your divorce proceedings. You could still get a divorce, but you’d have to start the process all over again.

• Wait out the period of time your state gives your spouse to answer your divorce petition. If she files a response with the court, you’ll probably have to resolve your divorce by trial; she won’t agree to a settlement if she doesn’t want the divorce.

• Call the court again to find out how you can move forward with a default judgment if your spouse ignores your divorce papers and doesn’t answer them within the allotted time. In most states, this requires filing a request for default, then appearing at a hearing to testify that you’ve met your state’s filing requirements and to prove your ground. If you chose a no-fault option, your opinion that your marriage is over is usually enough. Otherwise, you might have the added task of convincing the judge that your ground happened, such as by proving adultery or cruelty.

• Prepare for trial if your spouse does answer your divorce petition. If you used a no-fault ground, the trial will only address issues of property division, support and custody of your children. Gather all documentation you can to prove the value of your assets and the extent of your debts and write a proposed parenting plan to address custody and time with your children. If you filed on a fault ground, be prepared to substantiate it, just as you would have to have done at a default hearing. In a trial, however, your spouse can raise defenses against your ground, such as that you condoned her behavior. If she’s successful, the judge won’t grant your divorce on that ground, and you’ll have to start over, filing a new petition and using a ground she can’t disprove.

Signs You Definitely Need to Get Legally Separated

If you’ve been considering divorce, you may be wondering whether it’s the right decision. It’s normal to have doubts creep into your mind from time to time, but sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and closely evaluate the situation.

• You’d rather be alone: When you think about the possibility of being single again, you get downright giddy. In fact, you’re already picking outfits for future dates with your crush. If the thought of divorce gives you the giggles, you may want to turn that thought into action.

• Your spouse’s touch makes your skin crawl: His or her touch gives you goose bumps but not in a good way. In fact, it feels like a thousand ants on your skin. This is bad real bad. In a loving, healthy relationship, you should be longing for caressing, cuddling, kissing, and all the wonderful things that come with being with someone you love. If this is not the case, you need to get to the bottom of why you are suddenly repulsed. This alone may not be reason enough to get divorced, but it does signal some serious trouble in paradise.

• You cheated several times: If you or your spouse is getting some action on the side, it’s a clear sign that you have some serious issues. Once you’ve gone this far, your best bet is to take the next steps and file for divorce. You may also want to get checked for STDs while you’re at it.

• You wouldn’t stay even if your partner changed: What is it that needs to change for you to feel good about staying in the relationship? If it’s an issue that can be easily resolved, you might be able to work through it together. If it can’t be resolved, a divorce might be in your future. Whatever you do, resist demanding that your spouse change, and don’t resort to making ultimatums. This behavior will likely cause your spouse to become defensive and do just the opposite of what you are requesting.

• You don’t see a future with your spouse: In the next five years, you imagine a wonderful future full of success. You get to where you want to be in your career, you finally get up the nerve to move to a new city, and you are truly happy. However, your dreams don’t include your significant other. If you can’t see how your spouse fits into your life, do yourself a favor and find someone who does.

• You just don’t care anymore: Your spouse did something that would normally make your blood boil, but now it doesn’t faze you. At this point in your relationship, you’ve checked out emotionally. If there is just no desire to work on your marriage, you’re pretty much done. It takes two people to make a marriage work. Either seeks counseling to see how you can make some needed changes or prepare to jump ship.

• You have too much resentment: The root of every divorce, no matter if it involves adultery, growing apart, arguing a lot, or not being able to agree, stems from the larger root of resentment. At some point in any relationship, someone will harbor resentment for their significant other, which follows the common belief that love and hate is practically the same thing. Resentment can basically heighten throughout the relationship. The key to a successful relationship is to not harbor the resentment, but rather deal with it before it takes on a life of its own. If you or your spouse is feeling resentment, talk it out or consider couple’s counseling.

• Marriage counseling hasn’t helped: Perhaps you’ve gone down this road with your partner before, and nothing has changed. Your needs are still not being fulfilled, and you’re still feeling like you’re better off alone. If you feel as if even the professionals can’t help you, then it might be time for a divorce.

• You know your exact reason for a divorce: Take time to explore what it is about the marriage that is making you want to give up. What exactly is motivating your decision? “Whether you are unhappy or hopeless or too tired to keep trying, understanding your reasoning helps ground you in your decision. And the more that decision is grounded in you wanting something more or different and less about what your spouse did or didn’t do, the easier it will be to deal with the divorce, mourn the loss of this relationship, and move on

• You got married to fix your problems: Just as having kids won’t fix problems that already exist in your marriage, getting hitched in the first place certainly won’t fix any underlying relationship issues either. Marriage won’t solve problems, such as feeling lonely and being unhappy. If you got married because you thought it’d solve your personal or relationship issues, it won’t be long before you realize it was too soon.

In order to get a divorce in Utah, you don’t have to be legally separated first. You can simply file with the court without anyone’s consent, you can show the court:

• That you do not know where your spouse is residing.

• What you have done to locate them, such as contacting relatives and friends, searching the electoral roll, or enquiring with their employer. If you have an address for your spouse, or could locate them through friends or family this will reduce the costs of your divorce.

The Benefits of Legal Separation

Legal separation is very similar to a divorce except for the fact that the marriage is not terminated. For some couples, it may be more beneficial to become legally separated as opposed to getting a divorce. Legal separation and divorce are very similar and they hold basically the same legal functions except for the fact that with a separation, you do not terminate your marital status. When a couple decides to become legally separated, it is not merely a verbal agreement. They can’t simply say that they are not in love anymore and one of them will move out of the family home. Instead, they must go through the same process as couples who wish to undergo a divorce. In a legal separation, the same issues will be addressed as in the termination of a marriage. The couple will have to sort out issues relating to asset division, property division, child support, child custody, visitation and spousal support payments (if there are any). The couple will also have to decide who will pay which debts as well.

There are a number of reasons why parties choose this rather than divorce, and the reasons are usually personal. People can choose separation for religious reasons, personal beliefs, health insurance concerns, or other financial reasons. Oftentimes couples will decide to remain married for one of two reasons: either for the sake of their children, or for a financial reason. For example, if a non-employee spouse has a pre-existing medical condition or some other serious medical condition; they may need to stay on their spouse’s medical insurance so they can keep getting necessary medical care. In some cases the couple may need to remain legally wed until they reach the ten-year deadline for certain Social Security benefits. This holds true for the ten-year deadline for military enforcement advantages or, the twenty-year deadline for PX and commissary benefits. There is another substantial benefit and reason why people choose legal separation and it has nothing to do with health insurance or money. They may be unsure if they really want to end their marriage; therefore, the time apart offers them a cooling off period where they can have time to think about what they really want. They may realize that they really do love each other, and later decide that they want to get back together. It’s a lot easier to get back together after legally spending time away from one another as opposed to having to go through the process of remarrying.

Religion and culture can play a significant role in why couples decide to separate instead of divorcing altogether. In certain religions, divorce carries a negative stigma that many couples wish to avoid. With legal separation the couples can enjoy all the material benefits of a divorce without having to deal with the negative stigma attached. Separation does not allow for remarriage unless the marriage is terminated through a divorce, but it can be assumed that people who part for religious reasons don’t plan to remarry anyway. In many cases it is more affordable for the spouses, especially when the dependent spouse relies heavily on their spouse for medical insurance. When you factor in the quality of life enjoyed through the marriage, along with how much money it would cost for the dependant spouse to take out their own medical coverage (similar to what their spouse has been carrying), then it can be reflected in the alimony payments. Sometimes it is less expensive and allows the dependent spouse to remain on the health insurance, as opposed to paying them larger alimony payments, thus saving the expense for both parties.

Getting a separation in Utah does require some legal paperwork and going through the court system. The same as in a divorce, you want to have a qualified attorney representing your best interests when handling important matters such as child custody, child support, asset division, property division and possible spousal support payments. If you would like to enjoy the benefits of a legal separation, contact a skilled and knowledgeable divorce attorney without delay!

Legal Separation In Utah Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a separation in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Can Infidelity Affect Alimony?

Can Infidelity Affect Alimony

Infidelity is only 1 factor that the court may look at when it comes to alimony awards. It is not the only factor. There are other factors the court will consider.

Infidelity as a violation according to the subjective feeling that one’s partner has violated a set of rules or relationship norms; this violation results in feelings of anger, jealousy, sexual jealousy, and rivalry. What constitutes an act of infidelity depends upon the exclusivity expectations within the relationship. In marital relationships, exclusivity expectations are commonly assumed, although they are not always met. When they are not met, research has found that psychological damage can occur, including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence, and damage to self-image. Depending on the context, men and women can experience social consequences if their act of infidelity becomes public. The form and extent of these consequences are often dependent on the gender of the unfaithful person. One measure of infidelity among couples is the frequency of children secretly conceived with a different partner, leading to non-paternities. Such covertly illegitimate children amount to about 1–2% of newborns in studied populations.

Why Infidelity Happens

The term cheating is one that elicits cringes of fear, gasps of horror. Most likely you imagine that a partner in a committed relationship had sexual intercourse with someone outside of their relationship. But cheating can look like many things to many people. To some it may indeed refer to sexual intercourse only. To others it could be anything from an emotional attachment to another, fantasies of other partners, a kiss. Rather than use the term cheating here, something that makes me think more of copying someone else’s answers on a test and less about who you share your body or heart with and when.

Therefore, Infidelity as any action that violates an implicit or explicit agreement between two people thereby is undermining the relationship. The action may be physical or emotional in nature. Dishonesty is often but certainly not always part of an infidelity. To most couples, infidelity signifies a crisis, and they come in flooded with emotion and fairly deregulated. The infidelity sits in the room like another person or an object that was propelled into the scene like a bomb, ravaging lives. Life becomes polarized into before’s and after’s. Some can repair the damage done; turn an infidelity into an opportunity for growth and reconnection. And some can’t, the loss of trust being irreparable for one, the continued anger and blame intolerable for the other. Everything has a price especially in affairs of the heart. Sometimes you pay in dollars. Sometimes you pay in emotional turmoil. Often you pay in both. For better or for worse, alimony, infidelity and divorce are often hopelessly intertwined.

Emotional Price of Adultery

It goes without saying that having an affair can destroy your marriage. While plenty of couples rebound from infidelity, just as many (probably more) don’t. A spouse’s affair is often the death knell for a marriage. Even in those marriages that survive an affair, a spouse’s cheating destroys the trust that formed the foundation for the relationship. While that trust can be rebuilt, most couples don’t have the stomach or the stamina to try to do so. That’s especially true if their marriage was flagging long before the affair took place. But, adultery does more than just devastate your marriage, and your heart. When adultery leads to divorce, it wreaks havoc on your finances too. Fortunately or unfortunately depending upon which side of the affair you’re on marital infidelity doesn’t have nearly as big of an impact on the financial side of divorce as it once did.

Legal Price of Adultery

Historically, adultery is one of the oldest grounds for divorce. In many countries, adultery was punishable by death. Adultery still is punishable by death in several countries in the Middle East and Africa. It is also still a crime in many states in the United States. But, adultery is rarely, if ever, prosecuted any more. In addition to being a crime, adultery may also form the basis for civil lawsuits in many states. Again, however, such cases are rarely pursued today. When they are pursued, they are even more rarely successful. In today’s world, the place where adultery has its biggest effect is in divorce. Yet, even that effect is waning. When divorce was based on “fault,” proving your spouse was unfaithful was often the key to getting a divorce. If both spouses were faithful, the law didn’t allow you to get divorced, no matter how miserable you were. (That is, of course, unless you could prove that your spouse had done something else that warranted divorce like subjecting you to mental or physical cruelty.) But now that “irreconcilable differences” is recognized as a ground for divorce, you no longer have to catch your spouse in the act in order to end your marriage. Yet, adultery still plays a significant role in divorce.

Effect of Adultery on Divorce

With the advent of no-fault, seeking a divorce based upon adultery became less and less common. While scorned spouses still may get emotional satisfaction from filing divorce papers that publicly proclaim that their spouse cheated on them, there is little legal reason to pursue that kind of claim. Infidelity generally has no impact on custody, child support, or parenting time at all. The only time a spouse’s affair will affect the kid issues in divorce is when the affair itself directly affected the kids.

Dissipation Of Marital Assets

Dissipation is a legal concept that means that one spouse spent marital money for a non-marital purpose. Translated, that means that one spouse spent money on his/her affair partner. While going after your spouse for all the money she/he spent on someone else sounds totally fair, in practice, proving dissipation can be tedious and expensive. Even when your state provides that, once you allege dissipation, your spouse must prove that he didn’t dissipate marital assets. Dissipation is still a tricky legal issue. It often requires you to spend days scouring credit card bills and sifting through boxes of old receipts. Of course, if your spouse has been living a double life for years, the dissipation in your divorce can be significant. The same thing is true if your spouse started living with his/her “sweetie” long ago. In those kinds of cases, proving dissipation can be well worth the effort.

Alimony, Infidelity and Divorce

The one aspect of divorce in which your spouse’s infidelity can still have a sizeable impact is in the area of spousal support. Even still, the impact that it has is still way less than what it had in the past. In a little less than half of the states, your spouse’s misconduct (i.e. adultery) has no impact on alimony whatsoever. It doesn’t affect whether your spouse has to pay alimony, how much s/he has to pay, or how long s/he has to pay it. In a very small number of states, your spouse’s adultery has a huge impact on alimony. Most states, however, consider adultery only as one factor in the decision of whether to award alimony. The laws in several of those states specifically state that alimony cannot be used to punish an adulterous spouse. The adultery is simply one of many factors a court may or may not decide to consider when deciding whether to award alimony.

Adultery as Legal Ground for Divorce

In Utah, divorcing spouses may seek a “no-fault” divorce or a “fault” divorce. In a “no-fault” divorce, the filing spouse only needs to show that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least six months. This basically means that the couple can’t get along anymore and are unable to remain married because of their differences.
For a “fault divorce,” the filing spouse must show one of the following:
• cruel and inhuman treatment (such as physical or mental abuse)
• abandonment for at least one year
• incarceration for at least three consecutive years, or
• adultery.
Regarding the ground of adultery, Utah law defines adultery as a married person having sexual intercourse with a person who is not his or her spouse. If you’re seeking a divorce based on adultery, you must be prepared for a higher-conflict divorce case. The law requires that you provide evidence of the adultery from a third-party, such as a private investigator. Higher conflict divorce cases often cause more emotional harm on the parties, especially when children are involved. As a result, no-fault divorce is a good alternative, even when there has been adultery. During the divorce process, one spouse may ask the judge to award financial payments to help support that spouse during and/or after the divorce. The parties may agree on the amount to be paid, or the couple may have a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that sets out alimony payments. If there is no agreement between the parties, the judge will look at many different factors and decide if there should be an award and the amount of the payment. These payments may be called “alimony,” “maintenance,” or “spousal support.”
In making a decision about alimony, the court will look at the following factors:
• income and property of both spouses
• length of the marriage, including any time the couple lived together before and after the marriage
• age and health of both spouses
• present and future earning ability of each spouse, including reduced ability of one spouse due to delaying of education or career opportunities, and inability to earn due to age or absence from workforce
• need for one spouse to gain education or training, and how long this might take
• acts that prevent a spouse’s ability to gain employment or increase earning ability (for example, mental or physical abuse)
• where children from the marriage live
• any need to care for family members other than children
• any need to pay for exceptional expenses, such as schooling and medical care for children
• tax consequences to each spouse resulting from paying or receiving alimony
• what property was awarded during equitable distribution
• loss of health insurance due to the divorce
• contributions and services by the spouse seeking alimony, such as homemaker contributions, and
• any wasteful dissipation use of marital property by either spouse, or unfair transfer or hiding of assets.
When the judge looks at these factors, there is no fixed formula used to make the decision. Both parties will present evidence to the judge in support of their case, and the judge will make the decision based on an assessment of the entire set of circumstances.

Causes and Risks of Why Married People Cheat

There are many reasons why married people cheat. Upwards of 40% of married couples are impacted by infidelity, and despite the high percentage, most people even those who stray will say that cheating is wrong. Risk factors such as personality disorders and childhood issues, as well as opportunities such as social media and poor boundaries, can increase the chance that one of these reasons will actually lead to some type of affair. Frustration in the marriage is one common trigger; the cheater may make several attempts to solve problems to no avail. Maybe they had second thoughts about getting married or they were jealous over the attention is given to a new baby and neither had the skill set to communicate these feelings. Perhaps the straying spouse has childhood baggage neglect, abuse, or a parent who cheated that interferes with his or her ability to maintain a committed relationship. Less often, the cheater doesn’t value monogamy, lacks empathy, or simply doesn’t care about the consequences.

Motivations Differ by Sex

Men are more likely to have affairs than women and are often seeking more sex or attention. Men express their love in a more physical way they often don’t have the perfect feeling words for their wives. So sex becomes an important path to connection and intimacy. If men aren’t sexually satisfied (for instance, if their spouse declines sex often), they take that rejection to heart, and it can easily translate to feeling “unloved.” In fact, men are more likely than women to cheat due to a feeling of insecurity. When women cheat, they’re often trying to fill an emotional void. Women frequently complain of disconnection from a spouse, and of the wish to be desired and cherished. Women are more likely to feel unappreciated or ignored, and seek the emotional intimacy of an extramarital relationship. An affair is more often a “transitional” partner for the woman as a way to end the relationship. She is seriously looking to leave to her marriage and this other person helps her do just that. That’s not to say that sexual satisfaction isn’t a primary driver of affairs for wives as well as husbands. In one study of men and women who were actively pursuing or involved in extramarital affairs, both genders said they were hoping to improve their sex lives because they felt their primary relationship was lacking between the sheets. Similarly, boredom with the marital relationship may lead both men and women to cheat.

Causes and Risk Factors

There’s a myriad of reasons or causes why men or women may engage in an extramarital liaison, but certain risk factors either with one of the individuals or the marriage as a whole increasing the odds it will happen.

Risk Factors With an Individual

The general rule is that it takes two, or in this case, to mess up their marriage with an affair, but there are certainly exceptions. Individual factors that may increase the chance of infidelity include:
• Addiction: Substance abuse issues, whether it’s addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or something else, are clear risk factors. Alcohol, in particular, can reduce inhibitions so that a person, who wouldn’t consider having an affair when sober, may cross the line.
• Previous Cheating: The saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” is more than an old wives’ tale. Those who were involved in an extramarital sexual relationship were three times more likely to become involved in extramarital relationships in their next relationship.
• Personality Disorders and Psychological Issues: People who have strong narcissistic traits or personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder are more likely to cheat. With narcissism, an affair may be driven by ego and a sense of entitlement. In addition to being self-centered, people with these disorders often lack empathy, so they don’t appreciate the impact of their actions on their spouse. The particular psychological issues or personality traits that raise the risk of adultery in marriage may differ between the sexes.
• Mental Illness: Some mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder are a risk factor for cheating in marriage.
• Childhood Issues: Having a history of childhood trauma (such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect) is associated with a higher chance that a person will cheat (if he or she has not addressed the trauma and has unresolved issues).
• Sex Addiction: Certainly, sex addiction in one partner increases the chance that they will be unsatisfied with the physical aspect of their marriage and look elsewhere.
Risk Factors with the Relationship
Problems in the marital relationship can also be a risk factor for cheating. Some of these include:
• Lack of communication
• Emotional and/or physical disconnect
• Low compatibility (people who married for the wrong reasons): Low compatibility can lead to a sense of “buyer’s remorse”
• Domestic violence and emotional abuse
• Financial pressures
• Lack of respect

Alimony Divorce Attorney In Utah Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a divorce case in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 For Your Free Consultation. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Can You Get Alimony In A Legal Separation?

Can You Get Alimony In A Legal Separation

Most people associate separate maintenance or alimony with divorce. However, it is possible to obtain alimony with a legal separation. Separate maintenance is similar to alimony or spousal support, but it’s not called alimony because the couple is still legally married. The factors used to determine separate maintenance are similar to those for determining alimony, and will depend entirely on the laws of your state. The basic idea is that one spouse may need financial support after a legal separation due to a lower earning capacity. If so, the higher earning spouse will have to provide support for at least some period of time: the amount and duration of the payments will depend on the spouses’ incomes, earning abilities, ages, the length of the marriage, and a variety of other state specific factors. Typically, when married couples believe that their marriage can no longer be saved, they choose to file for divorce. However, couples that want a break to work on their marriage and those who are opposed to divorce have the option to separate. Separate maintenance (which is very similar to alimony) is a way for one spouse to continue to support the other before, during and after a legal separation.

Almost all married couples have arguments. Some, however, experience so many arguments that they become the norm rather than the exception; these fights may be the result of or a symptom of serious marital problems. Some couples go to counseling, others try to work out their problems on their own, and some decide that it’s best to work on their issues while one spouse is living outside of the family home. The separation may be for a specific time or long-term. For example, a trial separation is when married couples separate for a couples months or take a break, usually with the intention of reconciling. Thus, a trial separation doesn’t typically involve lawyers or court appearances. However, once one spouse (or both) decides that there is no chance of getting back together, it’s safe to say the marriage is over. Although legal separation is not very common, it can be used in cases where the couple is opposed to divorce for a variety of reasons, including religious reasons (where the couple’s church does not permit divorce), or because the couple wishes to continue receiving benefits that married couples receive (health or tax benefits).

If you’re choosing a separation over divorce to continue receiving benefits, it’s important to determine whether a legal separation will trigger termination of the particular benefit. Whatever the reason, if a couple wants to end their union, but avoid a divorce, they can seek to have their separation officially recognized by a court. In order to do so, they will need to obtain a legal separation through a court process that is very similar to divorce, but which does not completely break the bonds of marriage. Married couples that want to legally separate must agree how to divide property and debts. And if they have children, they need to work out their child custody and support issues. However, when couples can’t agree, a judge will impose a decision on all of those martial issues. What a judge won’t do is issue a divorce decree. Thus, you and your spouse will remain married and you are not free to remarry unless and until you obtain a divorce.

Spousal Support During Separation

Similar to divorce, legal separation involves addressing marital assets, debts, child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support. When the two spouses can work together to reach agreement about the respective terms, they will often prepare and submit a legal separation agreement to the court. This is certainly a preferred route as it eliminates much of the tension, emotions, and costs when the couple’s disagreements result in the court making the decision. When it comes to spousal support (also commonly referred to as alimony) it is usually considered a factor of divorce. In a legal separation, some states may have laws making it possible to obtain separate maintenance, which is similar to alimony (alimony involves no longer being legally married). Since states have the latitude when it comes to support laws, it is important to recognize that the laws will vary. In essence, the premise is that one spouse will require some degree of financial support after the legal separation. Factors such as incomes, earning capacity, length of marriage, age and other items are commonly reviewed to establish whether the support will be ordered, and if so, the amount and duration of payments. Need is one of the primary factors that a judge is likely to consider when reviewing a request for temporary support If the spouse has other funds, such as outside income or savings, then a judge usually wouldn’t grant temporary alimony because the need does not exist.

When a judge looks at whether the other spouse can afford to pay temporary support, the judge is actually looking at two factors:

• Does the other spouse have the money available to pay temporary support?
• And how will a support award affect this spouse’s ability to pay for his or her own necessities and maintain his or her own standard of living?

When determining whether one spouse has the ability to pay, the judge will look at that person’s income, bonuses and overtime, as well as Social Security benefits and other income. If the judge agrees with the request for temporary support, the ruling will explain how much must be paid, how frequently it must be paid, and how long the payments will last. Judges typically will not grant retroactive requests for temporary support.

Requesting Modification of the Temporary Support

Only in rare situations will a court agree to change the amount of temporary support. If you request such a change, you will need to show a compelling reason why it should be modified. The courts are likely to consider your request if it is being made because of a change in financial circumstances. For example, a modification request might be granted if one spouse has involuntarily lost his or her job or if an illness has made it difficult for one spouse to work.

Separation, instead of divorce, is an option that can be pursued by a married couple when their marriage is falling apart. Legal separation is different from a divorce. Being legally separated means spouses can live apart while retaining their marital status. The same issues addressed in a divorce are also addressed in a legal separation agreement. This can protect the interests of both spouses until a decision is reached on whether to file for a divorce or not. Following legal separation with a divorce means that a court judge will assume that both parties were satisfied with the agreement and will likely carry the agreement over to the divorce settlement. This means it’s very important to arrive at a separation agreement you can live with long term.

The main difference between separation and divorce is that divorce ends the marriage. Spouses return to an unmarried status and are thus are allowed to remarry. Separation let couples keep their married status while acknowledging that they are no longer living together. The court order granting legal separation contains the rights and responsibilities of both parties during this period, and also resolves all relevant legal issues regarding the marriage. The couple signs an agreement regarding property or asset distribution, child custody, child visitation, child support, alimony, attorney fees and personal conduct.

Benefits of Separation over Divorce

Legally separated couples are still considered married. This married status actually provides benefits to both parties, and is a good reason for married couples to become separated instead of divorced.

Here are some situations where separation is better than divorce:
• A spouse can retain the benefits of the couple’s health care plan, especially if it is under the name of the other party. Getting divorced usually terminates this coverage (depends on the terms of the divorce settlement).

• Some religious beliefs and institutions have conflicting ideas on divorce. Couples who wish to live apart can choose to have a legal separation agreement in order to stay married for the sake of their religion.

• Military spouses gain benefits from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act if they remain married for at least 10 years.

• Remaining married for 10 years or more also qualifies couples for certain social security benefits.

• Taxes are must be filed singly after a divorce.

• Separation allows time for both parties to resolve their differences to either resume the marriage, or finally settle on divorce and move on with their lives.

Other issues such as loan or mortgage payments and joint savings and checking accounts can be resolved in the legal separation agreement. An outline of which portion of mortgage payments and maintenance fees of the marital home are to be paid by which spouse can be included. Access to the couple’s bank accounts, or the need to close it and open separate accounts, can also be defined.

Reasons Couples Separate

Although it is difficult to mention each and every reason, the most commonly occurring instances for separation are illustrated below.
• Infidelity
• Lack of proper communication
• Addiction to drugs, alcohol or other substances
• Getting isolated from family and friends
• Financial instability
• When the power of decision-making rests with one partner
• Over possessiveness
• Physical/mental abuse targeted by one partner to the other
• Lack of physical/intellectual compatibility
• Lowering self-esteem levels, leading to lack of self-confidence
• Severe health problems of one partner

Some Ways to Reconcile

Similarly, the responsibility of reconciling has to be owned by both the partners. Instead of blaming one another for their shortcomings or faults, the couples should rather focus on how to reignite the love which brought them together. There are some simple ways to achieve this, which could save a marriage that was on the brink of divorce. When a married couple decides to separate, the people in their lives often see it as the first step toward divorce. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Some couples find that a temporary separation is just what they needed to work on their marriage and reconnect, while others might find that just remaining separated without ever taking that further step into divorce suits them just fine. It really all depends on the couple and what they come to realize is best for them.

Separation, physical or legal, doesn’t always lead to divorce. Sometimes separation can be a time of forgiveness and renewed commitment. Many couples separate in hopes of saving a marriage, and sometimes, that can work. After all, just getting distance from a painful, antagonistic situation can provide you with enough perspective to come back together weeks or months later and sort things out.

As a step before divorce, physical separation has emotional and legal implications that you need to understand. Decisions made during separation often become stamped in stone, and anyone separating without the appropriate strategizing and protections can suffer unpleasant repercussions for years. Indeed, the legal arrangements made for separation often can’t be renegotiated for the divorce; those who decide to let things, believe they will have another chance at a fairer deal later, are sorely disappointed most of the time. The emotional tenor of your breakup and, by extension, your separation, can impact the legal outcome of your divorce. Separation is such a naturally turbulent and overwhelming period that it lends itself to rash decisions driven by emotions like guilt and anger. In a cooler moment, you may have made a more strategic deal, but you will not generally have the luxury of negotiating twice. If you’re separating, you should attend to the fine print of your future life now. There are couples who treat separation casually and live apart without any formal legal agreement. If you and your spouse are quite certain that your separation is temporary and that you will be using the time to reconcile, a casual attitude may work well. You can date your spouse; even have sex with your spouse because as far as you’re concerned, divorce is not in the cards.

Remember, the process is painful. If you’re like most people, you won’t pass quickly through the emotional gauntlet of separation. Typically, psychologists say, the first year following separation is the most difficult. During this period, you’re prey to mood swings, sadness, feelings of loss and anger. If you remain on this emotional roller coaster for more than a year, however, you may not be progressing quickly enough. It’s time to seek counseling or some other form of psychological help.

Some Advantages of Legal Separation

Legal separation has many benefits and advantages, including providing parameters for co-parenting, child support, and spousal support while maintaining the status of being married. Legal separation also leaves the door open for reconciling or resuming the marriage. Legal separation, which is a contractually defined and court-honored agreement between a couple that has chosen to live apart but opted to remain legally married, is also often pursued when the parties want to stay married for religious reasons, when they want the advantage of documentation of spousal support payments (for income tax reasons), when they want to maintain various insurance coverage, or when they do not want to wait for the state’s statutory period for termination of marital status.

The legal requirements for a divorce vary from state to state. For instance, some states have a no-fault divorce with absolutely no waiting period, but others require couples to remain apart a year and a day before they may file for a divorce. In the states that require couples to live apart, a legal separation provides the evidence necessary to prove the requirement is met. Without a legal separation document, spouses opposed to a divorce could argue that any sexual relations between the spouses or short-term cohabitation in the same residence during the required period nullified the separation time. A legal separation prevents such arguments from being presented. A legal separation also gives the parties an opportunity to set out the terms of their divorce in advance. A legal separation agreement can outline whatever terms the couple feels are important, but it typically focuses on details such as who lives where and who agrees to take possession of what property during the separation. A separation agreement can also include information about alimony payments, debts, child custody arrangements, and marriage counseling. The document should be signed by both spouses and it may be wise to go over it with a divorce attorney. Should the couple get back together again after separating, they can void the separation agreement at that time. Should they go on to divorce; the divorce documentation will take over where the separation contract left off. For some religions, divorce is either forbidden or unrecognized. In fact, some religions will even go so far as to excommunicate anyone who pursues a divorce especially those who remarry. This puts some couples in a difficult situation when considering their options. While a legally separated couple cannot remarry, the legal separation will allow the couple the opportunity to live apart.

Get Legal Help

Not every legal separation is the same, and there are several steps to take to ensure that your legal separation period is well spent. For starters, avoid fighting and gossiping about your spouse during the separation. Whether a divorce is inevitable or not, these actions are never emotionally beneficial. Additionally, some states require counseling before a divorce may be filed, so it makes sense to get the counseling done during the separation. Finally, take your legal separation agreement seriously, as some judges will simply transfer the agreement over as your divorce terms. In other words, be prepared to live with the terms of your legal separation permanently.

Legal Separation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need to Get Alimony In A Legal Separation, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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What Does It Take To Be Legally Separated?

What Does It Take To Be Legally Separated

It takes a court order to be legally spearated.

Legal Separation is a major change in the status of your marriage. To get a legal separation you must file a petition in the District Court of the county where you have been residing for the last 3 months in Utah. It is a distinct legal product rather than being a first step to getting a divorce. In fact, legal separation takes as long as a divorce (average time, 8-10 months), and costs just as much. In many ways, a legal separation is the same as a divorce. Both include final custody, visitation, child support, and if appropriate, alimony orders. All the family assets and debts are permanently divided. (In both types of cases, it is possible to get temporary orders about support and custody early in the case, if you need them.) The major difference is that if you have a legal separation, you are still married. The wife may not resume her former name. Since it costs just as much, takes as long, and requires the same major decisions, why would anyone want a legal separation? Some couples choose legal separation because of religious beliefs or moral values against divorce.

In a few cases, health insurance coverage is the reason for a legal separation. Even after divorce, employer supplied health insurance may continue for a spouse. However, the coverage may be for a limited period (two or three years) and may require payment of a substantial monthly premium. In some, but not all, employer’s health insurance plans, the situation is better if you get a legal separation. In these plans, coverage and costs change if you divorce, but not if you get a legal separation. If health insurance is an important issue in your family, get information from the employer’s benefit or human resources department. If you are considering divorce or legal separation, or think that your spouse is, it is important to see a lawyer and get legal advice. Legal advice includes how New Hampshire law applies to your family situation and your legal options. The lawyer can help you decide whether a legal separation or a divorce would be the better choice for you. Some lawyers offer a free or reduced fee initial consultation. If the lawyer whose advice you want charges, it will be a good investment for you to pay for 30 minutes or an hour of time before you take steps that cannot be undone. Separation, legal separation, and divorce have long-lasting legal results. See a lawyer before you act. Anything you agree to in a legal separation agreement can set precedence. In other words, if you agree to your wife living in the marital home when you file for a legal separation and you continue to make the mortgage payments a judge may order you to continue doing so after a divorce. Do not agree to anything in a legal separation agreement that you would not agree to if you were negotiating a divorce settlement.

How to File for a Legal Separation

• First, you must meet your state’s residency requirements. Residency requirements are the same for legal separation and divorce. To find out your state’s residency requirements check your state’s divorce laws.
• If residency requirements are met you will then file a legal separation petition with the court if legal separation is recognized in your state. You may do this by contacting an attorney, using online resources or contacting your court clerk and filing prose.

• Along with your petition for a legal separation, you will file your legal separation agreement. Make sure the agreement covers all issues such as child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, what is to happen to marital assets, who lives where, who pays what debts, any rules and guidelines pertaining to dating and having other people around any minor children and a time period for which the separation will end.
• If you and your spouse are not filing for the separation jointly you will need to have your spouse served once you have filed your petition for legal separation. As with a divorce, your spouse will have a certain period of time in which to respond to your petition for a legal separation.
• If your spouse does not agree to the provision set forth in the petition he/she has a right to file a counter-petition. If this is done and you can’t come to an agreement via mediation you will have to go before a judge to settle the issues you were unable to agree upon. In some cases, a legal separation can be as complicated as obtaining a divorce.
• If your spouse agrees to the provisions in the petition all you will need is for both spouses to sign and notarize the agreement so the court clerk can enter it into the court records for approval by a judge. It’s important you understand that once the agreement is filed with the court that it is a legally binding contract that you are both expected to follow.
• Once a judge has reviewed and signed your legal separation agreement it will be filed and on record with the court clerk. Once it is on record with the court you will want to be sure to keep a copy for your own records. And to follow the guidelines set out in the separation agreement.

You only have to want to live “separate and apart” from your partner to legally separate from them. This means that you have decided that you want to end your marriage or common-law relationship, and started to behave in a way that shows you want to end the relationship. You don’t have to go through a formal process or get a document to legally separate. After you separate, most people need to make important decisions on their family law issues. If you and your partner agree on your issues, you should put what you’ve agreed on in a written separation agreement. You do not need to file court papers to separate. The law does not require you to live with your spouse. However, separating from your spouse may affect your legal rights. The best way is to talk to a lawyer before separating. If you do separate, you will need to work out arrangements for the care of the children, support, and payment of bills. A mediator or lawyer can help you and your spouse reach an agreement. A lawyer can advise you on your legal options, if an informal agreement is not possible. If you are not ready to file for a legal separation or divorce, but need the court’s help in getting child support or alimony (support for spouse) there is a special type of court papers that can be filed. You may also seek court orders about custody and visitation without filing for a legal separation or divorce.

Couples decide to legally separate instead of divorce for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

• They are unsure if they want to get divorced
• They cannot afford to get divorced
• Financial benefit, such as continued health insurance
It is important to note that legal separation is not just moving out of the home you share with your spouse. If you want to legally separate, you need a separation agreement. In general, a separation agreement covers:
• Basic information such as the date you were married, the date you separated (or will separate)
• Who the children will live with (if you have children)
• Who will pay which bills
• How property, like your home and cars, will be divided up and cared for.

It is important to think carefully about the terms of your separation agreement. If you decide later to get divorced, the terms of your separation agreement can become the terms of your divorce.
What do I do after the separation agreement is written?
• Get it signed and notarized. You and your spouse can sign it at different times and in front of different notaries.
• File your signed and notarized separation agreement with the County Clerk.
• Once your separation agreement has been filed, the process is complete.
There are pros and cons to legal separation, and it may not be right for every couple. Here are some of the most important things to consider:
The pros
• Legal separation provides space and time to figure out if divorce is really what you want.
• It can be a good time for marriage counseling.
• You can still get your spouse’s health insurance.
• Years spent legally separated count as years married, so you will be able to receive your spouse’s social security retirement benefits. (You must have been married for at least 10 years to receive your spouse’s social security benefits.)
• Legal separation may not violate your religious beliefs.
• A separation agreement can be helpful if you get divorced because the court may allow you to use your agreement as a basis for divorce.
The cons
• Legal separation does not end your marriage. You would still have financial, legal and logistical ties to your spouse.
• A separation agreement is meaningless unless both spouses sign it.
• Spouses who do not get along or do not communicate well may have a hard time creating a separation agreement.
• You cannot marry someone else when you are legally separated.
• If abuse has occurred in your marriage, legal separation is not a good option.
• You must wait a year to use a separation agreement as a basis for divorce.

If you want the terms of your divorce to be the same as the terms in your separation agreement, file for a conversion divorce. A conversion divorce is a divorce based on an existing separation agreement.

In a divorce that is converted from a legal separation, you ask the judge to include all the terms of the separation agreement in your divorce. The judge will review all of the terms of your agreement and decide whether to include all the terms of the agreement in your divorce. Also remember: You and your spouse must have lived apart for at least one year, and followed the terms of your separation agreement, before filing a conversion divorce. If you have not already filed your separation agreement with the county clerk, you must file the separation agreement at the same time you file your divorce papers.

There are many reasons why you may choose to get legally separated rather than divorced, for example:

• One or both of you may hope to reconcile in the near future;
• One of your may rely on the other for health insurance;
• One spouse might like to stay married in order to qualify for Social Security or military benefits on the other’s account; or
• For religious reasons.
Regardless of why you want a legal separation, most states will require you to do more than simply live apart. To be legally separated in most states, you must go through a process very similar to a divorce and which involves the same issues, namely:
• Child custody and visitation
• Alimony and child support
• The division of marital property and debts
What is the benefit of getting a legal separation?
Maybe you have hoped you’ll get back together and you don’t want to end things just yet. Maybe you need to stay on your spouse’s insurance, and if you get divorced, the insurance company will kick you off the policy. In those types of situations, it may make sense to stay married but live apart separately, which is what a Utah legal separation allows you to do.

Who files for legal separation?

Usually, those who file for legal separation are:
• people whose culture doesn’t allow divorce,
• people whose religion doesn’t allow divorce,
• people who want to stay on their spouse’s insurance.
When people compare Utah legal separation with Utah divorce, and they realize the restriction on legal separation, they almost always choose to file for divorce.

Legal Separation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need to get divorced or if you want a legal separation in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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