Tips for Surviving Divorce Settlement Talks

Tips for Surviving Divorce Settlement Talks

The divorce process legally ends a marriage and necessarily creates agreements about spousal support, division of assets and child custody if there are children. Many couples can make decisions themselves or with the aid of an attorney or mediator. However, if you are not lucky enough to be half of one of those couples, your case will continue toward trial and possibly settlement.

Most cases flowing through the criminal justice system settle short of trial. Civil divorce litigation is no different. What does it mean to “settle on the courthouse steps,” and what do you need to do when the date of your trial approaches and settlement proposals begin flying back and forth?  Consider the following:

  • Before your trial, the judge is likely to hold a pretrial conference to determine whether there are issues that can be settled. Although you have arrived at the courthouse prepared for trial, events may take a sharp turn toward settlement during the pretrial conference. You may spend time waiting nearby or in a conference room.
  • While your attorney is tasked with representing your interests and relaying settlement offers to you from the other party, your job is to keep in mind your personal divorce and custody objectives. Even with good legal counsel, parties sometimes settle for inappropriate arrangements or conditions simply because they are stressed from proceedings that have stretched out for months or years.

  • Talk to your attorney about the possibility of settlement prior to the trial date. Ask how it looks, what you might need to decide, what concessions might be appropriate and which are not. Make sure you think about what you agree to — you and your children will have to live with your decision.

Some Careers Have Significantly Higher Divorce Rates than Others

A new analysis of U.S. census data performed by a career website called Zippia revealed workers in certain fields are much more likely to get divorced by age 30. The highest divorce rate was among first-line enlisted military supervisors, at approximately 30 percent. People in that field must coordinate the activities of enlisted service members.

Other fields that had particularly high divorce rates for people 30 and under included logisticians, mechanics and automotive service technicians, military-enlisted tactical operations and air weapons personnel. There were three military jobs in the top 10, and overall, military workers of any rank were most likely to be divorced before the age of 30. They had a 15 percent overall divorce rate.

Factors in these careers that make divorce more likely

The analysts who performed the study say the common factors involved in many of these jobs with high divorce rates are that they are demanding professions that involve a lot of time spent away from home, relatively low pay or persistent danger. Military professions often involve all three of these factors, which likely explains the presence of three such jobs in the top 10.

Numerous studies have been performed on the effects of military deployment on marriage. A study in the Journal of Population Economics published in 2016 found that divorce rates increased significantly with every month spent away on deployment. Mental health issues also frequently place more stress on couples, and veterans frequently experience depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Career stress affects all couples. Many of the fields that ranked in the top 10 in the study have extremely high demands in terms of average hours worked per week.

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

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Signs That You Should Get a Divorce

Signs That You Should Get a Divorce

Are you on the fence about whether or not getting a divorce is right for you? The following are a few signs of failing marriages people most commonly notice before they end up filing a divorce petition:

  • There are more bad moments than good: Why would you want to live with a relationship in which most of your interactions with your spouse are negative? The constant negativity in your life can be emotionally unhealthy, causing you to fall into depression or experience other mental health issues.
  • You cannot stop focusing on flaws: Spending a lot of time with anyone can lead to you becoming more irritated than usual with that person’s flaws. But in a healthy marriage, you should be able to overlook the flaws of your spouse and learn to live with them. If you find yourself unable to stop focusing on these flaws, you may be experiencing trouble in your relationship.
  • You constantly feel attacked: Do you feel as if you are always walking on eggshells around your partner? This could be a predictor of a failing relationship, as well. You should work to confront this feeling whenever it arises rather than just attempting to deal with it on your own.
  • You have lost interest: In so many failing relationships, the decision to file for divorce was made because one partner simply lost interest in the relationship. Perhaps he or she lost any romantic feelings or attraction for the other person. Or, maybe the two spouses started to feel more like roommates than romantic partners. This can be fatal for a marriage.

Utah-Specific Divorce Rules to Know

Are you preparing to file for divorce in Utah? Below is a brief overview of a few rules and factors you might consider as you move forward with the process.

Grounds for divorce

The state of Utah allows you to file for divorce on either fault or no-fault grounds. Fault grounds can give you an advantage in cases that involve child custody contests, disputes of marital property distribution or spousal maintenance (also known as alimony). You can also base your divorce on you and your spouse having been separated for a minimum of 12 months.

Residency requirements

You must have lived in Utah for at least thee (3) months before you can file for divorce in the state. If you have minor children, you need six (6) months.  There are some exceptions to these rules.  An attorney can help you provide evidence that you are a legal resident.

Child custody and support

As in all other states, Utah courts base child support and custody arrangements on what is in the best interests of the child. The presumption is that it is best for children to have frequent contact with both parents, which means a favoring of joint custody arrangements. However, if it is in the best interests of the child for one parent to have sole physical custody, the court will make that arrangement.

Both parents must financially support their children after the divorce. The amount of child support depends on a variety of factors, including how much time each parent spends with the children and each parent’s income.

Property division

Utah is an equitable division state, which means the individual who owns which pieces of property is not the sole factor the judges will consider. Instead, a judge will divide marital property in a way he or she determines to be fair, even if that division is not equal.

Free Initial Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

Divorce is tough. No question about it. Look, when you need a divorce lawyer, call Ascent Law 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

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Relocating after Divorce in Utah

Relocating after Divorce in Utah

The promise of new beginnings waits at the end of every divorce. Amicable or bitter, partners who split are hoping for a chance to start over, sometimes in a new relationship, sometimes in a new location. If children are involved, what can you expect if you want to relocate?

As with any aspect of divorce, the best custody agreements are made outside of court, between civil parents dedicated to providing a stable post-divorce environment for their children. But as experienced family law attorneys, we routinely see that even parents with the best intentions have difficulty agreeing when a custodial parent considers a long-distance move.

If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court must make legal decisions. In recent years, we’ve seen the Court of Appeals found that issues of relocation should reflect the best interests of children, including the following points:

  • Quality of relationship between the child and non-custodial parent
  • Impact of a relocation on parenting bonds
  • Necessity and reasoning underpinning the relocation
  • Emotional, social, academic, and physical needs of a child
  • Qualitative improvement of living environment for a child upon relocation
  • Reasoning of each parent in support of or in objection to the relocation

Custody actions concerning relocation often reawaken the original conflicts that led to a divorce and create instability for parents and children. When planning a new beginning, get good legal advice and do your best to make all the right moves for you—and your children.

What Happens If a Spouse Dies During the Divorce Process?

With the increasing prevalence of “gray divorces,” a term commonly used to describing divorces involving older adults, spouses and attorneys sometimes must deal with the issue of what should happen if one of the parties involved passes away before the divorce is finalized. This, of course, can add some complications to the process.

In most cases, a court will not grant a pending divorce after one spouse dies, as there is no need to proceed any further. The death officially ends the marriage. However, there is still the issue of what happens to the couple’s shared assets and debts. This may involve determining whether the assets in question fall under the rules of probate.

  • Non-probate assets: In Utah, like every other state, there is a difference between probate and non-probate assets upon a person’s death. Non-probate assets, such as retirement accounts or life insurance proceedings, pass directly to a named beneficiary. Regardless of the state of your divorce, you will still inherit the benefits of these plans if you are still the named beneficiary.

  • Probate assets and estate: The rest of the deceased assets will pass through the probate process, except for any assets passed through a trust. You could still inherit them through laws of intestate succession if your spouse did not have a will, or even if you were listed in the will.

Top Five Causes of Divorce

You may be surprised to learn that in 2009, Utah had among the lowest divorce rates in the nation. According to an NBC report, 8.4 percent of Utah residents are divorced—the third lowest rate in the United States and over two points lower than the national average of 10.7 percent. The reason for this is simple economics.

Financial difficulties are among leading causes of divorce in the United States. For that reason, areas particularly hard hit by the recession tend to see a spike in the divorce rate. While still feeling the impact of the economic downturn, Utah has fared better than many other areas. This may at least partially explain the low divorce rate.

But marriage is a complicated thing. What causes one to fail can be equally complicated. Some common causes such as infidelity and abuse are fairly obvious. Others are not so clear. Communication problems routinely top lists of common causes of divorce. These can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from an inability to articulate and reconcile each other’s priorities to difficulties compromising on important issues like child rearing.

Another common cause of divorce is simply loss of interest. This is often a factor for couples who marry too young or after too brief a courtship. Once the initial excitement fades, it gives way to boredom and even resentment. These feelings can ultimately undermine a marriage.

Whatever the cause of your divorce, you need tough legal support to fight for your rights and help ensure a brighter future.

Free Consultation with a 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

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Should I Keep The House in Divorce?

Should I Keep The House in Divorce

Many women start divorce proceedings unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster surrounding the marital home.

Often, it starts as an internal struggle.  After all, most women fully expect to keep their house. To them, it represents a place of comfort that will provide solace during, and after, a time of great uncertainty.

But at times, the marital house can be just the opposite. It can serve as a painful reminder of all that went wrong with the marriage.

Mix in the feelings (and opinions) of a husband and children (not to mention the fact that the marital residence is typically a couple’s largest asset), and it’s easy to understand how a single piece of real estate can ignite a contentious tug-of-war.

Despite all these emotions, however, every woman must answer the question “Should I keep the house?” based on practical financial reasons. Part of our job at Bedrock Divorce Advisors is to complete the financial analyses and projections needed to help a woman understand if she can afford to do so, and if so, for how long.

Are you trying to decide whether or not you should keep your marital residence? If so, here are four key questions you need to consider:

  1. Is your marital home a good fit for the new “single” you?Perhaps the house you’re living in now was purchased with the needs of others in mind. Did you choose the location because it was convenient for your husband’s business and travel?  Or did you seek out certain things largely because they were conducive to entertaining his business associates? If you did, maybe those accessories now seem frivolous and unnecessary.  Are the children you raised in the home grown and living on their own? This could be the right time to downsize and find a place that better suits your life now. It’s important to sort through and separate what you needed from a home in the past vs. what you need now and in the future.
  2. What is the current value of the house?Because themarital home is often one of a couple’s largest assets, an unbiased third party real estate appraiser can be an integral member of your divorce team.  An appraiser will calculate the market value of the house by comparing it to homes recently sold and those that are currently on the market.  Ideally, these comparable houses are in close proximity to your home and have similar square footage, acreage and amenities.  Using this information, the appraiser will present an accurate selling price in the current competitive market.  The appraiser’s report could feature prominently in divorce negotiations whether or not you decide to keep the house.
  3. What is the cost of keeping the house?Along with mortgage payments, you’ll also have to pay for taxes, utilities, seasonal maintenance, monthly service contracts and perhaps even additional staff to manage the property. Costs like these can add up to become a significant addition to your monthly expenses.   You’ll also have to consider looming repairs and renovations.   While projects like these may add value to the home, they could also prove to be a further financial drain on your resources.
  4. What will you have to give up in order to keep the house?Often keeping the marital residence is a tradeoff, rather than an exchange of cash.  In other words, your spouse will keep something that ispresented to be of equal value in exchange for the house. If you are concerned about hidden income/assets/liabilities, the possible dissipation of marital assets and/or the value of any item that’s under negotiation, you may need to add a forensic accountant and/or a valuation expert to your divorce team. They can determine the true worth of a business, professional practice or other asset with a keen eye for any misrepresentations that could skew that figure.  The valuation expert can also establish the value of stock options (and/or restricted stock, etc.) and intangibles such as  an advanced degree or training to help ensure that you do not unwittingly give up something of inequitable current or future value in exchange for the house.

Choosing whether or not to keep your marital residence may be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make during your divorce. Give yourself the time to think it through carefully. You need to strategically manage your assets and develop a sound, comprehensive plan for financial stability and security in the future.

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

Ascent Law LLC

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Divorce Tax Tips

Divorce Tax Tips

The many changes in your life after divorce include new rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about your claims, deductions, exemptions and income.

Your new single status

The IRS classifies you as a single person even if your divorce was not finalized until the last day of the taxable year — in most cases, a decree dated December 31st means you were single the previous year, whereas a date of January 1st means you were married. You remain liable for any unpaid taxes, penalties and interest on joint tax returns you filed while married. Your separation does not release you from the liability, even if your divorce decree specifically holds your former spouse liable. However, you can apply to the IRS for relief if your spouse is responsible for mistakes on your past tax returns.

Social Security after name change

The name on your tax return should match that of your Social Security Administration (SSA) records. A disparity between the surnames can cause problems with processing your return and delay receipt of your refund. To change your surname back to your former name, apply to your local SSA for a new card and show a copy of your final decree as proof.

How to claim alimony on your tax return

You can deduct alimony you pay to your former spouse, whereas your former spouse must report the amount as income. However, if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who pays spousal support to a foreign national, you may be required to withhold income tax at a 30 percent rate.

Child support and taxes

Your child support payments are not tax deductible, and conversely, the child support your spouse receives is not considered income. If you pay your former spouse less than what you owe in financial support, any payments you make apply first to your child support obligations and then to your alimony responsibilities.

Child Marriage and Divorce in the United States

Within the last few years alone, 12 states have discussed bills in their legislatures that center on the issue of the legality of child marriage. So far, all these states have said children under the age of 18 can marry, but there are certain conditions attached to it.

An important follow-up question that has not gotten as much attention is whether minors who get married may also get divorced. In many cases, minors are not legally allowed to get a direct divorce. This is because marriage is considered a binding legal contract, with most laws stipulating that only adults may enter contracts. The laws operate based on the presumption that anyone who is getting married is an adult.

Therefore, if a minor wants to change his or her marriage contract, that person must seek the assistance of an adult. It’s an issue in more marriages than one might expect. Between 2000 and 2015, there were at least 207,468 child marriages in 44 different states.

Why divorce for minors should be more accessible

Child advocates are particularly concerned with married minors being able to get divorced because numerous studies have shown children who get married before turning 18 are at significantly higher risk of domestic violence. This means that there are legal hurdles to ending the marriage that could prolong this abuse.

As of now, minors who wish to get divorced must have an adult appointed to act on their behalf. This person is known as the guardian ad litem, the official advocate for the minor who oversees the divorce motion.

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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Negotiating Divorce in Utah

There are some situations in which only one spouse will take part in the divorce proceedings. This could be for a variety of reasons — one spouse may live in a different state, for example, or simply be resistant to the divorce occurring. When only one spouse participates in court, the process is called an ex parte divorce. The divorce will still be valid, so long as you meet certain requirements.

Negotiating Divorce in Utah

First, you must meet the residency requirements of a divorce. You must file your divorce within the state or county that you permanently live, or where you have been present for a certain period of time according to state law. This time period could be anywhere from six weeks to a full year.

Under an ex parte divorce, you have an exception to the normal rule of jurisdiction. This means that the divorce court can have power over a person’s legal rights even if they lack a relationship with the state in question.

Next, you must give notice to your spouse of your intent to file divorce. A person working as a “process server,” typically a local law enforcement officer, delivers this notice. If you do not know where your spouse is currently located, you may have to look into other options to ensure that they get notice of the divorce action.

Once the process has been completed, courts are required to honor divorces that were obtained even in another state.

How to Negotiate a Fair Alimony Arrangement

Like any other aspect of your divorce, you can negotiate an alimony arrangement outside of the courtroom. Doing so allows you to have more control over your future, while also avoiding the expensive, time-consuming process associated with litigation.

Each spouse in a divorce must provide certain financial disclosures at the outset of the divorce, even if it’s obvious which spouse will be making the alimony payments. To determine an appropriate amount of alimony, you will need to consider the following:

  • Separate assets your spouse owns: You are entitled to know the value of any assets your spouse owns independently of you. This includes any assets gained before the marriage.
  • General income and expense reports: A detailed income and expense report will give you a clear picture of how your spouse is spending money. Major disparities in spending and income must be addressed in alimony discussions, especially if one spouse has a lot of money to spend on luxury items.
  • Bonuses and benefits: Additional income is available from overtime and bonuses. This may be unpredictable, but should still be included when calculating alimony. Know if your spouse receives certain work-related benefits such as sick pay, unused vacation pay, health insurance benefits, vehicles paid for by the company or any similar benefits.
  • The needs of the person receiving alimony: The purpose of alimony is to provide the spouse receiving payments with the support he or she needs to maintain a reasonably decent standard of living. Just because there is a large disparity of income does not mean the recipient is going to get large sums of money each month.

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

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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