A divorce decree is the final step in the court proceeding for your divorce. It contains important information about the court’s decision. A divorce decree is not the same thing as a divorce certificate, and the two documents have different purposes. The divorce certificate is issued by your state for record-keeping purposes, as opposed to the divorce decree, meaning a final, enforceable order by the court that you and your spouse must follow. It resolves all of the issues that were part of your divorce.
When Is a Divorce Decree Issued In Kearns, Utah
A divorce case can drag on for months (and even years in some cases!), so finally getting to the end of the process is a long-awaited step. After you have had your trial, or after you and your spouse have agreed on and submitted a settlement to the court, the court makes a final decision. If you have a trial, the judge weighs all of the evidence and testimony and makes decisions related to granting the divorce: custody, alimony, child support, and property division. All of these decisions are written out in the divorce decree. The decree is a binding legal court order that says what you and your spouse must do moving forward. If you settle your case, your settlement is submitted to the court in writing or it is spoken into the record at the courtroom. The judge then reviews what you have agreed on and decides if it is fair and in accordance with the law. If so, the court issues a decree that includes all the terms of your settlement. This becomes a binding court order.
When Is a Divorce Final?
Your divorce is final on the day the court signs the decree. You normally will receive it a few days later, since it is sent to your attorney, who will then send you a copy. You are legally divorced as of the date the decree is signed. This means you become a single person on that date because your marriage is legally over.
What Is a Divorce Certificate?
A divorce decree is the complete court order ending your marriage, with all the details about how property is divided, how you will share time with your children, and what, if any, child support is granted. It also states why the marriage is being dissolved. If there are any problems in the future with your ex not following the court order, you will refer to the decree, since it states what each is required to do. If there is noncompliance, you can go back to court to enforce the terms of the decree.
A divorce certificate is not a court document. It is a document issued by your state for record-keeping purposes. It includes the parties’ names and says when and where the divorce was granted. It does not include the myriad other personal details included in a divorce decree. This certificate is used in much the same way you would use a birth certificate or marriage certificate, in the event that you need to prove you are divorced from someone. If you seek to change your name on your driver’s license or with Social Security after the divorce, you may be asked to show a portion of the divorce decree to confirm you have authorization for the name change. While the divorce certificate is generally accepted as proof that you’re divorced, the name change itself is ordered in the divorce decree; the name change may not appear on the certificate. If you need to provide proof that the divorce occurred, for any reason other than a name change, then showing the divorce certificate should be sufficient.
Complications and Income Disparities
In some cases, a husband may unnecessarily complicate a divorce action, thereby requiring the wife to incur additional attorney fees. For example, the husband purposefully undervalues assets or hides income to impact property division and spousal support. A judge may award the wife attorney fees because she incurred additional costs that would not have been necessary had the husband not engaged in bad faith and wrongdoing. Income disparities are another factor a judge may take into account when considering a wife’s motion for payment of attorney’s fees and costs. For example, if a wife has little to no income or assets or if she stayed at home to raise a family while her husband worked, she likely does not have the money to hire an attorney. A judge may order her husband to pay her attorney fees so that she is guaranteed sound legal representation during the divorce process.
Access to Property
In every divorce, your marital assets—the property that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage are distributed as equally as possible. Because of this, the judge can order that the husband pay the wife’s attorney fees as an advance on the amount of property she will receive in an equitable distribution of assets. When considering a motion to request payment of attorneys’ fees, a judge may consider the totality of a wife’s income vs. assets and expenses, the complexity of the case, and the attorney’s fees already incurred. In most cases, if a wife has access to property or income, a judge is not likely to order the husband to pay for her attorney fees. If a wife has the ability to pay an attorney for advice, a judge typically leaves that financial obligation to her and does not place it on the husband unless there are other factors to influence that decision, such as a gross disparity in assets or whether the husband has been hiding assets or otherwise unnecessarily prolonging the process. Also, the court does not award the payment of attorney fees and costs in a divorce action entirely on gender. If a wife earns more income than her husband, has access to greater assets, or unnecessarily complicates the divorce action, a judge could order that the wife pay the husband’s costs for the divorce. A divorce proceeding can be expensive, especially if the parties do not agree on issues such as child support, alimony, custody, and property division. Each divorce action is unique, and divorce laws vary by state. A judge considers a motion for attorney fees and costs based on the facts in the case and the state’s specific divorce laws.
Benefits of Filing For Divorce First?
Many divorce attorneys argue that there really is no advantage to filing for dissolution (divorce) first, however, we believe that it depends on your individual circumstances. In general, there are certain financial and legal benefits to being the first to file for divorce.
The advantages of filing for divorce first can include:
• More Planning: You get to plan in advance and take your time selecting a lawyer, rather than having to scramble to find a lawyer to meet with you and file a Response within 30 days of being served.
• Emotional Preparation: You have time to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the financial cost of divorce.
• Choice of Court: You have the first choice of which court will hear your case. Depending on where you live, having your case heard in one courthouse over another could be a significant advantage, especially if one spouse lives in a state with favorable laws regarding asset division or spousal support laws.
• Timing: You are in control of the timeframes and when to file for divorce by choosing a timing that works for you.
• First at Trial: As the petitioner, you get the first argument at trial, and the ability to reply to the defendant’s response providing you with the final word as well.
• Asset Protection: By initiating the divorce process, you have the opportunity to start protecting community assets, and to see if your spouse may be hiding marital assets.
• Prevent Stalling: It prevents possible stalling by the other party.
One of the biggest advantages to filing for divorce first is you are given adequate opportunity to consult with various attorneys before choosing one. You are basically putting yourself in an offensive position instead of a defensive position. Ideally, you and your spouse will conduct the process of physically separating and pursing dissolution proceedings in an organized, amicable, planned, and orderly fashion. If you anticipate any conflict about child custody or property division, then the sooner you seek legal counsel, the better prepared you will be to navigate any issues that arise.
Filing For Divorce In Kearns, Utah
Kearns, Utah is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the only reason you need to file for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” You must live in Kearns, Utah to file for a divorce there, and the divorce must be filed in the county in which you or your spouse lives.
Once the divorce is finalized, the divorce judgment will determine:
• The date the marriage ends.
• Who will get custody of the children and when the other parent will see them.
• Who will pay child support and how much.
• Who will pay the children’s health insurance and medical expenses.
• Who will pay the couple’s debts.
• How the couple’s property will be divided.
• Whether one spouse will pay spousal support (alimony).
During the process of dissolving your marriage, the court may order you to pay alimony payments after the divorce is final. Payments are not required during the separation period. The requirement to make alimony payments may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Once a divorce is final, however, a court will only alter or change an alimony decree if the circumstances of the parties change. They will not create a new alimony agreement after a divorce is final where no alimony agreement exists.
The Rules for Alimony In Kearns, Utah
The rules for alimony or spousal support vary slightly depending upon the state in which the couple lives. However, as a general matter, alimony can be ordered to be paid by either spouse. This means a wife could pay alimony to her ex-husband or vice versa. Whether or not alimony will be ordered from one spouse to another depends on the ability of each spouse to provide himself with a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the course of the marriage. In other words, if one spouse either doesn’t work or makes significantly less money than the other, the wealthier spouse may have to provide maintenance/support money to the less-wealthy spouse. An alimony order may be either temporary or permanent, which means that the alimony could have to be paid indefinitely after a divorce or on a limited basis.
• Permanent alimony is ordered if it is believed by the court that the spouse receiving the payments is unlikely to ever be able to provide himself with close to the same income as the party ordered to make the payments. This is appropriate when there is a large gap in employability or education (especially if the less-employable party contributed to shouldering the educational expenses of the party making more money) or if one party cannot work because of health or other reasons.
• Temporary alimony is ordered if the court thinks that the party receiving payments will be able to improve his income, if only given a little time to do so. A court will also look at a number of other factors aside from the respective incomes of the parties, including the length of the marriage and each party’s contribution to the marriage.
Remarriage and Alimony in Kearns, Utah
When a couple gets divorced in Kearns, Utah the court will sometimes order one spouse to pay the other “alimony,” or payments of financial support. When the spouse who receives alimony payments (the “supported spouse”) gets remarried, however, he or she may no longer need financial support. Also, the spouse paying alimony (the “paying spouse”) will likely want to end alimony payments once the ex has a new spouse in the picture. In Kearns, alimony, also called “spousal support” usually takes the form of monthly payments from one ex-spouse to the other; either for a specific period of time or until certain events occur. Alimony may also be paid in a lump sum, by a transfer of property, or by direct payment of other expenses (such as a mortgage). Courts will award alimony to provide monetary assistance to a low-earning or unemployed spouse, based on each spouse’s financial circumstances. Many types of alimony or short term and have a clear end date. Some couples spell out a date upon which alimony will end in their marital settlement agreement and/or court order. If there is no mention of a termination of alimony in a settlement agreement or final court order, then alimony may continue until the death of either party.
Impact of Remarriage on Alimony in Kearns, Utah
In Kearns, the obligation to pay alimony automatically ends when the supported spouse gets remarried. Even if the paying spouse voluntarily continues to pay alimony after the other spouse gets remarried, there is no legal obligation to continue paying alimony. If the supported spouse’s remarriage is annulled (because the remarriage was void due to the new spouse’s bigamy, coercion, insanity, and so on), the court can decide whether alimony should begin again, based on what is fair to both spouses. If your agreement states specifically that alimony will continue to be paid regardless of whether the supported spouse gets remarried, you will not be able to modify or end alimony. Also, if your agreement provides for alimony in a lump sum or transfer of property, the supported spouse’s remarriage will have no effect on the alimony agreement.
Termination or Modification of Alimony in Kearns, Utah
When a supported spouse gets remarried, alimony ends. However, if a supported spouse is simply living with someone else, or has an increase in income, the paying spouse needs a court order to lower or end alimony payments. If you are paying alimony and your ex-spouse is living with someone else or has increased income, you should ask your ex-spouse to agree to lower or end alimony by agreement. You can sign an agreement and file it with your divorce court to modify or terminate alimony. If you would like to modify or terminate alimony, but your ex-spouse won’t agree, you should file a motion to modify or terminate alimony with the court that granted your divorce. You’ll need to state how circumstances have changed and why that warrants a modification or termination of alimony. For example, your spouse’s increase in income, your spouse’s lowered needs, or your spouse’s living with another person in a romantic relationship may all qualify as a “change in circumstances” that the court can use to lower or end your alimony payments.
Impact of Cohabitation on Alimony
Under Utah law, there is a rebuttable presumption that alimony can be lowered, and possibly ended, when the supported spouse is cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex. The rebuttable presumption means that the court will presume alimony should be reduced or terminated unless the supported spouse can prove a continuing need for alimony payments after he or she begins living with someone of the opposite sex. If the supported spouse will not agree to lower or end alimony, the paying spouse can file a motion asking the court to order the change. The court won’t consider the income of the person with whom the supported spouse is living when deciding whether to lower or end alimony, only the supported spouse’s new financial circumstances. Cohabitation is more than a roommate relationship; it usually requires a personal romantic relationship. However, if the supported spouse is living in a roommate situation, the court may still decide that his or her need for support has decreased, and may still modify alimony. If you have additional questions, consult with a Kearns family law attorney.
Kearns UT Divorce Lawyer
When you need to get divorced in Kearns, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506