Divorce Kearns

Divorce Kearns

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.

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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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4.5

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4.5

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4.5 – Motion For Temporary Separation Order.
(1) A petitioner may file an action for a temporary separation order without filing a petition for divorce by filing a petition for temporary separation and motion for temporary orders if:
(a) the petitioner is lawfully married to the respondent; and
(b) both parties are residents of the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing.
(2) The temporary orders are valid for one year from the date of the hearing, or until one of the following occurs:
(a) a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation; or
(b) the case is dismissed.
(3) If a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation, orders entered in the temporary separation shall continue in the consolidated case.
(4) Both parties shall attend the divorce orientation course described in Section 30-3-11.4 within 60 days of the filing of the petition, for petitioner, and within 45 days of being served, for respondent.
(5) Service shall be made upon respondent, together with a 20-day summons, in accordance with the rules of civil procedure.
(6) The fee for filing the petition for temporary separation orders is $35. If either party files a petition for divorce within one year from the date of filing the petition for temporary separation, the separation filing fee shall be credited towards the filing fee for the divorce.

Motions for Temporary Orders

A Motion for Temporary Orders asks the court to deal with important issues while you wait for the final hearing. If you get a temporary order, it will last until the judge makes a new order or a final decision. It can take months to get a judgment (final decision) in your case. If you need the judge to make an order about something right away, you can file a Motion for Temporary Orders. A Motion for Temporary Orders asks the court to deal with important issues while you wait for the final hearing. If you get a temporary order, it will last until the judge makes a new order or a final decision.

Some common motions are the
• Motion for Temporary Custody Order,
• Motion for Visitation Order, and
• Motion for Child Support Order.
When you file a motion, you need to file:
• A motion form.
• You can also ask for it at the court clerk’s office.
• Write on the motion form what you want the court to Order.
• An Affidavit.
• In an affidavit you swear that everything you say is true.
• Write the facts the judge needs to know about what happened, and when.
• A Proposed Order form.
There will be a hearing on your motion. Usually you can choose the date for the hearing. Ask the court clerk which days the court hears motions, and then pick a day that works for you. Later, you might need to file a Motion to Modify a Temporary Order. You may need to file a motion if there is a very important change in your situation or if there is an emergency. Some judges do not permit filing motions to modify temporary orders while the case is going on.

Do I have to serve the Motion for Temporary Orders also?

Yes. Motions for Temporary Orders must also be served. Serving the motion when you serve the complaint give the motion, affidavit, and proposed orders to the sheriff or constable to serve with the complaint. Be sure to write down the time, date, and place of the hearing on the motion.
Serving a motion later

• Mail the motion, affidavit, and proposed orders to the other party. Be sure to write down the time, date, and place of the hearing on the motion. You must mail it at least 10 days before the hearing; or
• You or a friend can hand the motion, affidavit, and proposed orders to the person you are taking to court. You or your friend must hand the other party the papers at least 7 days before the hearing.

Family Court Decisions: Temporary Orders

When a couple decides to separate, many issues come up that must be decided. Formal family court decisions can take months or even years, and many issues can’t wait that long. For example, child custody, child and spousal support, possession of the family car, and possession of the marital home are all issues that must be decided quickly, long before the formal divorce or legal separation hearings. Temporary orders by family courts, covered in greater detail below, serve to address these urgent issues in a timely manner. Temporary orders are made by family courts at a hearing when couples separate. In some states, a party can request a temporary order from the family court even before separation papers are filed. The hearing will then be scheduled within days or weeks. Decisions on issues that must be resolved quickly are made, and given temporary effect, until family court decisions can be made in a formal divorce hearing or until the parties agree through mediation or negotiation. Despite their temporary legal effect, temporary orders are often considered when making formal family court decisions. Temporary order hearings are far less formal and much shorter than formal family court hearings, so you should be sure that you know exactly what you want before the hearing. The hearing will proceed quickly, not giving you much time to tell the court what you want. Since every situation is unique, there isn’t a set list of issues that may be addressed. However, the following types of family court decisions are commonly made in temporary order hearings:
• Sale or possession of the marital home
• Possession of the family automobile
• Child support, usually based on the child support guidelines/calculator
• Spousal support
• Child custody and visitation schedule
• Health Insurance
• Uninsured medical expenses
• Restraint of a spouse from contacting or coming near the other spouse (this can have the effect of forcing the other spouse out of the marital home)
• Order either spouse from selling valuable assets and marital possessions
Remember that all of the decisions made through temporary orders are not permanent. They’re intended to maintain the family’s security and circumstances until more formal and steadfast family court decisions can be made.

Importance of Temporary Orders for Child Custody

Some spouses are able to agree on things on their own. If you find yourself in that situation, that’s great and probably will save you some hassle. Just be sure you and your spouse write out the child custody and visitation agreement together and sign it so that there’s no doubt about the agreement later. If you and your spouse can’t agree on these issues, like many couples facing separation, you should seek a temporary order immediately. This is especially important when it comes to child custody. If you’ll be maintaining custody of the child(ren), especially if you take them away from the home, it’s important to at least file for custody as soon as possible. If you don’t, your spouse could try to file a kidnapping claim against you. Not only will a judge and/or police take this claim seriously, but it could come up against you later in your divorce hearing. If you file for custody and your spouse files a claim of kidnapping against you, the judge will see your custody request and the kidnapping claim can be dropped.
The hearing is the place for the judge to:
• Review the details of your request;
• Consider the underlying facts;
• Ask any questions of the parties;
• Get your spouse’s side of the story; and
• Consider your financial circumstances and the state guidelines to come to a recommendation on child support.
Often, your temporary order hearing will be sent to what is called “probation.” Probation is an opportunity for the separate parties to agree on as much as possible, before they go in front of the judge. This saves the court and judge a lot of time and allows more time to focus on the actual conflicts at hand. The issues that can’t be resolved in probation are presented before the judge, where each side presents its argument. The hearing usually is no longer than 20 minutes and is held either in a courtroom or the judge’s office. The judge will listen to both sides and the declarations of any witnesses. Some judges only accept written evidence.

Temporary Order Requests: How Decisions are Made

It’s not common for the judge to make a decision right then and there from the bench, unless the issue is particularly time-sensitive (in which case the specific issue will be decided). The entire temporary order is made within a week of the initial hearing. If granted, the order you fashioned will either be granted in its entirety or modified by the judge as they deem appropriate. If you’re seeking a request for temporary child support, you may be required to present income documents and an outline of your expenses. Some courts have you fill out pre-made forms before or when you file your request. Even if your state has no such requirements, it may be good to prepare these documents anyway to support your claims for financial support. Sometimes, the judge decides that more information is needed to make an appropriate decision or that your spouse was not given appropriate notice before the hearing. In these cases, the judge might make a decision that’s only effective until another temporary order hearing can be held. The temporary order includes any agreements the parties were able to make before the hearing, including agreements made in probation. If the parties happen to come to a complete agreement during probation, then the judge will review that agreement. Usually, the judge finds these agreements satisfactory, and can order such agreement serve as the temporary order. Temporary orders are only effective until your divorce settlement, or until you and your spouse reach a mutual agreement to settle the divorce. However, the decisions made in temporary order hearings can be influential in divorce proceedings.

How to Request a Temporary Order

Requesting a temporary order involves filing some paperwork with the family court. Many courts have these forms available online on their courts’ websites. Check to see if your court has a self-help law center, where these forms would be available. Sometimes, courts even hire people to help you sort through the paperwork. States vary on when you can file for temporary orders. Some states require you to wait until divorce papers have been filed, while other states allow you to file upon separation.
The following are common requirements for filing a request for a temporary order.

• An Order to Show Cause: Also called an, “Application for Order to Show Cause,” this is a document that requires you to state what you are asking for, like child custody, through the temporary order. This document then calls your spouse to court to “show cause” of why your requested order should not be granted.
• A Supporting Declaration: This written document states the relevant facts that support why your order should be granted. You would set out your financial information, for example, to show the need for temporary child support. Declarations of other people could also be included in a supporting declaration, so long as they have first-hand knowledge of the relevant facts they are asserting. Keep in mind that courts take perjury very seriously, so you want to be careful not to misrepresent or embellish these facts in order to help your cause.
• A Proposed Temporary Order Giving You Your Requested Relief: This is a document that sets out the terms of the order. It states exactly what is being ordered. You bring this to court and if the family court judge grants your temporary order, he or she will sign the document.
• A Proof of Service Document: The court needs this document to prove that all of the necessary court documents have been delivered properly to your spouse. When you obtain your proof of service form, there should be instructions on how to file it with the court. You can also look into your state’s law about filing proof of service papers. Some courts list these instructions on their websites.

Talk to an Attorney at Ascent Law LLC about Temporary Orders in Family Court Actions

Divorce, spousal support, child custody, and other family law issues typically arise at once, although finalization of these processes can take months or years. If you and your estranged spouse are unable to agree on terms while waiting finalization, you may need to use temporary orders. Have an experienced family law attorney review your case and give you some peace of mind.

Divorce Lawyer

When you need legal help with a divorce 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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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4: Pleadings, Decree, Use of Affidavit and Private Records.

(1) (a) The complaint shall be in writing and signed by the petitioner or petitioner’s attorney.

(b) A decree of divorce may not be granted upon default or otherwise except upon legal evidence taken in the cause. If the decree is to be entered upon the default of the respondent, evidence to support the decree may be submitted upon the affidavit of the petitioner with the approval of the court.

(c) If the petitioner and the respondent have a child or children, a decree of divorce may not be granted until both parties have attended the mandatory course described in Section 30-3-11.3, and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. The court may waive this requirement, on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties, if it determines course attendance and completion are not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties.

(d) All hearings and trials for divorce shall be held before the court or the court commissioner as provided by Section 78A-5-107 and rules of the Judicial Council. The court or the commissioner in all divorce cases shall enter the decree upon the evidence or, in the case of a decree after default of the respondent, upon the petitioner’s affidavit.

(2) (a) A party to an action brought under this title or to an action under Title 78B, Chapter 12, Utah Child Support Act, Title 78B, Chapter 13, Utah Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Title 78B, Chapter 14, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Title 78B, Chapter 15, Utah Uniform Parentage Act, or to an action to modify or enforce a judgment in the action may file a motion to have the file other than the final judgment, order, or decree classified as private.

(b) If the court finds that there are substantial interests favoring restricting access that clearly outweigh the interests favoring access, the court may classify the file, or any part thereof other than the final order, judgment, or decree, as private. An order classifying part of the file as private does not apply to subsequent filings.

(c) The record is private until the judge determines it is possible to release the record without prejudice to the interests that justified the closure. Any interested person may petition the court to permit access to a record classified as private under this section. The petition shall be served on the parties to the closure order.

What Is Considered a Public Record?

Government records, from court cases to property deeds, are usually public records – that is, filed with or kept by a government agency and available for inspection by members of the general public. For instance, if you’re interested in buying a vacant home on your street, you can obtain the owner’s name by searching the county’s land records at your local registrar or county clerk’s office sometimes online since these documents are public records. However, certain records or information may be blocked from public view because it meets a privacy or confidentiality exemption under state or federal law.

Accessing Public Record

Generally, a public record is a document filed with or kept by a city, county, state or federal government agency in the ordinary course of business that is viewable by the public. Although public records are often documents, they can also be such things as maps, recordings, films, photographs, tapes, software, letters and books. Court cases are a common example of a public record. In some cases, this information can be retrieved online.

Public and Private Document

Public Documents: Public Documents are those documents which are authenticated by a public officer and subsequently which is made available to the public at large for reference and use. Public documents also contain statements made by the public officer in their official capacity, which acts as admissible evidence of the fact in civil matters. These documents are also known as public records as these are issued or published for public knowledge.

Private documents: Private documents are those documents which are prepared between persons for their usual business transactions and communications. These documents are kept in the custody of the private persons only and are not made available to the public at large. Certified copies of the private documents are generally not considered as evidence unless there is proof of the original copy is provided.

Documents forming the acts or records of the acts:
• Of sovereign authority
• Of official bodies and tribunals
• Of public officers, legislative, judiciary and executive of any part of India or of the commonwealth, or of a foreign country.
• The public record kept in any State of Private document

Examples of Public Documents

These documents are considered to be public documents which are open to the public at large:
• Electoral Roll of all the districts
• Census Report of India
• Town Planning Reports by the Department of State Development
• Village Records of the villages
• Public records keeping the original private documents and not the copy
• Records of National Bank
• Birth and Death Register
• Charge Sheet
• Confessions recorded by a magistrate
• Sanction to prosecute
• Record of Information
• Notice

Private Documents

Private Documents are those documents which are made by an individual for his/her personal interest under his/her individual right. These documents are in the hands of the individual to whom the public document belongs to and is not made open to the general public for inspection. Certified copies of the private documents are not admissible in court unless the proof of original document is submitted. Example: Correspondence between persons; matter published in newspapers, books; deed of the contract; memorandum; sale deed.

Difference between Public and Private Documents

• Public Documents are made by a public servant in discharge of his/her public duties while Private Documents are made by an individual for his/her personal interest under his/her individual right.
• Public Document is available for inspection to the public in public office during the appointed time after payment of fixed fees while Private Document is in the hands of the individual to whom the document belongs to and is not available for inspection to the general public.
• Public Documents are proved by Secondary Evidence while Private Documents are proved by original i.e. Primary Evidence.

What Is a Final Divorce Decree?

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?

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.

Private Records – Why Search for them?

We live in an era where we can find information about people we know from social media outlets, as well as different websites where individuals write details about themselves. However, there are people out there who easily falsify information about themselves, and tell people lies very easily. So, the best way to find credible information about others is to tap into reliable sources of information, such as people’s records.

What is found in People Records?

U.S. authorities gather accurate data about residents of the country that is kept in special files for decades. Official records in each state contain valuable information about people, and among these records, you can find the following details:
• Birth records
• Marriage record
• Divorce records
• Aliases
• Employment history
• Criminal records
• Arrest records
• Contact information
• Mugshots
• Social media data
All these records and details can help you discover if someone is lying to you, and if they may have bad intentions, such as committing fraud, harming you physically, harming you emotionally, or taking advantage of you in any way by telling you lies and gaining your trust.
Most divorce decrees cover the topics of alimony, division of debt, and the division of property along with the messier, litigious issues of custody, visitation, and child support, if applicable.

Alimony

Sometimes referred to as spousal support and/or spousal maintenance, alimony is the amount of money that one spouse is ordered to pay the other. Very basically, this amount depends on whoever made more money during the marriage and the roles you both played. But there are lots of other circumstances a judge may also consider, including your prior standard of living, plus your health, age, and many other mitigating factors.

Division of Property

This aspect only comes into play when you and your spouse are unable to agree on who gets what. In order to rule on the division of marital property, a judge will identify, categorize (marital versus non-marital), and assign value to your combined assets. How your property is divided and split among you and your ex depends on state laws: Most states exercise equitable distribution, which dictates that any money and property you’ve both acquired belongs to whichever spouse earned and/or bought it. Community property states view that all income and assets earned during the marriage equally belong to both parties.

Division of Debt

The division of debt happens similarly to how property is divided. Before you’ve officially split, you and your ex have the option to pay everything off before filing for divorce or to decide whoever is responsible during the divorce negotiations (this usually happens whenever debt is too great to be paid off before the divorce). To divide debt, the court must determine which spouse incurred it and who benefited most. Your final divorce decree might also contain other contingencies specific to your personal circumstances, such as a name-change authorization or the assignation of the party that’s ordered to pay taxes and/or attorney’s fees, for example.

Before You Sign

Above all, your final divorce decree needs to be accurate (grammatically and otherwise) and contain certain language and contingencies that protect your legal interests. Your decree also needs to hold up if, for whatever reason, you need to modify or appeal the document at a later date. And if for whatever reason, your ex doesn’t comply with what was set forth in the decree, you can take them back to court to enforce the terms.

Modifications

Once you’ve signed it, modifying a final divorce decree can be extremely difficult, regardless of the reason. The only way to change it may be via an appeal, which can be a long, drawn-out process that requires stringent proof that your circumstances meet certain criteria, which are dependent on the state in which you live. If, however, you feel that you signed the decree under duress or felt threatened if you didn’t sign, your attorney may be able to petition the court for a new hearing.

A final decree of divorce is archived in the vital records office of your courthouse, in the county in which you obtained your divorce. You’ll want to keep this document for your records and you should also reread it after it’s signed and entered into court records. In most situations, the court clerk or your attorney will mail you a copy of your final decree. If this doesn’t happen, or you need an extra copy, request the document (either in-person or in writing) directly from your county clerk’s office.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

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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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-3: Award of Costs, Attorney And Witness Fees — Temporary Alimony.

(1) In any action filed under Title 30, Chapter 3, Divorce, Chapter 4, Separate Maintenance, or Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 1, Cohabitant Abuse Act, and in any action to establish an order of custody, parent-time, child support, alimony, or division of property in a domestic case, the court may order a party to pay the costs, attorney fees, and witness fees, including expert witness fees, of the other party to enable the other party to prosecute or defend the action. The order may include provision for costs of the action.

(2) In any action to enforce an order of custody, parent-time, child support, alimony, or division of property in a domestic case, the court may award costs and attorney fees upon determining that the party substantially prevailed upon the claim or defense. The court, in its discretion, may award no fees or limited fees against a party if the court finds the party is impecunious or enters in the record the reason for not awarding fees.

(3) In any action listed in Subsection (1), the court may order a party to provide money, during the pendency of the action, for the separate support and maintenance of the other party and of any children in the custody of the other party.

(4) Orders entered under this section prior to entry of the final order or judgment may be amended during the course of the action or in the final order or judgment.

Temporary alimony or spousal support is an order for support that comes during a divorce, legal separation or even an annulment case after one party has filed such a request with the court. A hearing is set after a motion document called a “Request for Order” is filed with the family court. For these financial motions, it is a requirement that each party file an Income and Expense Declaration to show their respective financial status. Temporary spousal support is usually ordered to “preserve the status quo”, meaning to try and maintain some semblance of what the parties had going during the marriage. The court is granted a significant amount of discretion, or authority, to order or deny spousal support. Temporary spousal support is also called pendente lite spousal support, which means an order made during the pendency of a case.

How Is Temporary Spousal Support Calculated?

Utah courts are allowed to determine temporary spousal support by looking at a “guideline” calculator that most family law attorneys have in their office. The court can look at the guideline calculator if they want (and every judge or commissioner does), but they are not required to look at the calculator. They are required to consider the needs of the supported party and the supporting party’s ability to pay. Those are the only two factors that the trial court judge is bound to consider. Some calculators can be found online, but we would caution against relying on those calculators. The factors that are input into the calculator are extremely important and are the subject of many litigation arguments. We can also save you some time: typically the calculator will say that if the supported spouse has little or no income, temporary alimony will be somewhere between 30-35% of the supporting spouse’s gross income. Obviously, great care has to be taken in making sure the court uses the correct figures when determining temporary support.

Can Temporary Spousal Support Be Modified?

Yes. Temporary spousal support is an order that is made during the pendency of a case based on the payer’s ability to pay and the recipient’s need for money. While there are many other factors that the court can consider when making a temporary alimony order, those are the primary concerns for the court. Generally, orders that are made a part of a judgment are only modifiable based on a showing of changed circumstances. Usually those changes have to be substantial. When a temporary order is made and one party seeks to modify the order, technically they do not have to prove that there has been any change of circumstances warranting a change. Practically speaking, however, a party would not want to bring a motion to modify a temporary order without there being some change of circumstances. The family court judge will not be pleased with motion requesting the same information already ruled on.

Can The Court Use The Guideline Spousal Support Calculator To Determine Permanent Alimony?

No. The statutory and case law is clear that the court is not permitted to review or rely upon the “guideline” spousal support calculator in determining permanent spousal support under Family Code 4320. In fact, family court judges are very careful not to allow either party to submit computer spousal support calculations for consideration because the Court of Appeals will reverse the trial court’s judgment. Many times, there is already a computer calculation for spousal support that is calculated during the pendency of the divorce case for temporary spousal support, which is part of the court record and the court is permitted to review the court file and that document for reference. Even so, most, if not all judges look at the “guideline” formula for temporary spousal support to get an idea about what that number is and to gauge the net income of each party and to gather certain tax information. However, the court is explicitly not allowed to rely on the calculator for determining permanent spousal support.

How Is Permanent Spousal Support Calculated?

Permanent spousal support is not really “calculated” since the court is not allowed to use a calculator. The court is required to list and consider each and every factor to determine the amount and duration of spousal support, if any. Generally, these are the standard of living during marriage, employment, income, earning capacity, health of each party, and so forth. In practice, permanent spousal support judgments are typically slightly lower than temporary spousal support orders.

Difference between Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support

• Temporary alimony is ordered during a case, permanent alimony is ordered at the end of a case.
• Temporary spousal support can be ordered during an annulment (i.e. nullity) case, but permanent spousal support cannot be ordered in an annulment case.
• The judge is allowed to use a computer to determine temporary alimony, but is not allowed to use the calculator to determine permanent alimony.
• The only consideration necessary for temporary spousal support is the supported party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay, while there are about a dozen factors that the court must consider when ordering permanent alimony.
• Temporary spousal support is ordered after a party files a motion (i.e. RFO) for temporary support, while permanent alimony is part of a “judgment” that occurs at trial or upon agreement of the parties.
• Permanent alimony may be factored into the IRS’ “recapture” rules, which means that it may not be taxable income to the recipient and deductible to the paying spouse even though that’s what was intended. These IRS rules look at whether certain agreements between parties may have too much cross-over between alimony and property division, to put it very simply. These types of IRS rules really wouldn’t apply to temporary spousal support.
• Temporary spousal support ends until the court revises the order either by making a new order or after permanent spousal support is ordered. Permanent spousal support might not have an end date attached to it.
Process of Obtaining a Temporary Alimony
First, you need to inform the court that you are in need of a temporary alimony order and file the necessary paperwork with the help of a temporary alimony lawyer in the family court. Once the courts reviewed the financial documents, it may hold hearings for the order. Courts have wide discretion is granting or denying the temporary alimony order. It is crucial to document all the financial materials and collect them as evidence for the hearing. The more clearly you can articulate your financial and marital situation the better the judge can decide on your case.

What Factors do Courts Consider in Awarding Temporary Alimony?

A judge may look to several factors in determining the temporary alimony. These include:
• Length of the marriage;
• Age of the parties;
• Couple’s standard of living throughout the marriage;
• Each spouse’s mental and physical condition;
• The financial needs and financial resources;
• Each spouse’s ability to become self-sufficient through obtaining higher education;
• Each spouse’s contribution to marriage, financial and nonfinancial;
• Is the amount too burdensome on the spouse to meet their own financial means; and
• Ability to work while providing for any dependent children.

Additionally, the courts may look to determine if it was a “no fault” divorce and if there was any agreement on the alimony between the couples. However, laws regarding temporary spousal support vary throughout the states. Courts need to consider the financial capabilities of the spouse to set the temporary alimony amount. Most states require that the divorcing couples file and exchange preliminary financial disclosures. Generally these forms provide sufficient information about each spouse’s financial situation. This includes any assets, debts, income and expenses. Temporary alimony orders may include a temporary award of the marital home. Furthermore, it is within the court’s discretion to award temporary alimony even if the spouse is self-sufficient.

How Are Temporary Alimony Orders Enforced by the Courts?

There are many reasons a spouse may have difficulty paying the court ordered amount of alimony. It could be due to medical, employment or the ability to work issues. After determining the reason for the delay in payment, the couples can come to an agreement to modify the alimony agreement to best serve their situations. However, if your spouse does not have a viable reason and is avoiding the payments, you have the option to get the court involved. The court can order a spouse to make orderly payments for the spousal support. The courts have discretion in imposing fines and in ordering another form of punishment for the spouses that are failing to follow court orders. States vary in the remedies provided to each spouse receiving alimony and some of them include:
• Contempt: Failing to pay spousal support voluntarily can lead to more fines and possible jail time;
• Income Withholding: Courts can order the spouse’s employer to withhold the income check or send it directly to the supporting spouse;
• Writ of Execution: Judge can order a portion of the spouse’s assets to be awarded to the supporting spouse; and
• Judgment and Interest: Courts can also issue money order judgments for large amounts of overdue alimony.
Can Temporary Alimony Orders Be Modified?
Courts can modify the temporary alimony orders based on a showing of changed circumstances. These changes need to be substantial and warrant a modification in the order. The most important consideration for temporary alimony orders, is that the courts determine supported party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay.

How Long Does Temporary Alimony Last?

Temporary alimony ends once the case is completed. In other words it terminates once the divorce is finalized. The purpose of the temporary alimony is to ensure the self-sufficiency of the supported spouse and to allow adequate time needed. However, some temporary alimony orders can carry over to the final judgment of the divorce, transforming into the permanent alimony order. Any family going through a divorce is enduring tough times. The spouses are also faced with bills and expenses for rearing their children.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Temporary Alimony Issues?

Financial burdens can pile up and create complicated situations for the families seeking divorce. For more information and guidance on how to file for a temporary alimony order or to determine your eligibility, it would be useful to seek out a family law attorney to assist with the process. Your attorney can provide you with advice and representation during the legal process.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

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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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-1

Utah residents are subject to Utah state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in Utah as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, Federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. The state of Utah also has its own state laws. Utah state laws include the Utah Constitution, laws passed by the Utah legislature and periodically codified in the Utah Code, and decisions by courts that interpret Utah laws. The original version of the Utah Constitution, which was drafted in 1895, remains substantially in effect. This document was the eighth constitution drafted in Utah, which could not become a state until it abandoned the practice of polygamy. The Constitution was notably progressive in granting women the right to vote well before the U.S. Constitution granted this right. Article XXIII provides the processes for amending the Constitution.

First, an amendment proposed in the legislature will appear on a ballot if two-thirds of each chamber of the legislature votes in its favor. Alternatively, a proposal for a constitutional convention will appear on a ballot if two-thirds of each chamber of the legislature votes in its favor. The Utah Code contains the laws passed by the Utah legislature. These laws and the provisions of the Utah Constitution are often interpreted by the Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Court of Appeals. The federal Utah District Court also issues decisions that may affect Utah residents. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by the Utah District Court. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Tenth Circuit or from the Utah Supreme Court.

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-1: Procedure, Residence and Grounds.

(1) Proceedings in divorce are commenced and conducted as provided by law for proceedings in civil causes, except as provided in this chapter.
(2) The court may decree a dissolution of the marriage contract between the petitioner and respondent on the grounds specified in Subsection (3) in all cases where the petitioner or respondent has been an actual and bona fide resident of this state and of the county where the action is brought, or if members of the armed forces of the United States who are not legal residents of this state, where the petitioner has been stationed in this state under military orders, for three months next prior to the commencement of the action.
(3) Grounds for divorce:
(a) Impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage;
(b) adultery committed by the respondent subsequent to marriage;
(c) willful desertion of the petitioner by the respondent for more than one year;
(d) willful neglect of the respondent to provide for the petitioner the common necessaries of life;
(e) habitual drunkenness of the respondent;
(f) conviction of the respondent for a felony;
(g) cruel treatment of the petitioner by the respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the petitioner;
(h) irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
(i) incurable insanity; or
(j) when the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.

(4) A decree of divorce granted under Subsection (3) (j) does not affect the liability of either party under any provision for separate maintenance previously granted.
(5) (a) A divorce may not be granted on the grounds of insanity unless:
(i) the respondent has been adjudged insane by the appropriate authorities of this or another state prior to the commencement of the action; and
(ii) the court finds by the testimony of competent witnesses that the insanity of the respondent is incurable.
(b) The court shall appoint for the respondent a guardian ad litem who shall protect the interests of the respondent. A copy of the summons and complaint shall be served on the respondent in person or by publication, as provided by the laws of this state in other actions for divorce, or upon his guardian ad litem, and upon the county attorney for the county where the action is prosecuted.
(c) The county attorney shall investigate the merits of the case and if the respondent resides out of this state, take depositions as necessary, attend the proceedings, and make a defense as is just to protect the rights of the respondent and the interests of the state.
(d) In all actions the court and judge have jurisdiction over the payment of alimony, the distribution of property, and the custody and maintenance of minor children, as the courts and judges possess in other actions for divorce.
(e) The petitioner or respondent may, if the respondent resides in this state, upon notice, have the respondent brought into the court at trial, or have an examination of the respondent by two or more competent physicians, to determine the mental condition of the respondent. For this purpose either party may have leave from the court to enter any asylum or institution where the respondent may be confined. The costs of court in this action shall be apportioned by the court.

When to Submit Evidence about Why You Divorced

You also might want to submit a personal statement or other evidence regarding the circumstances of your divorce in order to prove that it was not your fault that the marriage ended. For example, you can provide evidence of:
• No-fault divorce: If the divorce petition was initiated due to irreconcilable differences or a mutual understanding, you should state that the divorce was a no-fault action and the differences that led to the end of your marriage (disagreements about whether to have children, where to live, or anything else that is relevant).
• The divorce having been your ex-spouse’s fault: If you alleged grounds for divorce or annulment such as adultery, abandonment, impotency, or imprisonment, you should submit a copy of the divorce or annulment petition that alleged those fault grounds or documents that tend to prove those grounds. You can also provide affidavits from people who knew you and your ex-spouse attesting to the fact that the divorce was the fault of your former spouse.
• Having attempted marriage counseling: If you or your ex-spouse initiated marriage counseling sessions prior to your divorce, you can provide invoices for those sessions or evidence that you tried to convince your former spouse to go to a marriage counselor. This could include emails to your ex-spouse or evidence that you contacted a counselor during your marriage (emails to a counselor or a letter from a counselor stating that you requested information from his or her office). This also helps prove that the marriage was bona fide.

Grounds for divorce

Before filing for divorce, you should first consider the grounds for divorce, as these will need to be specified as part of the divorce process. Currently, the five possible grounds for divorce are: adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, living apart for more than two years (with agreement) and living apart for more than five years (without agreement). In practice, divorcing couples who both want to get divorced will often decide to choose the reason of ‘unreasonable behavior’ as a catch-all ground.
• Adultery: The ground of adultery can be used where your husband or wife has had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex (so if your husband had sex with a man this does not count as adultery). It must be actual sexual intercourse – not just a kiss or ‘heavy petting’. If you decide to file for divorce on grounds of adultery, you must do so within six months of discovering that your spouse cheated on you. However, you cannot give adultery as a reason if you lived together as a couple for 6 months after you found out about it. You can only use the ground of adultery if you are the ‘innocent’ party (i.e. your husband or wife slept with someone else – not if you committed adultery). However, if you both had sexual relationships with other people, either husband or wife can file for divorce.

• Unreasonable Behavior: There are essentially two distinct situations where the ground of unreasonable behavior is given in a divorce petition: firstly where unreasonable behavior has actually occurred – and secondly where none of the other grounds for divorce apply (e.g. where husband and wife have simply drifted apart and no longer wish to remain married). Although unreasonable behavior can constitute serious accusations including domestic violence or drunkenness, it also encompasses rather vague issues such as lack of support in maintaining a household. In reality, there is a very low standard when it comes to unreasonable behavior, but some factual reason must be given and an incident of ‘unreasonable behavior’ must have occurred less than six months prior to filing for divorce. It should be noted that, if your husband or wife has become intimate with someone else but has not had sexual relations with them, although adultery cannot be given as a ground for divorce, unreasonable behavior can be used. Similarly, if your spouse has a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex, this does not count as adultery but can count as unreasonable behavior.
• Living apart for more than 2 Years (with agreement): If you and your spouse have lived apart for at least two years, and you both agree to get divorced, this ground can be used.
• Living apart for more than 5 Years (without agreement): If you have not been living with your husband or wife for at least five years, you can file for divorce on this ground, even if your spouse does not agree to divorce.
• Desertion: If your husband or wife left you, without your agreement or a good reason and with the intention of ending the relationship, it may be possible to use the ground of desertion when filing for divorce. They must have deserted you for over two years within the last two and a half years and you can have lived together for up to six months during this period. In practice, this is a rarely used ground.

What Happens in a Divorce?

Although divorce is common throughout the United States, the divorce process varies depending on the couple’s situation. Short-term marriages without children or property typically result in a less complex and time-consuming divorce than long-term marriages with significant property entanglements, marital debt, and minor children. Additionally, divorcing couples who work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce (child custody, child support, property division, debt allocation, and spousal support) will experience a less expensive and less stressful divorce than couples who can’t agree or refuse to work together.
Step One: Filing the Divorce Petition
Whether both spouses agree to the divorce or not, before any couple can begin the divorce process, one spouse must file a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. The filing spouse must include the following information:
• a statement which informs the court that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
• a legal reason—or grounds—for the divorce, and
• any other statutory information that your state requires.

Step Two: Asking for Temporary Orders

Courts understand that the waiting period for divorce may not be possible for all couples. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent that is raising your children and dependent on your spouse for financial support, waiting for 6-months for the judge to finalize your divorce probably seems impossible. When you file for divorce, the court allows you to ask the court for temporary court orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you request a temporary order, the court will hold a hearing and request information from each spouse before deciding how to rule on the application. The judge will usually grant the temporary order quickly, and it will remain valid until the court orders otherwise or until the judge finalizes the divorce. Other temporary orders may include a request for status quo payments or temporary property restraining orders. Status quo orders typically require the breadwinner to continue paying marital debts throughout the divorce process. Temporary property restraining orders protect the marital estate from either spouse selling, giving away, or otherwise disposing of marital property during the divorce process. Restraining orders are usually mutual, meaning both spouses must follow it or risk being penalized by the court.

Step Three: Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response

After you file the petition for divorce and request for temporary orders, you need to provide a copy of the paperwork to your spouse and file proof of service with the court. Proof of service is a document that tells the court that you met the statutory requirements for giving a copy of the petition to your spouse. If you don’t properly serve your spouse, or if you neglect to file a proof of service with the court, the judge will be unable to proceed with your divorce case.

Step Four: Negotiate a Settlement

In cases where the parties have differing opinions on important topics, like child custody, support, or property division, both spouses will need to work together to reach an agreement. Sometimes the court will schedule a settlement conference, which is where the parties and their attorneys will meet to discuss the status of the case. The court may schedule mediation, which is where a neutral third-party will help facilitate discussion between the spouses in hopes to resolve lingering issues. Some states require participation in mediation, while others do not. However, mediation often saves significant time and money during the divorce process, so it’s often a good route for many divorcing couples.

Step Five: Divorce Trial

Sometimes negotiations fail despite each spouse’s best efforts. If there are still issues that remain unresolved after mediation and other talks, the parties will need to ask the court for help, which means going to trial. A divorce trial is costly and time-consuming, plus it takes all the power away from the spouses and puts it in the hands of the judge. Negotiations and mediation sessions allow the couple to maintain control and have more predictable results than a divorce trial, so it’s best to avoid a trial if possible.

Step Six: Finalizing the Judgment

Whether you and your spouse negotiated throughout the divorce process, or a judge decided the significant issues for you, the final step of divorce comes when the judge signs the judgment of divorce. The judgment of divorce (or “order of dissolution”) ends the marriage and spells out the specifics about how the couple will allocate custodial responsibility and parenting time, child and spousal support, and how the couple will divide assets and debts. If the parties negotiated a settlement, the filing spouse’s attorney typically drafts the judgment. However, if the couple went through a divorce trial, the judge will issue the final order.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

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 Modifications

Divorce Modifications

Although a divorce decree is the final order of a judge, its terms can be changed in two situations. If you think the judge came to the wrong decision regarding any aspect of your divorce, you have the ability to appeal that decision to a higher court, provided you do so within a narrow window of time following the issuance of your divorce decree. On the other hand, if something changes after the decree is finalized that affects certain aspects of the divorce, you may be able to file a motion to modify the decree to accommodate those changed circumstances.

Filing a Motion to Modify

• Find the correct forms: Most courts provide a form for divorce decree modifications. Especially in cases involving children, modifications are common as circumstances change. Keep in mind that after the period for appeal has passed, you can’t have the division of property modified. However, any ongoing obligations or responsibilities such as child support, spousal support, or child visitation are subject to modification if circumstances change. You may have to use a different form depending on whether you want to modify custody and visitation, child support, or spousal support. Go to the website of the court where your original divorce case was heard and see if there are modification forms available for you to download. You also might find paper forms at the clerk’s office.

• Draft your motion: To have a divorce decree modified, you must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the decree was entered. For example, if your ex-spouse recently got a promotion and should be paying more child support as a result, you can have the divorce decree modified to account for this change. In some states, court rules establish a rebuttable presumption that child support should be modified if the new amount calculated using the child support guidelines varies more than 10 percent from the original amount.

• Sign your motion in the presence of a notary. If you’re making factual statements in your motion, you should sign it in front of a notary public. If you don’t know where to find a notary, check and see if your bank provides free notary services to its customers. You also can find notaries at some private businesses such as check-cashing companies, or in the courthouse. Nearly every aspect of child or spousal support and visitation can be modified. If you’re the one filing the motion for modification, it’s up to you to prove that the change is great enough to require the decree be changed to accommodate it. For example, suppose your original decree had your kids coming to visit you every other weekend. However, your employer is about to transfer you to a new plant 500 miles away, which would make such frequent travel for such short periods of time unfeasible. In these circumstances, a judge might be willing to enter a modification with a more reasonable visitation schedule.

• Assemble your motion and make copies: Once you’ve signed your motion, assemble it and all attachments and make enough copies to send one to your ex-spouse and keep at least one for your records. Include any evidentiary documents as attachments. For example, if you are requesting the amount of child support be modified because you’ve changed jobs and have a significant change in income, you might attach copies of paycheck stubs. You also should attach a copy of the original divorce decree. Make sure you have a certificate of service and notice of hearing. These forms usually are available at the same place where you got the forms for your motion.

• File your motion: Take your originals and copies to the clerk’s office of the court that issued your divorce decree and file your motion to modify. The clerk will stamp your originals and copies “filed” with the date after you pay the filing fee, usually around $100. The clerk also will schedule a date and time for your hearing and include this on the notice of hearing attached to your motion.

• Serve your ex-spouse: After your motion has been filed, you must send copies to your spouse to provide notice of your request for modification and the hearing scheduled. You can contact the sheriff’s department or a private process serving company to serve the papers in person, or you can mail them certified mail.

• Attend mediation or pre-trial conferences as required: A motion to modify can become as lengthy and formal as a divorce trial itself. For this reason, many jurisdictions require you to complete mediation or attend a pre-trial conference before the motion is heard by a judge.

• Appear in court for your hearing: If your ex-spouse continues to contest your request for modification, or you are otherwise unable to reach an agreement, a judge will hear your motion and make a final decision on whether to modify the decree.

• Arrive at the courthouse early so you have plenty of time to park and go through security. Dress conservatively and professionally, and bring copies of all the documents you’ve filed along with any witnesses or evidence you wish to present.

• In court, rise when your name is called and speak only to the judge. Since you filed the motion, you will have the opportunity to speak first.

• After you’ve presented the reasons you believe the decree should be modified, the judge will give your ex-spouse the opportunity to present her side. Do not speak to her directly or interrupt her; speak only to the judge.

• After hearing both sides and any witnesses, the judge will issue her final ruling on your motion. You may receive the final order that day, or it may be mailed to you later.

Filing an Appeal

• Determine whether you qualify to appeal: You have a brief period of time, usually 30 days, after your decree is entered to appeal some portion of the judge’s decision. Either spouse can appeal a trial court’s decision to an appeals court. An appeal turns on what happened during the trial, not what has happened since the trial. You can’t introduce new facts or evidence on appeal – you’re only arguing that the trial judge’s decision was incorrect based on the information he had at the time. Keep in mind that settlement agreements typically can’t be appealed, because you both agreed to the terms. You may be able to modify the agreement if circumstances have changed.

• Consider hiring an attorney: Even if you didn’t have an attorney represent you at trial, appellate practice is considerably more complicated than trial practice, and divorce decisions are rarely overturned on appeal. If you did have an attorney, she may be willing to continue to represent you, or she may refer you to another attorney who specializes in appeals. Appeals arguments typically focus on issues of legal interpretation rather than factual disputes. Appellate judges generally won’t second guess a trial judge’s factual conclusions. An attorney will ensure that you have solid grounds for appeal and that all necessary documents are filed ahead of any deadlines.

• Draft your appellate brief: The appellate brief contains your legal argument as to why the trial court judge’s decision was wrong and should be overruled. Unlike your initial divorce petition, you likely won’t find forms to fill out for an appellate brief. You may be able to find briefs filed in other cases in the same court to use as guides. Typically an appellate brief argues the judge made a mistake either in applying or interpreting the law – not that the judge made a mistake of fact. For example, if the court concluded that your total income was $100,000 a year, you can’t appeal that factual conclusion. However, if the judge arrived at that conclusion because he included money that legally should have been excluded from your legal income for the purposes of calculating child or spousal support, that would be an issue for appeal.

• File your appellate brief: When you file your brief, you must also follow your appellate court’s rules for “perfecting” your appeal. These vary not only among states but also among appellate courts within a state. In addition to paying a filing fee, you typically will have to file a notice of appeal and order a trial transcript along with a written order asking the trial court clerk to send the trial court record to the court of appeals.

• Attend the appellate court hearing: After the appellate court receives all the documents for your case, it may hold oral arguments on either party’s request. No testimony or evidence is presented; rather, appellate attorneys argue their cases based on the record of the case at trial. Once arguments are heard, the appeals court, typically consisting of a three-judge panel, will decide whether to accept or deny your appeal. In most cases, unless your judge made a serious error, the appellate court will uphold the original decree and you will have to follow it.

How Much Does It Costs to Go Back and Modify My Divorce?

Divorce agree on the proposed, agree on the proposed change, alter the terms, change, change in circumstances, difficult to alter, difficult to alter the terms, divorce, divorce decree, ex-spouse, file a petition, file a petition to modify, modify, petition to modify, proposed change, reached an agreement, show the court, term in question, terms, terms of your divorce. Sometimes circumstances change after the judge signs your divorce decree, which lays out the terms of your divorce. It can be difficult to alter the terms of your divorce unless you can show the court the modification or appeal is justified. Once the divorce decree is signed, you have the right to file an appeal the terms of the divorce or a motion to modify certain specific terms. An appeal must be filed within thirty days of the original judgment. Modifications can be requested at any time after the divorce is finalized. If both parties agree to the appeal or modification, the lawyer may charge $2600 to $6800 to file the necessary paperwork for you and there is a filing fee as well. As long as both parties agree then it doesn’t matter if there has been a substantial change or not, the judge will usually grant it since it is by agreement. If one party does not agree to a modification, the lawyer may charge at least a $2,500 retainer to file it on your behalf. It can be difficult to alter the terms of your divorce since you will have to show the court a convincing reason why you want to modify your divorce. The most common type of modification involves child support and spousal support. They usually require some type of life change in order to modify (e.g., significant change in income, major medical event, etc.). To alter the terms of your divorce decree, one party much file a Petition to modify the decree. If you and your ex-spouse agreed on the term in question during the divorce process, then the petition would be to change certain aspects of the agreement.

If you and your ex-spouse did not agree on the term in question and the term was decided by a judge, then you would petition to change the judge’s decision. In the latter instance, even if you and your ex-spouse agree on the proposed change, you’ll still have to convince the judge to modify the court’s order. If you and your ex-spouse do not agree on the proposed change, you’ll have to argue against your ex-spouse and argue your case to the judge why your proposed change is necessary. If it is a prior agreement to be amended without both parties agreeing to the change, then you will need to show a change in circumstances that justifies the proposed change. If you and your ex-spouse do not agree on the proposed modification, you will need to file your Petition to Modify without an agreement and it will be set for a hearing. At the hearing, your ex-spouse can object to the changes and the two of you can litigate the issue to have the judge determine the contested issues for you. This can cost quite a bit in attorney fees, but either party can always file a Petition to Modify and have a hearing even without having reached an agreement with the ex-spouse. If you have reached an agreement in your divorce and file a Petition to Modify a few months after your divorce decree was entered, you may have difficulty since you agreed to the Settlement Agreement just a few months prior and now want to change it. There has likely not been enough time passed for there to be a substantial change in circumstances.

When you agree to a Settlement Agreement in a divorce, it is a binding contract between you and your ex-spouse. Like any contract, you agreed to it at the time, so a judge is not going to let you out of the contract very easily. The more time that has passed since you agreed to the contract, the more likely a judge is to let you alter parts of it or get out of certain aspects of the agreement as situations are more likely to change significantly over a period of time. Sometimes if former spouses still get along well, they may informally decide to change or modify certain terms of their divorce. For example, they may make informal adjustments to how they divide their property, how much one party pays the other for child support, and custody plans. It is not advisable for you to do this. If one spouse changes their mind, they can go back and hold you to the original terms and potentially get the court involved. Maybe you were getting along fine with your ex-spouse, and they decided you could keep the car, even though they got it in the divorce. Well, maybe you start dating again and they hear about it and get jealous. They can demand the car back, and you have to give it to them unless you want law enforcement at your door. Stick to the terms of your divorce and if you do find yourself in need of modification, contact us so we can get it done for you the right way.

When a divorce or paternity decree is entered, the court orders reflect the general circumstances in place at that particular time. If a substantial change occurs in the years after entry of your divorce or paternity order, the court will allow you to file a petition and seek a modification of the terms of the order with a post-divorce modifications lawyer in Utah. This is a legally complicated matter which requires a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney. Generally speaking, rulings of a court, including decrees of divorce and paternity, are the court’s orders until modified by the court or by agreement between the parties. Whether or not a party may request the court to modify its order depends greatly on changes in circumstances, if any that may have taken place after the entry of the decree. Parties often seek relief from the court to modify court orders. Sometimes, both the parties seek the change to ratify something that is already taking place, such as a change in a parent-time schedule and wish to formalize the agreement they have.

Other times, the parties are not in agreement and seek the court’s determination of whether the order should be modified and this is the best time to have a family lawyer on your side. Common areas of post-divorce modifications in Utah include:

• Alimony
• Child Support
• Parent-time
• Custody

Modifications of court orders can sometimes be legally complex and hard to understand. Sometimes the order itself will dictate if and how an order may be modified. Often, discussion and mediation between the parties is a pre-requisite before a petition to modify may be filed. Having a post divorce modification lawyer in Utah on your side can help you can be fully informed of your rights.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

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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Is Alimony Mandatory In Utah?

Is Alimony Mandatory In Utah

No. Alimony in not mandatory in Utah, but you may be able to receive it or you may have to pay it.

Spousal support is not mandatory in most states but can be ordered by a judge under certain circumstances. If a spouse will face hardships without financial support, spousal support should be considered. The deciding factor for spousal support is the need to maintain the spouse at his or her customary standard of living. In other words, the law recognizes a husband or wife should not be forced to live at a level below that enjoyed during the marriage. However, other factors also need to be considered. For example, spousal support should most likely not be considered if:

• The marriage was for a short duration (less than two or three years), and

• Both spouses are employed and self-sufficient.

Spousal support has variable timeframes. It can be for an unlimited period, subject to the death or remarriage of the recipient spouse, or fixed to end on a specific date. Child support payments do take priority over spousal support. There is no firm dollar figure for spousal support. The amount should be decided by both parties. Some common ways of calculating spousal support are to take up to 40% of the paying spouse’s net income (post-child support), less 50% of the amount of the supported spouse’s net income (if he or she is working). Spousal support can be waived by the recipient spouse. However, the waiver should be in writing and signed by both spouses.

Therefore, to summarize the grounds on which the alimony can be denied are as follows:

• If the Wife is earning enough to maintain herself

• If the wife is in an adulterous relationship

Anyhow, this shall not affect the maintenance rights of the children. As per the provision under the Law, the daughter is liable to get maintenance till she is married and the son is liable to get maintenance till the age of 18 years. Alimony is not an automatic matter of consideration by the Court; rather it comes to the scene only after the wife has applied for it. There are basically four ways by which alimony can be granted the following;

• Rehabilitation Alimony: If the wife is not financially independent, or does not have any means to earn all by herself to maintain herself, then in such a situation, the Court grants alimony order. Where the wife is educated enough and is capable to find a job and maintain herself, then in such a situation, the Court shall instruct the wife to look for a suitable job and shall be liable only till the wife settles down financially. There is no set time for rehabilitative alimony to end, and it is determined based on the individual situation. This type of alimony will likely be reviewed at intervals to check on the progress of the recipient.
• Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony is when the payments are to continue indefinitely. There are many reasons that a judge would order this type of alimony. One situation may be if the recipient is handicapped and unable to work and become self-sufficient. If the recipient married without ever gaining employment skills, and has never worked but has raised children and taken care of the home, this recipient may be entitled to permanent alimony. Usually, permanent alimony will not stop unless one spouse dies, the recipient gets remarried or cohabitates with someone else.

• Reimbursement alimony: In the situation where one spouse worked to put the other spouse through college or a work related program which resulted in this spouse earning more money reimbursement alimony may be awarded. Typically, the alimony will continue until the cost or half of the cost of schooling has been paid back.
• Hefty Alimony: In this kind of alimony, the spouse is ordered to pay lump-sum alimony will not be required to pay any other type of alimony to the recipient. In certain cases, you cannot avoid paying alimony totally, but the amount can be reduced with the strategically argument of a skilled lawyer.

Basics of Alimony

Ability to Pay: Courts always consider a person’s ability to pay when setting his alimony obligation. A court looks at the payer’s gross income from all sources (wages, public benefits, interest and dividends on investments, rents from real property, profits from patents and the like, and any other sources of income), less any mandatory deductions (income taxes, Social Security, health care and mandatory union dues). The result is the payer’s net income. In most states, deductions for credit union payments and wage attachments are not subtracted when calculating net income. The reason for this rule is that the law accords support payments a higher priority than other types of debts, and would rather see other debts not paid than have a spouse go without adequate support.

Ability to Earn: When a court computes the amount of alimony to be paid by a spouse, both parties’ ability to earn is usually taken into account. Actual earnings are an important factor in determining a person’s ability to earn, but are not conclusive where there is evidence that a person could earn more if she chose to do so. Some states, however, set alimony payments based only on actual earnings that is, the ability to pay.
Ability to Be Self-Supporting: The ability of an ex-spouse to support herself is normally considered by a court when setting the amount and duration of alimony to be paid to that spouse. A court looks to whether the ex-spouse possesses marketable skills and whether she is able to work outside the home (having custody of pre-school children and not having access to day care could make this impossible). The ability to be self-supporting differs from actually being self-supporting. If a spouse has marketable skills and is able to work outside the home, but has chosen not to look for work, the court is very likely to limit the amount and length of alimony. In many states, no alimony is awarded if both spouses are able to support themselves. If, however, one spouse was dependent on the other for support during the marriage, the dependent spouse is often awarded alimony for a transition period or until she becomes self-supporting. If a spouse receiving alimony becomes self supporting before the time set by the court for the alimony to end, the paying spouse can go to court and file a request for modification or for a termination of alimony. Conversely, if at the end of the support period the ex-spouse does not have the ability to support herself, she may request an extension of alimony, which may be difficult to obtain.

Standard of Living During Marriage: When a court sets alimony, it often considers the family’s pre-divorce standard of living and attempts to continue this standard for both spouses. If only one spouse worked outside the home and in many marriages where both spouses worked outside the home, it is usually impossible to continue the same standard of living for both people after the spouses have gone their separate ways. Maintenance of the same standard of living is therefore more of a goal than a guarantee.
Length of Marriage: When a marriage is relatively short approximately three years or fewer and no children were born or adopted, courts often refuse to award alimony. If there are children under school age, however, alimony may be awarded to the parent given physical custody because the court wants to enable the custodial parent to care full-time for the child.

Tax Consequences of Alimony: For federal income tax purposes, alimony paid under a written agreement or court order is deductible by the payer and is taxable to the recipient. Child support, on the other hand, is tax-free to the recipient but not deductible by the payer. In the past, when ex-spouses had more flexibility in negotiating the amount of child support and alimony, many ex-spouses agreed to greater alimony and less child support because of the resulting tax advantage to the payer. Because all states determine the basic child support obligation by formula, however, shifting the amounts of child support and alimony to take advantage of tax deductions is increasingly difficult.

Debts: Upon divorce, the court allocates debts incurred during marriage between the spouses based on who can pay and who benefits most from the asset attached to the debt. If the court orders a spouse to pay a large portion of marital debts, it often reduces the amount of alimony that spouse is ordered to pay.

Agreement Before Marriage: Before a couple marries, the parties may make an agreement concerning certain aspects of their relationship, including whether alimony will be paid in the event the couple later divorces. These agreements are also called ante-nuptial, pre-nuptial or pre-marital agreements. They are usually upheld by courts unless one person shows that the agreement is likely to promote divorce (for example, by including a large alimony amount in the event of divorce), was written and signed with the intention of divorcing or was unfairly entered into (for example, a spouse giving up all of his rights in his spouse’s future earnings without the advice of an attorney).

Lump Sum Support: In several states, a spouse may pay his total alimony obligation at the time of the divorce by giving the other spouse a lump sum payment equal to the total amount of future monthly payments. This is another term for lump sum support. Occasionally, alimony obligations are paid less frequently than monthly. This is called periodic support. Traditionally, periodic support was paid until the recipient died or remarried. Today, however, because alimony is usually paid for a fixed period, periodic support is more like lump sum support divided over a few periodic payments. Upon divorce, couples commonly enter into a divorce agreement which divides marital property and may set alimony. The agreement is called integrated if the property settlement and alimony payments are combined into either one lump sum payment or periodic payments. Integrated agreements are often used when the marital property consists of substantial intangible assets (for example, future royalties, stock options or future pension plans) or when one party is buying the other’s interest in a valuable tangible asset (for example, a home or business). In addition, if a spouse is entitled to little or no alimony, but is not financially independent, periodic payments may help that spouse gain financial independence.

When parties are unable to agree on a modification of alimony, the party wanting the change will have to file a request for a modification of alimony with the court. She must usually show that circumstances have changed substantially since the time of the previously issued order. This rule encourages stability of arrangements and helps prevent the court from becoming overburdened with frequent and repetitive modification requests. Below are several examples of a change of circumstances.

• Change in law: When a law affecting alimony is amended or a new law enacted, this by itself can sometimes constitute the changed circumstance necessary to file a request for modification of a prior alimony order.

• Cohabitation: In some states, an alimony recipient who begins cohabiting (usually living intimately with a person of the opposite sex but a few courts have applied this rule to women who begin living with female lovers) is presumed to need less alimony than originally awarded. If the recipient objects, it is her burden to show that her needs have not decreased.

• Cost of living increase: When inflation reduces the value of alimony payments, the recipient may cite her increased cost of living as a changed circumstance and request an increase.

• Decrease in income/decreased ability to pay/loss of job: When an ex- spouse paying alimony suffers a decrease in earnings, she may be able to obtain from the court a downward modification of alimony. The modification may be temporary or permanent, depending on her prospects for new work or increased hours.

• Decreased need for alimony: When a former spouse’s need for alimony decreases or ceases, the court may reduce or terminate the alimony if the paying spouse files a request for modification. Such a request can be made if the alimony recipient gets a job, an increase in pay or sometimes if she begins intimately living with someone of the opposite sex (cohabiting).

• Disability: Disability in family law generally means the inability to earn enough income to support oneself through work because of a physical or mental condition. A temporary disability suffered by a person paying alimony may warrant a temporary decrease of alimony. A permanent disability may warrant a request for modification of alimony based on changed circumstances. Similarly, if a recipient of alimony becomes disabled, a court may order an increase if her earnings decreased or her expenses increased (for example, health care or child care) as a result.

• Financial emergency: A financial emergency occurs when a person is unexpectedly required to lay out money (for example, to pay sudden medical bills). When a person who pays alimony suffers a financial emergency, he may file a request with the court for a temporary decrease of alimony. When a person who receives alimony suffers a financial emergency, she may ask the court for a temporary increase.

• Hardship: Hardship means suffering or adversity. If compliance with a legal obligation would cause a hardship on a person or his family, he may be excused from the obligation. For example, a payer’s inability to meet an alimony obligation without great economic suffering himself is a hardship. If a court finds this hardship substantial, the payer may be relieved of all or a part of his support obligation for a temporary or indefinite period.

• Increase in income: When an alimony recipient’s income increases, her ex-spouse may file with the court a request for modification of the alimony, claiming that the changed circumstance means his ex-spouse needs less alimony. Whether the court will agree depends on the particular facts of the situation. When the paying spouse’s income increases, alimony may stay the same if the recipient’s needs are being met. If her ex did not have the ability to pay enough alimony to meet her true needs before the increase in income, however, a court might grant a request for a modification based on the increase.

• Medical emergencies: Medical emergencies that require large expenditures of money are the kind of temporary and catastrophic circumstances that may support a temporary modification of alimony. If the recipient suffers the emergency, the payer may be required to temporarily increase payments (if he is able). Likewise, if the payer is the one with the emergency, his duty to support may temporarily be eased by the court.

• New support obligation: When an ex-spouse paying alimony assumes a new legal support obligation (for example, adopts, remarries or has a child), the court may reduce the earlier alimony order if it would be a hardship to pay the prior alimony and meet the new obligation. On the other hand, if the new support obligation is voluntarily assumed (for example, helping to support stepchildren when there is no duty to do so), rather than required by law, a court is unlikely to order a reduction.
In theory, courts are supposed to refuse to retroactively modify an alimony obligation. This means if a person is unable to pay support, he may petition the court for a reduction, but even if the court reduces future payments, it should hold him liable for the full amount of support due and owing. Many courts, however, do not follow this rule. Although the courts will state that they refuse to make retroactive modifications, they frequently excuse the payers from some of the arrearages.

The courts’ reasoning is that if the recipients survived the months (or years) without the support, they truly can get by without it. Each installment of court-ordered alimony is owed and to be paid according to the date set out in the order. When an ex-spouse ordered by a court to pay alimony does not comply, the overdue payments are called arrearages or arrears. Because the majority of people ordered to pay alimony don’t, and a growing number of women who are awarded (but not paid) alimony are poor, many (but unfortunately, not enough) courts are becoming more strict than they were a few years ago about enforcing alimony orders and collecting alimony arrearages. A wage attachment is a court order requiring an employer to deduct a certain amount of money from an employee’s paycheck each pay period in order to satisfy a debt. Wage attachments are often used to collect alimony or child support arrearages and to secure payment in the future.

Alimony Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help for Alimony 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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What Happens If A Married Couple Divorces And Neither Wants Custody Of The Child?

What Happens If A Married Couple Divorces And Neither Wants Custody Of The Child

They have to share custody or one of them will receive custody. These parents have a child and they are going to be held to care for their child under the laws of the State of Utah.

When a married couple makes the decision to pursue a legal separation, they are looking to have a legally recognized transition in their marriage…one that involves similar characteristics and considerations seen in divorce (e.g., custody, visitation, support, property, debt, etc.).

Child Custody During Separation

If the decision to legally separate has been made and the couple has minor children from their marriage, separated parents rights, child custody, visitation rights, and support will have to be addressed. As with divorce, neither parent has the right to deny visitation rights of the other parent from their children, unless a court determines otherwise. When married couples with children separate, they usually fall into one of two scenarios…the first involving separation prior to filing for the legal separation and separation after filing for legal separation. When the spouses decide to separate prior to the filing, both parents have equal visitation rights to visit and spend time with the children without legal restrictions. Even when one spouse moves out and makes no efforts to continue to care for the children in the other spouse’s care, the spouse caring for the children must still afford the same rights and provide better child support while separated, as if the moving spouse was providing continued care. Thus, to change the structure and address parental rights to custody, visitation, and support, a petition for child support and custody will need to be filed. As with divorce, there are times when emergency or temporary order for child custody and visitation as well as support is necessary. When this is necessary, the court can issue orders to address these needs. If you are seeking an emergency court order, you will generally be required to demonstrate that any contact from the other spouse will result in serious risk or harm to the children. Temporary orders, on the other hand, involves establishing child custody and visitation rights and terms until the court has the opportunity to hear the matter and issue subsequent orders.

Different types of custody in Utah:

• Legal custody

• Physical Custody

• Sole Custody

• Joint Custody

When it comes to making the decisions about and for the minor child, the court will assign legal rights child custody to one or both of the parents. These are decisions impacting the child’s environment such as where they will go to school, their religious activities, and medical care. If the court wants both parents to be involved in this decision making process, they will most likely order joint legal custody. On the other hand, if the court feels that one parent should be the decision maker, they will likely order sole legal custody to that parent.

When it comes to making decisions about with whom the child will live with, this is known as physical custody. This is distinguishable from legal custody as it focuses on the day to day responsibility of caring for your child. Like legal custody, the court may order joint or sole physical custody and visitation rights for both. In many states, the laws are intended to ensure that both parents are involved with their children after divorce. Thus, absent certain reasons (e.g., criminal history, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, etc.) that may place the child in danger, courts will often look towards a joint physical custody model.

If sole physical custody is ordered, the parent with physical custody will be referred to as the custodial parent, while the other parent will be the noncustodial parent. In these situations, the noncustodial parent will have visitation rights. So, in the event of separation and child custody, there will be an agreed to schedule where the noncustodial parent will be able to spend time with their child.

Visitation rights in a legal separation

In some visitation schedules, if the noncustodial parent has a history of violence, abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse, there will be some restrictions added to their visitation rights such as they may be required to have someone else present during their visitation time. This is referred to as supervised visitation. The individual overseeing the visitation will generally be appointed by the court or in some situations, be decided by the parents with the court’s approval. If possible, it is generally beneficial if the spouses can decide who gets custody during a separation; negotiate a separation and child custody as well as visitation rights agreement without requiring a court hearing. If both spouses agree to the terms, the court can review the plan, and if accepted, will be incorporated into a custody order and separation legal rights for the estranged parents. Ultimately, the plan will need to be created in the best interest of the children.

It is important to understand that every legal separation is different, but that the above information is a general overview of child custody and visitation rights in a legal separation. Laws for child custody and visitation will vary from state to state, so it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a qualified family attorney to ensure that you take the appropriate steps, understand the parental rights during separation and get proper visitation rights so as to protect yourself during the process.
If you and your former spouse agree on custody, the court will normally ratify your agreement without considering the details of how you lead your life. A judge won’t know (or necessarily ask) whether one of you is living with another person unless your ex brings it to the judge’s attention. If you and your spouse are battling over custody, however, the traditional advice is to not live with a new partner and to be discreet in your sexual activity, at least until the court makes a decision. This advice applies to both fault and no-fault divorces, as a parent’s living arrangement is always admissible in a custody dispute on the theory that a court needs as much information as possible to determine “the best interests of the child.” We use the word “traditional” to describe the “no sex, no living with anyone” advice. This is because many states now have more relaxed legal attitudes toward living together.

While we can’t say that most judges are enthusiastic about granting custody to a parent who is part of an unmarried couple, judges will not necessarily deny custody to a parent solely because the parent lives with someone else, especially when the new relationship is stable and nurturing. Therefore, the decision to live or not live with someone (other than a platonic roommate) while fighting over custody should be decided situation by situation, state by state. Especially if your former spouse is likely to make an issue of it, you should consult with a family law attorney to find out about local practices and prejudices.

In all states, child custody and visitation issues are decided according to “the best interests of the child.” This means that the judge who hears the case will consider all evidence before deciding who will provide the better home. Although mothers are more often granted physical custody than are fathers, particularly for young children, there is no longer an automatic preference in favor of women. Today, many men win physical custody of their children.

Frequently asked questions about custody and visitation include:

• If I live with a man, can my children be taken from me?

• If my husband is an alcoholic (or a recently recovering alcoholic), will he be able to get custody of (or visitation with) the children?

• I was once arrested for possession of marijuana; does this mean I can’t get custody?

• My income comes from Social Security disability and other public programs, while my husband has a well-paying job. Does this mean he’ll get custody of the kids?

The answer to all of those questions is, “It depends.” The law doesn’t say that adultery, smoking marijuana, or even being involved in antisocial conduct means you can’t win, or will lose, custody. In addition, the fact that one parent’s income is much larger than the other’s isn’t necessarily a reason the court will use to award the more affluent parent custody. Many factors not just whether or not you’re living with someone else are related to what is in a child’s best interest. The court’s decision will normally favor the parent who will best maintain stability in the child’s life. The way each parent lives can be an important factor when a court decides custody issues. In any given case, the judge may consider one person’s lifestyle to be more in the best interest of the child than the others. In a few states, a judge can use a parent’s cohabitation to deny custody. Courts in a few other states have similarly disapproved of cohabitation and have forced a change in custody, especially where the children were aware of their custodial parents’ intimate conduct. In general, however, the bottom line is that the judge, as a human being, will apply his or her own standards and prejudices when deciding which parent gets custody. Some judges don’t like unmarried persons living together, even though society no longer considers living together the “no-no” it was 30 years ago.

Custody Issues If You Have Been Divorced for Some Time

Now suppose you have been divorced for some time and have custody of your children. You want to move in with a new partner, but want to be sure this won’t give your former spouse legal grounds to challenge your custody of your children. The question of child custody can always be reexamined by the court. If a judge finds that it’s in the best interest of your children to change the custody of your kids to the other parent, then the judge can order this. State law varies as to whether a judge can consider your living with someone to be a negative factor in deciding whether or not custody arrangements should be modified.

Anatomy of a Contested Custody Case

In many places, fighting over custody is no longer as simple as going into court with your arguments at the ready. Now, parents with custody disputes usually must attend court-ordered mediation sessions to try to work out a parenting plan, before they’ll be allowed to see a judge. In some places, the mediator will make a report to the judge with a recommendation of how custody should be decided. In others, the mediator simply works with the parents, but doesn’t report to the court afterwards. Some courts may also order an evaluation of the family, which might be performed by a social worker employed by the county or by a private social worker or therapist with training in child custody evaluation. A child custody evaluation will include interviews with parents and the children, background checks, and sometimes psychological testing. Once all the mediation and evaluations are completed, you’ll then have your day in court. The judge isn’t compelled to follow the recommendations of the mediator or evaluator, but as a practical matter most do. If the social worker or mediator recommends that you get custody, you’ve won more than half the battle. If not, you’re at a serious disadvantage, but you can still proceed to the trial, and you may ask the social worker or mediator to come to court to be cross-examined about the report. This is especially important if the report contains factual inaccuracies. At the trial, the judge may ask your children where they want to live. Some judges ask only older children; other judges never ask any children. Most judges will pay little if any attention to the opinion of a child under seven, but will probably respect the wishes of a teenager if the chosen parent is otherwise suitable. Judges also tend to keep brothers and sisters together unless there is a strong reason not to. Keep in mind that a judge has the power to deny custody to both parents. During a divorce proceeding, a judge need not award custody of the children to either the mother or the father if he or she finds them unfit. Instead, the judge can award custody to a relative, a friend, or even the local juvenile court.

How to Create a Custody Agreement

Even though you may never want to speak to your former spouse or partner again, it is vital for you both to sit down and decide how you will continue to raise your children. Because the two of you know your children best, forming a parenting plan or custody agreement together makes the most sense. Also, it will save you from the risk of a drawn-out court battle. It is common for custody agreements to be much more detailed, covering when parents will spend time with the children, how to handle holidays, vacations, and birthdays, the role of each parent in the children’s education, health care and more. This agreement may serve as a placeholder while you work out the details of a more thorough one. While some parents can make agreements on their own without outside help, many turn to mediators or family law counselors to help them resolve one or more problem areas.

Negotiating a Custody Agreement

Negotiating a custody agreement that is fair to both you and your former spouse makes great sense. While it may seem impossible, try to put aside your anger and hostility to create a parenting plan that puts your children’s best interests first. Choose a setting that is neutral and prepare yourself by writing a list of all the important factors you want to discuss regarding the custody of your children. Obviously, this will include your children’s living arrangements, education, medical care, and emotional needs. Listen to all the requests your ex makes and be willing to compromise. If you strongly disagree on a particular issue, set it aside and concentrate on the things you can work out. Often, if a spirit of compromise develops over the course of your negotiations, it will extend to solving even your most difficult problems.

Some factors are common in the best interest analysis used by the individual states, including:

• Wishes of the child (if old enough to capably express a reasonable preference);

• Mental and physical health of the parents;

• Religion and/or cultural considerations;

• Need for continuation of stable home environment;

• Support and opportunity for interaction with members of extended family of either parent;

• Interaction and interrelationship with other members of household;

• Adjustment to school and community;

• Age and sex of child;

• Parental use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse; and

• Evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sex abuse.

Divorce Attorney In Utah 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 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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Does A Legal Separation Protect You Financially?

Does A Legal Separation Protect You Financially

Although they share some similarities, legal separation and divorce are not the same thing. Each instance involves the couple living apart from one another with a specific legal agreement in place. However, legal separation does not completely dissolve the marriage like a divorce does. Just like a divorce, legal separation requires court appointed agreements to be put in place. The couple and their lawyers will reach agreeable negotiations that will be filed with the court. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation still leaves the marriage intact, but with stipulations. A legal separation agreement takes on all of the issues that are covered during a divorce proceeding.

In Utah, your spouse needs to agree to a legal separation. If they do not, you may have to file for divorce. With that being said, legal separation is not something that should be considered without deep thought as it is a life-changing occurrence.

Pros Of Legal Separation

Choosing to embark on the path of legal separation is a personal decision that only you and your spouse can make. It isn’t a choice that should be made lightly. For most, legal separation is the first step to a final divorce. There may be reasons such as tax benefits and religious convictions that inspire a couple to become legally separated before deciding to completely dissolve their marital union. Sometimes, a couple will determine that although they cannot remain under the same roof, they have good reason not to divorce, either.

Some Reasons to Choose Legal Separation

• There are federal tax breaks for married couples and you, and your spouse would like to continue benefiting from them.
• You and/or your spouse will continue to receive health insurance from the subscriber’s plan.
• The possibility of reconciliation is alive. With a legal separation, you and your spouse can still opt to keep your marriage intact after some time apart. Many couples seek marriage counseling during legal separation.
• One or both of you do not believe in divorce due to religious convictions.
• The pair of you might be financially unstable and wish to stay legally married to help with living costs. This also holds true if your spouse will be deemed as financially unstable due to a divorce and you would like to stay married until they can stand on their own.
• When you or your spouse is eligible for the other’s social security benefits. After 10 years of marriage, this sum of money increases.
• You and your spouse are not ready to negotiate a full-blown divorce agreement. Legal separation protects your rights and financial interests while the two of you decide whether or not divorce is the right decision.
• If you and your spouse plan to stay separated on a long-term basis, it is imperative that you have a separation agreement in place so that you both have your interests legally protected.
• All of the issues covered in a divorce are also covered in a legal separation. This includes child support, custody and parenting time, asset and property division, payment of marital debts, and spousal support.

Some Cons Of Legal Separation

As with any legal procedure involving family law, there are some cons to choosing a legal separation. Even though legal separation isn’t a divorce, the journey is still complicated and emotionally taxing. This is all the more reason to choose an experienced attorney to represent you and process your paperwork.

Some Reasons Not to Choose Legal Separation

• You have plans to remarry or aspire to remarry, at some point. Legal separation is not a divorce; therefore, you will still remain married.
• You desire to sever financial ties with your spouse. Legal separation still requires you to act as one party in terms of financial responsibility, aside from child and/or spousal support obligations.
• You are absolutely sure you want to dissolve your marriage. Choosing legal separation only prolongs your stress and discontentment.
• When there is zero financial benefit. There is no reason to waste time and money on a legal separation when there won’t be any financial gain.

A Separation Agreement

If there is an official separation agreement for the spouses, it likely states which spouse is responsible for which debt. When a couple receives a legal separation, the process and orders that result are akin to divorce decrees. Orders can be made while the spouses are separating that set out provisions for property division, spousal support, custody matters and child support. When the spouses are legally separated, any new debts are usually considered the separate debt of the spouse that incurred them. However, not all states recognize legal separation. In that case, debts may continue to allot until the divorce filing or the divorce decree, depending on state law.

Individuals in jurisdictions that do not allow legal separation should ensure that they protect their financial security by getting orders from the court to prohibit the acquisition of new debt while the divorce is pending. Community property states hold that all income, assets and debts incurred during the marriage are jointly and equally owned by both spouses. Excluded from community property is property that was obtained before the marriage or property obtained through a personal gift or inheritance. If the bill is for an asset that was purchased before the marriage, the original owner is likely to be the only one liable for the debt unless the other spouse expressly agreed to pay the debt. Likewise, if the bill was incurred after the couple was separated; it is likely to be viewed by the court as separate debt. If the bill that was incurred is for an expense that arose during the marriage, such as a utility bill or a medical bill, the bill is likely subject to a 50/50 split between the spouses. This holds true even if the bills are primarily only in one of the spouse’s names. When a family court in an equitable distribution state determines who is responsible for certain debt, it looks at the financial history of each spouse. In equitable distribution states, there may not be a completely equal distribution of property and debts. Even if a separation agreement or divorce decree states that a spouse is responsible for certain debts and the other spouse is not, this statement has no effect on the creditors because family courts do not have jurisdiction over third parties.

Therefore, a creditor may still pursue collection efforts and take action against a spouse that can adversely affect his or her credit. Even if a spouse would not be legally liable for a debt, he or she may become liable by an agreement. If the spouse told the creditor or the other spouse that he or she would pay a debt, that spouse may create a contract that both the spouse and the creditor can rely on. Handling finances when married is hard enough. Adding separation into the mix can make financial management even more difficult. Before you and your spouse begin splitting finances during separation, keep the following advice in mind. Whether you are planning on getting back together or are preparing for a divorce, creating a financial separation from your ex-married life can be stressful. Children, the Home-front, mutual debts, lawyers’ fees, and creating a new budget are all part of financial management in marriage. As with any separation, the more civil you and your spouse can be, the smoother your dividing of assets will go. There is no easy way to separate from your spouse, but there is a way to make the process much more manageable. Don’t put you or your spouse into debt over your separation. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when splitting finances during separation.

• Get It in Writing: You may have trusted your partner in your married life, but financial management in marriage and during separation are two horses of a different color. If you want to ensure that you can become financially independent from your spouse, you must:
1. Create a new budget
2. Make a fair division of accrued items, such as furniture, appliances, and electronics
3. Close your shared accounts as soon as possible
4. File for legal separation
5. Divide your assets
6. Get everything in writing
Many couples may choose to try and discuss any subjects of alimony, childcare, and selling off shared assets without a lawyer. Remember that any debt your spouse incurs post-separation will have an effect on your credit report.
• Living in the Family Home: Until you are legally separated, it is important to establish a new budget. You may come to a civil agreement with your ex on who should pay what after your separation. All property acquired during your marriage is usually considered marital property by law. This means that you are both responsible for paying for your home, even if you are separated. Perhaps you will decide that the partner who remains in the marital home should be responsible for paying the monthly bills, or the spouse who keeps the car should take care of the car payments and insurance.

• Selling the Marital Home: When a couple separates, it is common for one or both of partners to want one person to remain in the family home for the benefit of the children. Believing that this will give their children more stability, couples may take on more debt than they can handle on a single income. If you cannot come to terms on sharing the financial responsibility for the mortgage, taxes, and other bills, it may be in your best interest to sell the home and split the profits.
• Handle Credit Card Debts: So long as you are married, all financial institutions will regard your debts as “shared.” This makes it important to civilly discuss splitting finances in marriage separation. You must decide how much of your debts joint and which are individually incurred are. For example, a mortgage would be a shared debt that you would both pay into, but student loans and personal credit card debt may be taken on individually. Splitting finances would be wise, and consolidate your credit cards so that you can close any shared accounts as quickly as possible.
• Get a Lawyer to Draw Up an Agreement: During your married life you made decisions together, so you may desire to make your financial management in marriage separation as civil as possible. Not wanting to involve lawyers is an admirable goal, but it is not always the wisest one. For example, in the event that one spouse becomes disgruntled by the separation and begins to overspend on any finances that are still in a shared account or stops paying the mortgage or monthly bills, your financial institution will look to you to cover the payments. So long as you are still legally married, this unfortunate debt incurred by your ex will fall to you. It may be wise in this case to bring a lawyer into the mix to create clear, legal lines of financial responsibility for you and your ex.

• Your Children: Splitting finances during a separation gets more complicated when there are children involved. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you and your partner can come to a civil agreement about sharing custody of the children and both providing financially for them. Loving parents will calmly discuss the roles and responsibilities of each spouse regarding the children post-separation. Always consider the best interest of your children first. The cost of daily living should be taken into account when you are deciding on a budget for the children. Rent, groceries, clothing, school supplies, and field-trip outings should all be financial aspects that both parents are responsible for.
When you are separating from your married life, it can be difficult to decide on a new post-marriage budget. After all, financial management in marriage is difficult on a good day. Throw divorce or separation into the mix and you’ll be in for a head-spinning conversation. Strive to focus on the essentials: your house, your debts, your children, and getting independent and you’ll be off to a good start. To help ensure a separation agreement is not challenged, you and your ex-partner must be fully open about your finances. This is called ‘financial disclosure’. That way each of you’ll know what the other person has in:
• Debts
• Savings
• Property
• Investments

Legal Separation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need help getting a legal separation in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you with divorce, family law, legal separations, child custody, debt division, asset division, retirement division and much more.

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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Brandon M. Evans, Esq.

Brandon M Evans

Brandon M. Evans, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law

When Brandon was admitted to the Utah Bar he fulfilled a dream whose inception began in his youth as a result of learning of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. He is also admitted to the District of Columbia, Washington DC, Bar. While very grateful that he was able to fulfill this dream. Whether you are working to build, protect, or salvage your dream, Brandon can help you.

Whether you are getting married, getting un-married, creating a new business, defending your business, selling or ending your business, dealing with criminal concerns, planning your estate, seeking permanent immigration status, or recouping damages, Brandon will negotiate and litigate for you and your dreams.

Other dreams that Brandon enjoys creating and fulfilling are spending time doing activities: woodworking, gardening, board games, camping, and reading. Brandon loves that his wife and three children also enjoy those activities.

Brandon enjoys the following areas of legal practice:

  • Family Law (Child Custody, Mediation, Litigation, Parenting Plans, Divorce, Adoptions, Annulment)
  • Contract Law (drafting and litigation)
  • Criminal Defense (federal and state cases, including DUI, Theft, Domestic Violence, etc.)
  • Business Formations (LLC, Corporations, Partnerships, etc.)
  • Business Representation (Lawsuits and Litigation)
  • Real Estate (Quiet Title Actions, Evictions, etc)
  • Estate Planning and Probates (Wills, Trusts, including formation and administration, both contested and uncontested)
  • Tax Matters (IRS and Utah State Tax Commission)
  • Personal Injury Law (Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Dog Bites, Slip and Falls)
  • Collection Issues (collections; Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, etc.)
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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