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


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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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False Accusations of Abuse During Divorce

False Accusations of Abuse During Divorce

In some particularly contentious divorces, it is all too common for one spouse to make false allegations of abuse in order to gain an upper hand. The presence of abuse by one spouse can have a huge impact on divorce litigation, especially insofar as determining custody of minor children, and can lead to criminal charges in some cases.

While wise Utah divorce lawyers strive to keep discord to a minimum when negotiating a divorce, allegations of abuse change the entire character of the process. Abuse allegations can be very difficult to conclusively disprove and, as a result, often make divorce litigation unavoidable.

If you are involved in a divorce and your spouse has turned to false accusations of abuse, you need to act quickly to prove your innocence. Our experienced divorce lawyers in Utah have seen nearly everything that can happen during the divorce process. We have the investigation and litigation skills to deal with false accusations of abuse and are prepared to handle anything your spouse can throw at you.

We understand that it is important to confront allegations of abuse immediately. Experience has taught us that negotiations may still be salvageable if we can disprove allegations early.

It is much more common, however, for such allegations to signal the end of any chance at a peaceful resolution. That is why we are always prepared to go to trial if necessary to defend the reputations of our clients and their rights to their children and property.

Splitting Up After a Long-Term Marriage: Why?

In 2010, former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, announced their separation. By all outward appearances, the couple was happy and comfortable, and the announcement came as a shock even to close friends. Many asked why they were separating.

As a firm dedicated to the practice of divorce and family law on Long Island, we hear and understand the reasons men and women of all ages, in marriages of all lengths, decide to divorce. For long-term, stable couples, divorce oftentimes brings few fireworks, no accusations and oftentimes no infidelity. What contributes to the demise of a long-term marriage?

Consider this:

  • Al and Tipper Gore separated after 40 years of marriage. They raised children, sought and found adventure, and following a process of long and careful consideration, they decided to separate. From their statements, it seems clear they still love each other as friends, but chose to pursue their lives separately.
  • While the end of a long marriage can come rudely, it may also come as an emotional relief. As people live longer and healthier lives, fewer people are willing to accept an empty marriage that lost its love and intimacy long ago. In a recent paper from Bowling Green State University, researchers found the divorce rate for those over 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010.
  • Divorce after decades means careful consideration about wealth, and often retirement monies as well. While two people can live together less expensively than two can separately, more women and men are choosing to go it alone, understanding the financial difficulties and potentially lowered quality of life that may follow.

By all accounts, the Gores remain happy with their decision and the new opportunities pursued by each party. While causes of divorce are many, changes in time and relationship often spell the end of a marriage.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Dating After Divorce

Dating After Divorce

Getting back into the dating world after a divorce can be exciting — as well as incredibly frightening. Before you decide to take this next step in your journey, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to be completely sure you are ready to date.

What outcome do I hope to achieve in this relationship?

What kind of relationship are you looking for? Are you all-in on looking for a new long-term partner, or are you simply looking for something light and fun? You do not have to have a desired outcome set in stone, but you should at least consider what your intentions are and what you hope to achieve.

You don’t have to have a serious intention with a relationship, but it’s good to at least set reasonable expectations so you can be more comfortable if you start to get serious with a new partner.

Have I taken enough time to heal after my divorce?

It can take some time to emotionally heal after a divorce. You should reserve some time for reflection and to get over the tough times you’ve recently experienced. If you are still feeling a lot of pain, hurt or anger, you may need more time before you seriously begin dating again. This is just as much for your potential new partner’s sake as yours — it is unfair to use another person as a means to get over your divorce.

What will I tell my children?

You should not give your children any details they do not need to know. It can be understandably difficult to bring up a new relationship to your kids, but you will not be able to hide it forever. Be as honest as you can, and speak with a counselor if you’d like further advice.

What to Know About Equitable Distribution in Utah

In Utah, the standard for divorcing couples is that their property will be divided in an equitable manner. Note that this does not necessarily mean an equal division, but instead a fair one. When making decisions regarding asset distribution, courts will consider what each spouse brought to the marriage and what each will need once the marriage has ended.

Some of the factors a judge will consider include the following:

  • The income and property each spouse had at the time of marriage and the time of the divorce filing
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • Any pension, inheritance rights and health insurance either spouse will lose due to the divorce
  • Whether the court has awarded or will award alimony
  • Whether the marital property is liquid or non-liquid
  • Each spouse’s likely financial circumstances in the future
  • The tax consequences of the divorce and asset distribution to each spouse
  • Whether either spouse has purposefully wasted marital assets
  • Whether either spouse has transferred marital property to another person or entity as a means of avoiding distribution

Only property acquired during the course of the marriage is divided by the court, with a few exceptions, such as inheritance or gifts. Examples of marital property include any income earned during the marriage by either spouse, the property purchased using that income, other properties purchased while married, retirement benefits either spouse earned during marriage and the appreciation of any assets (such as real estate or valuables) accrued during the marriage. Businesses and professional practices are also subject to equitable distribution if they can be classified as marital property.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Impact of Divorce on Retirement

Impact of Divorce on Retirement

While divorce rates for Americans overall appear to be falling, older Americans are still getting divorced at fairly high rates. According to Bloomberg, this has led to some interesting outcomes in terms of how older Americans are working and retiring.

Approximately one in five Americans over the age of 65 are still working, a record numbers. In fact, this is twice as many as in the early 1980s, and by far the most since Medicare was launched in the mid-1960s. Many experts are linking these trends to the divorce rate in the Baby Boomer generation, as these later breakups are forcing people to delay their retirements.

Divorce Has a Greater Impact on Women

A joint study at Boston College and Mathematica Policy Research also indicates that this higher level of monetary stress is also playing a significant role in the numbers of older women who are returning to the workforce.

According to the study, the later a woman gets divorced, the more likely it is she will be working full time late in her life. The roughly 56,000 women in the study who divorced while in their 50s were about 10 percentage points more likely to be working full time between the ages of 50 and 74 compared to women who divorced before the age of 30.

Additionally, women who were born in the early 1950s were 19 percentage points more likely to be working full time after the age of 50 than women who were born in the 1920s, with factors such as race and education controlled in the study.

Men without Full-Time Jobs Most Likely to Get Divorced

A recent Harvard University Department of Sociology study has revealed that men who do not have a full-time job may be more likely to get divorced than their peers.

The study suggests that despite what many people think, factors like a couple’s current earnings or a wife’s ability to support herself post-divorce do not really play a role in whether a couple will get divorced.

Researchers looked at data on divorcing couples between 1975 and 2011. What they found was that whether or not husbands were engaged in full-time work outside of the home was strongly linked with the couple’s risk of getting divorced. However, couples who got married before that time period were more likely to be affected by the amount of housework being done by the wife.

This appears to mean that what matters is not the cash itself, but rather the employment status and division of labor at home — and their symbolic value. Researchers posit that these gendered expectations of each spouse have a significant impact on the health of a relationship.

Predicting the risk of divorce

Researchers analyzed data collected in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, focusing on 6,300 couples in their first marriages. In marriages since 1975 in which the husband did not work full time outside of the home for any reason that was not his choice (including trouble finding a job or having lost a job), the average risk for divorce within the next year was 3.3 percent. That’s compared to just 2.5 percent for husbands who were employed full time.

Thus, while the idea of the “male breadwinner” might seem like it’s becoming an outdated cultural trope, it still appears to have an influence on the status of many relationships.

Free Initial Consultation with a Lawyer in Utah

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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What Not to Do if You’re About to Get Divorced

What Not to Do if You’re About to Get Divorced

When you’re about to get divorced for the first time, you may start to feel more than a little overwhelmed. Those who are unfamiliar with the divorce process and do not receive proper advice often make some key mistakes that could impact them in the long term.

To that end, the following are some things you should never do before and during your divorce:

  • Speak with financial advisors you cannot trust or understand: You need to be able to get your financial affairs in order before your divorce begins. Any financial advisor you work with should be someone you can trust implicitly and who can explain your financial situation to you in a way you can fully understand.
  • Acting based on your emotions: It’s completely understandable if you feel like an emotional wreck during your divorce. However, you should never let your emotions dictate your actions. This is, of course, much easier said than done, which is why it’s so important to have an attorney who advises you on the strategy that’s right for you.
  • Attempt to conceal your assets: Many people mistakenly believe they can get away with concealing their assets to reduce the amount of their money or possessions subject to the division of assets. This is illegal and could impact your ability to receive a fair settlement if caught.
  • Try to stick to the same standard of living: One of the biggest errors people make during and after their divorce is trying to stick to the same standard of living. Your new financial situation may force you to be much tighter with money than you were previously, at least in the short term. It’s a good idea to get used to your new lifestyle before your divorce than to try to suddenly adjust to it afterward.

Tips for Navigating the Holidays When Dealing with Divorce

The holiday season can be a tough time for families dealing with divorce or separation, especially if there are children involved. There are, however, some ways you can navigate the challenges that come during the holidays in a way that minimizes potential conflict.

Below are a few tips to help you through this time of the year:

  • Consider starting new traditions: Just because you have celebrated one way in the past does not mean you have to repeat those traditions each year. Consider starting new traditions to which you and your family members can look forward.
  • Be flexible: If there are certain traditions you and your former spouse are both unwilling to part with, consider how you can compromise so that you can both enjoy them.
  • Consider what the kids want: Although your children should not be able to make the sole decision as to what you’ll do over the holidays, at least consider their wants and needs. Will they feel cheated if they don’t get to see a certain family member? Are there certain holiday traditions that are particularly meaningful to them?
  • Be transparent about your plans: If it’s going to be impossible for your children to spend time with both parents over the holidays, but you and your former partner have come to an agreement on how you will split holidays moving forward, be sure your children know that next year will be different.
  • Set rules for gifts: Communicate with your former spouse about how much money you will spend on gifts and the budget with which you’ll be working. Substantial differences in the gifts children receive from each parent can breed resentment.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Child’s School Consistency in Divorce

Child's School Consistency in Divorce

Although it’s somewhat rare, it’s not unheard of for one parent to enroll children in a different school without the permission of the other parent or the court. Obviously, this is usually a problem when the two parents are separated or divorced. In some cases, children even go entirely un-enrolled because the parents have such contentious arguments about which school a child should attend.

It is an unfortunate reality that children sometimes get caught in the crossfire of a contentious divorce. Parents must make every effort to keep their children’s lives as normal and stable as possible, especially when it comes to their education.

Below are a few basic rules all parents should remember regarding this issue:

  • Consistency is crucial: A school is not just the building at which you drop off your kids. It is filled with important relationships your children have built with friends, teachers and staff. Their comfort in their school can help them through what is, even in the best cases, a stressful and turbulent home life.
  • Keep children in their school, if possible: If you can, keep your children in the schools they were already attending, unless both parents agree a move is for the better. Again, having this consistency and maintaining those relationships that have already been built is crucial.
  • Consider expenses: If your children have been attending private school before your divorce, there is a chance you will have to move your children to public school. Private school is often one of the first expenses to be removed after a divorce, as it can become too much for parents to handle.

Study Indicates Living with Partner Before Marriage Increases Likelihood of Divorce

If you have wondered whether living together before marriage has an impact on the quality of marriage, a new study from the Center for Marital and Family Studies indicates that it does. According to the survey performed by the organization targeting couples that have been married for fewer than 10 years, there appears to be a greater likelihood of divorce among couples that lived together before marriage.

The men who responded in the survey rated themselves as being “considerably lower” in how much they are dedicated to their spouses. Other studies performed by the organization have yielded the same findings for women, though to a smaller degree.

Meanwhile, survey respondents that were committed to marrying each other before they began living together did not experience the same lower levels of commitment exhibited in the cohabiting partners.

Researchers at the center posit that some of the men surveyed may have married their spouse even though they might not have done so had they not lived together. The term used was “deciding, not sliding.” The group of people not cohabiting had decided that they were going to be married, whereas the people living together were more likely to “slide” into a marriage because it was the natural next step.

Other statistics reflect the same conclusion. In 2010, the divorce rate for couples cohabiting before engagement was even 8 percent higher than couples cohabiting after engagement but before marriage.

The problem with living together, according to the researchers, is that it seems to be more difficult to “disentangle” yourself from the relationship should it appear to be coming to an end. Therefore it’s easier for people to try to fix the relationship, even if it doesn’t appear that it’s going to work.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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