You cannot have one attorney represent both husband and wife in a divorce. It is a conflict of interest. If an attorney represented two parties in a dissolution, divorce, annulment or legal separation, he or she would be subject to discipline for ethical violations. Attorneys know this or should know this. If you think both you and your spouse are being represented by the same attorney, think again. Ask yourself this – who signed a fee agreement with the Attorney? That person is the client. That is the ONLY person an attorney is representing.
A Divorce Lawyer Knows
Attorneys generally try to be pretty clear about this, but unfortunately, sometimes people believe their spouse rather than what the attorney says. Even though an unrepresented party in an Utah dissolution must sign an acknowledgement saying that the attorney represents only their spouse and not both parties, sometimes people believe that the acknowledgment is “just paperwork”. It’s not just paperwork, it’s real, and I can tell you, as a Utah divorce attorney we want things done right. If there is only one attorney involved and you did not sign a fee agreement with that attorney, then you do not have an attorney and your spouse is the only person getting legal advice about his or her best interest. You are entitled to represent yourself in a dissolution. Each spouse can have their own attorney, each spouse can choose not to get an attorney, or one spouse can hire an attorney, but in Utah you cannot have one attorney representing both spouses in a dissolution, divorce, legal separation or annulment. For more information about deciding whether or not you need an attorney to handle your divorce.
Grounds for Divorce. There must be grounds for dissolution, just like divorce. Generally, people agree to the “no-fault” ground of incompatibility. There are 8 grounds for ending a marriage in Utah, but once parties start going down the blame path things generally start to disintegrate.
Is either spouse going to pay spousal support to the other? Spousal support is a touchy subject. Nobody likes being court ordered to pay spousal support. But when reaching agreement on this issue, the sensible approach is to look at what a judge would decide if the parties cannot agree. To learn more about spousal support, or alimony, in Utah.
If spousal support is going to be paid
- How much spousal support will be paid per month?
- Have the parties planned for the tax effect of spousal support?
- How long will spousal support (or alimony) be paid?
- Under what conditions will spousal support stop?
- Death of the recipient only (payable by the estate)?
- Death of either party?
- Remarriage of the recipient?
- Cohabitation of the recipient?
- Expiration of the period of years?
- Will spousal support obligations be insured with a life insurance policy?
- If life insurance is to insure the obligations, who will pay for the life insurance?
- If the parties have no children and no child support is being paid, spousal support can be paid, but is not required to be paid, directly to the recipient. Will spousal support be paid through wage withholding or directly to the recipient?
- Is the amount of spousal support that will be received set out in a Prenuptial Agreement (aka Antenuptial Agreement, or “prenup”)?
- If a Prenuptial Agreement dictates how much spousal support will be paid, or how much spousal support will be paid, is that amount still fair in light of the parties’ current circumstances? (The keyword here is unconscionable – and whether the amount is unconscionable is determined based on the parties’ circumstances at the time the marriage ends, not the time the marriage begins).
- Health Insurance:
- If health insurance is provided through one spouse’s employer, are COBRA benefits available to allow the other spouse to keep their health insurance?
- If COBRA is available, how much does it cost?
- Is either spouse going to seek COBRA coverage? If so, who will pay for it?
- If COBRA coverage is not available, does the spouse who will be losing coverage have health insurance available through his or her employer?
- If private health insurance is necessary for the spouse losing coverage, how much does it cost?
- If the parties have children, who will provide health insurance for the children after the dissolution?
- What percentage of co-pays and other costs for the children’s medical care which are not covered by insurance will each parent pay?
- Are medical care expenses going to include dental, psychological, counseling and other expenses?
Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer
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 help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506