South Jordan Utah Divorce Attorney

South Jordan Utah Divorce Attorney

When the Mormon pioneers emerged from Emigration Canyon in July 1847, they saw before them a vast windswept valley stretching thirty miles to the southwest. Less than two years later, as communities began to spring up in various locations around the valley, a small number of settlers ventured across the Jordan River in order to establish homes and farms. Alexander Beckstead and his family were among the original few who commenced homesteads “over Jordan” in 1849.

Beckstead’s first home was in West Jordan, but he permanently moved his family to South Jordan in 1859. It is interesting to note that several of the early pioneers to the area of South Jordan lived initially in earthen dugouts fashioned “under the hill” just above the Jordan River. The wilderness of South Jordan had previously been inhabited by coyotes, jackrabbits, and hardy Native Americans. The South Jordan area was originally purchased by George A. Smith, and Beckstead purchased his land from Smith. The Beckstead land extended from 9000 South (“the Sandy Road”) to 12,500 South (“the Draper Road”) and from the Jordan River to about 1300 West (“the Lower Road”). Beckstead, along with seven of his sons and their adjoining neighbors, brought water from the Jordan River in 1859. They diverted the water by constructing a ditch using picks and shovels, with a bucket of water used as a level. The ditch was still utilized for irrigation in contemporary South Jordan. Other early settlers of South Jordan included Isaac Wardle, as well as his brother and father, John and William Wardle. Isaac had been a member of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company of 1856.

Frederick A. Cooper, Henry Tempest, John W. Winward, and George Shields settled in the same year of 1859 or soon thereafter. Robert Holt traveled to South Jordan from Dorsetshire, England in, 1863. His sons Matthew and Edward also came. Other families who came to South Jordan in the early years were those of James Oliver, Thomas Alsop, James Wood, Jesse Vincent, George Soffe, and David Jenkins. All were Mormons. The South Jordan Branch of the West Jordan LDS Ward was organized in 1863 with James Woods as president. In 1867 he was succeeded by William A. Bills, who served for 33 years. Ann Holt was the first Relief Society president. She served for more than thirty years in that capacity and also delivered over 500 babies as a midwife in the area. The original South Jordan meetinghouse was constructed of adobe in 1864, and it served as a schoolhouse. A larger building was erected in the 1870s to meet the needs of the growing hamlet. It was made of granite rock and adobe and measured 30 feet by 14 feet. Today, many chapels of three LDS stakes dot the landscape in South Jordan. There are many families of other faiths living in the area, but no other religious congregation holds meetings within the city limits. Raising livestock and growing grain and alfalfa were the chief means of livelihood for early residents of South Jordan. During the greater part of the twentieth century, the major crop in South Jordan was sugar beets. Today, the remaining agriculture consists of small plots of land where grain and hay are grown to feed horses and a few cattle. A landmark day occurred on 14 January 1914 when South Jordan residents participated in a celebration commemorating the installation of a water system, the bringing of electricity into town, and the completion of the interurban railroad, which connected the rural farming village with larger cities to the north and south.

How to File a Divorce in South Jordan, Utah

In South Jordan Utah or elsewhere, divorce for any married couple will accomplish two things: (1) severing the marital relationship, and (2) dividing assets and debts. If they have been married for a significant length of time and one of them will be unable to be self-supporting after the divorce, the issue of alimony may also arise. If there are minor children, they will also need to resolve issues of child custody and support.

Residency and Where to File

In order to file for divorce in Utah, the party filing for divorce must be a resident of Utah and the county for at least 3 months. The case must be filed in the District Court in the county where the residency requirement is met.

Procedures

The simplest procedure is an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse reach an agreement about the division of your property, and, if you have any children, what arrangements will be made for them. You begin the divorce procedure by filing a Complaint for Divorce, along with various supporting documents. For an uncontested divorce, one of these documents will be a marital settlement agreement outlining the division of assets, and your agreement regarding any children. These documents are filed with the court, and copies of them are provided to your spouse. You will attend a court hearing, at which time the judge will make sure that all of your paperwork is in order, perhaps ask you a few questions, and enter your Decree of Divorce.

South Jordan Divorce

Utah offers this process where each party hires a lawyer to assist them in trying to reach an agreement on all issues. There may also be a facilitator involved, to help focus the discussion. It is similar to mediation. Both parties must agree to this process, and either may stop it at any time. Any agreement will be signed by the parties and submitted to the court to be incorporated into a judgment or decree.

Grounds for Divorce In South Jordan

Grounds for divorce are legally recognized reasons to get a divorce. This is the justification for severing the marital relationship. Utah, like most states, has what are commonly called no-fault grounds for divorce, and several traditional fault-based grounds. To get a no-fault divorce in South Jordan Utah you need to state in the Complaint for Divorce that “there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage,” or the parties have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for 3 years under a judicial decree of separation.” The fault-based grounds for divorce are: impotence, adultery, willful desertion for more than 1 year, willfully neglecting to provide the plaintiff with the common necessities of life, habitual drunkenness, conviction of a felony, cruel treatment to the extent of “bodily injury or great mental distress,” and incurable insanity. However, in most cases, there is no reason to use any of these, since they add complexity to the process by requiring proof.

Property Division In South Jordan

A divorce involves dividing property and debts between you and your spouse. Utah divorce law provides that all property is marital property, regardless of how or when it was acquired. Absent an agreement of the parties, the judge is directed to divide the property “equitably.”

Alimony in South Jordan Utah

Absent an agreement of the parties regarding alimony, the court is directed by Utah alimony law to consider the following factors in determining alimony:
• the financial condition and needs of the party seeking alimony,
• the earning capacity or ability to produce income of the party seeking alimony,
• the ability of the party paying alimony to provide support,
• the length of the marriage,
• whether the party seeking alimony has custody of minor children requiring support,
• whether the party seeking alimony worked in a business owned by the payor,
• whether the party seeking alimony directly contributed to any increase in the payor’s by paying for education, or enabling the payor to attend school during the marriage,
• the parties’ standard of living, and
• the fault of either party.
“Fault” means committing adultery; knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the other party or minor children, knowing and intentionally causing the other party or minor children to reasonably fear life-threatening harm, or substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children. If the marriage is of short duration, and there are no children, the court may restore the parties to their condition at the time of marriage. Alimony is limited to a period of time equal to the number of years of marriage, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances. Alimony terminates upon the death or remarriage of the party receiving alimony, or upon evidence that the party receiving alimony is cohabitating with another person.

Child Custody in South Jordan Utah

If you and your spouse have any minor children, there will have to be a custody determination, which basically comes down to figuring out how the children’s time will be divided between the parents, and how decisions will be made. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on custody, it will be accepted by the judge unless it is determined not to be in the child’s best interest. If you cannot reach a custody agreement, the judge will decide the issue, after considering all relevant factors, including:
• each party’s past conduct and demonstrated moral standards,
• which party is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing frequent and continuing contact with the other party,

• the extent of bonding between each party and the child,
• whether a party has intentionally exposed the child to pornography or harmful material,
• whether the physical, psychological, and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal and physical custody,
• each party’s ability to give priority to the welfare of the child, and reach shared decisions,
• whether each party is capable of encouraging a relationship between the child and the other party,
• whether both parties participated in raising the child before the divorce,
• the geographical proximity of the parties,
• the preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason,
• each party’s maturity and willingness and ability to protect the child from any conflict between the parties,
• the past and present ability of the parties to cooperate and make decisions, and
• any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping.
There is a presumption in favor of joint custody, unless it is shown not to be in the child’s best interest, or there is such physical distance between the parties so as to make joint decision-making impractical. In evaluating whether to award joint custody, the court is to consider.

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.
1. Don’t forget to consult an attorney.
A lawyer can make sure that you both review and understand anything before you sign or agree. An experienced family law attorney is often a good idea for situations where the divorcing couple has a large amount of assets, property or other complicated financial matters. In more contentious divorces, an attorney can make sure that your interests are represented in court. Even in a “friendly” divorce you are often better off hiring a lawyer to help file paperwork and guide you through the court system.
2. Don’t neglect your finances.
If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to immediately begin to set aside money for the all the expenses involved. Make copies of all your financial documents and legal records before your divorce proceedings begin. These documents should include bank and investment statements, wills, trusts, tax returns, property deeds, insurance policies and vehicle titles to name a few. Keep these copies in a secure location not accessible by your ex.
3. Don’t immediately tell everyone you are getting a divorce.
Emotions are running high, it’s perfectly normal to want to let others know what’s going on in your life. You may desperately want support, you may not want to suffer in silence, or you may just want to punish your partner and embarrass them. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep your a divorce secret from everyone, you just need to decide who you tell and why.
4. Don’t use your children as pawns.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it still happens, even unintentionally. Check your own behavior and don’t use your kids to punish or manipulate your spouse. In the end, this will cause resentment and have a negative impact on the relationship you have with your children.
5. Don’t take divorce advice from family and friends.
It’s only natural that those close to you want to provide support during this time. Everyone wants to share their experiences, offer opinions and give advice. Your family and friends may have good intentions, but their divorce experience is based on the facts and circumstances that are unique to them and may not apply in your situation. Let these friends and relatives be there for you emotionally, but if they offer financial or legal advice about your divorce, politely say “No thank you.” Your future is too important.
6. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later.
While it is normal for you to feel conflicting emotions making the end of your relationship into a bad reality show is never a good idea. Act like everything you say, do, post, tweet, text or snap will immediately be posted on YouTube. Don’t take your negative emotions feelings out on your children, pets, or personal property. Don’t self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Don’t rant or fight with your ex on social media. At best, these things could be used against you during the divorce proceedings, at worst you could land on the wrong side of the law or lose visitation rights.
7. Don’t jump into another relationship.
This is not the time to start a new romantic relationship. If you already have, consider putting it on hold. Even if you and your spouse no longer live together, in some states a relationship outside of marriage can become an issue during the divorce process. With all of the changes going on in your life, avoiding any type of romantic relationship is often the best thing to do for your emotionally.
8. Don’t focus so much on the little things that you forget what’s important.
In a contested divorce, you are likely to accumulate thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees because your lawyer must spend an enormous amount of time preparing the case and filing paperwork. You may be angry but remember the more you and your spouse argue over issues or items, the more you pay in attorney’s fees. Concentrate on what really matters, and focus on that. Leaving a decision up to a third party often means you end up not getting what you really want, and with a gigantic legal bill to boot.
9. Don’t put your friends in the middle.
Having a couple close to them end their marriage can bring up mixed emotions in your friends as well. They will often feel awkward and uncomfortable around you or your ex. Let them know that this is okay, and that you understand. It’s not fair to demand that your friends take sides. It’s up to your friends–not you–whether or not they will continue to stay friendly with your ex. Respect the choices that they make, even if you don’t agree with them.

Divorce Lawyer South Jordan UT

When you need a South Jordan UT Divorce Attorney, 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

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