Life Insurance Options

Life Insurance Options

Life insurance can be an important part of estate planning, especially for the parents of young children or a disabled child. The purpose of an insurance policy is to provide cash for the beneficiaries upon the premature death of the policyholder. For a person that does not receive regular income from investments or other assets, an insurance policy can replace lost earned income.

The following is an overview of some of the available life insurance options.

Term Life Insurance

Pros

  • It is relatively inexpensive
  • Various policy terms of coverage are available

Cons

  • It is subject to cancellation
  • Premiums become more expensive as the policyholder ages

The policyholder of term life insurance receives coverage for a certain amount of time specified in the policy. Because it only covers a specified period and the premium only pays for the insurance policy, this is the least expensive type of insurance available. Terms of coverage, for instance, may range from 5, 10, or 20 years. Once the term ends, the policyholder may have the option to renew the policy beyond the original term but the premium usually increases with each renewal.

Depending on the insurance company, a policyholder may have several options under term life insurance. For instance, many policies can be:

  • Renewed: Upon termination, a policyholder may continue coverage by paying a new premium and renewing coverage for a new term.
  • Converted: During the policy term, the policyholder may change from term life to a permanent life insurance option offered by the insurer.

Term insurance is not appropriate for all types of policyholders. For instance, term life insurance may be most beneficial to a person with young children or for a person with temporary expenses, such as a home mortgage or an auto loan. Term insurance is less desirable for a person living off investments and retirement income.

Permanent Life Insurance

Pros

  • It is not subject to cancellation unless the premium is not paid
  • It endures for the life of the policyholder
  • It is a type of investment
  • Tax benefits may apply

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Commissions and fees may be high
  • Policies are complex

Permanent life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance because it is effective during the entire life of the policyholder (as long as the premiums are paid) and the excess paid into the policy is invested. In general, the premium remains the same over the entire length of the policy. The excess that accumulates from the premium may yield dividends or interest; the policyholder will receive some of this return. The policyholder can choose to apply the investment income to the reserves, borrow against the cash value, or terminate the insurance policy and receive the cash surrender value. The growth in the value of the reserve is tax deferred under federal tax law, unless the policyholder receives the money. In some cases, a partial withdrawal will escape tax liability. In making these determinations, you should always speak with an estate planning lawyer so all of your needs can be addressed and you can be on the right track.

Permanent life insurance is beneficial for someone with a child with special needs or for someone that expects estate taxes to be high.

The following are the various types of permanent life insurance options:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides the policyholder with lifelong coverage as long as they pay the fixed premium amount throughout their life. In general, the younger the policyholder is when beginning coverage, the less expensive the annual premiums will be. As the policyholder pays into the life insurance policy, the cash reserve continues to build. The policyholder may borrow from the cash reserve at the current policy loan interest rate or surrender the policy and receive the cash value of it.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance combines flexibility with the accumulation of investment income. The following are the benefits of universal life insurance:

  • Can change the amount of life insurance
  • Can adjust the death benefit and premium payments within the limitations of the policy
  • The account value earns tax-deferred interest
  • The net cost of the policy is less than whole life insurance
  • Can borrow or withdraw money from the cash reserve

Variable Life Insurance

A variable life insurance policy allows the policyholder to invest cash reserves into stocks, bonds, and securities. The policyholder will bear some of the risk, but the insurance company will guarantee a certain return on the investment. Consequently, the death benefit depends on how well the investments perform.

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance is a combination of the flexibility of universal life insurance with the investment strategy and the risk factor of variable life insurance.

Single Premium Life Insurance

The policyholder of single premium life insurance will pay the entire premium amount in one up-front payment. The benefits include the immediate accumulation of cash value, the elimination of cancellation, and the distribution of tax-free proceeds to the beneficiaries.

Survivorship Life Insurance

Survivorship life insurance, also referred to as “second to die” insurance, is a single policy that insures two people, usually spouses, for a single insurance benefit. When the first person on the policy dies, the survivor continues making payments on the premium. Only after the survivor dies does the insurance company pay the beneficiaries of the policy.

This insurance policy is appropriate for wealthy couples that expect substantial estate taxes or for people with non-liquid assets like a family business. In this situation, the proceeds from the insurance policy can be used to buyout an ownership interest.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law 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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Estate Planning Forms and Tools

Estate Planning Forms and Tools

Although no one likes to think about falling ill or passing away, it’s important to plan for it. Preparing a will allows you to make sure your money and property goes to the people you want them to go to. It’s also important to let your loved ones know your wishes if you ever unable to communicate your wishes. The process of estate planning is the way to plan for death or incapacitation. In this section you can find samples for various estate planning tools, such as a sample will, a sample health care power of attorney, and a sample living will. There is also a helpful estate planning checklist and a questionnaire to prepare you for meeting with an estate planning attorney.

Contents of a Basic Will

While there isn’t a standard, legally foolproof will, there are some basic elements that pretty much every will contains. A will should begin by making it clear that it’s meant to be a will and include the full name and residence of the testator (the person who is making the will). It’s also always a good idea to include a statement revoking any previous wills. The will should include to whom you would like to leave your money and property. If you would like to leave specific belongings or amounts of money to various people, you can list these wishes in the will. If, on the contrary, you simply want to leave everything to one person, you could make a general statement conveying that information. A will should also designate an executor to handle estate administration. It’s usually a good idea to include an alternative executor, in case the original executor can’t or won’t take the responsibility of being the executor. Finally, the testator must sign and date the will. While these are the basic elements of a will, it’s important to check the laws of your state to find out the requirements for drafting a will in your state.

Living Wills and Powers of Attorney

All of the states in the U.S. have laws concerning the ability of people to make decisions about their medical care before there is a need for treatment. A living will or advanced directive is a document that allows people to explain the type and duration of medical care they would like to receive if they are in a situation where they can’t communicate those wishes. Each state has its own laws regarding what can be included in a living will, which is why it’s important to check the laws in your jurisdiction or consult with an attorney when drafting a living will.

It’s worth mentioning that a living will and a health care power of attorney concern similar matters, but are very different. As previously mentioned, a living will explains the wishes of the person in the event that he or she can’t communicate the wishes him or herself. A health care power of an attorney can also have the same information as a living will, but it also designates a person to have the legal ability to make medical decision on a person’s behalf. The health care power of attorney is only valid in the event that the person who makes the document is unable to make medical decisions for him or herself.

Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Wills can be fairly easy to draft if a person doesn’t have very many assets. However, if you have a lot of assets or a complex situation, you should probably hire an estate planning lawyer to help you with your will. Regardless of the size of your estate, if you have questions or concerns about estate planning, you might want to consult with an attorney.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law 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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FAQ about Open Adoptions

FAQ about Open Adoptions

As Salt Lake City Adoption Attorneys, we are often asked questions about adoption. Here are the questions most frequently asked about open adoptions that is an adoption where there is some contact between the birth parents, the adoptive parents and sometimes the adopted child.

What are open adoptions?

Open adoptions are adoptions where this is some contact between the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and sometimes the adoptive child. Open adoptions generally come about when the adoptive parents meet and get to know the birth parents of the child. The adoption agreement generally allows for the child to spend most of the time with the adoptive parents, but gives some right for the birth parents to visit and spend time with the child. Generally speaking, open adoptions are formed when the birth parents and the adoptive parents agree that forming a relationship is in the best interests of the child.

Are there advantages of open adoptions?

Open adoptions have many advantages, such as reducing stress of both the adoptive and birth parents. For the adoptive parents, they can get to know and trust the birth parents, and for the birth parents, they can regularly check on the child. In addition, open adoptions are sometimes beneficial for the child who can grow up knowing more about his or her history than having unanswered questions.

Are there disadvantages of open adoptions?

One of the main disadvantages of open adoption is for the birth parents that wish to remain in contact with their biological child. If a relationship between a set of birth parents and adoptive parents sours after the adoption has taken place, the adoptive parents may decide to eliminate any visits from the biological parents that were agreed upon beforehand. Even though these visitation agreements normally find their way into the legal adoption papers, the biological parents have little to no legal recourse to continue their visits to the child.

How can I get an open adoption?

There are generally two ways to get an open adoption.

  • The first is to use an agency that has procedures set up for open adoption. If you have found an adoption agency that allows open adoptions, be sure to read and inquire about their procedures for open adoptions. However, there are many agencies that only allow closed or semi-open adoptions. Indeed, many agencies prohibit the adoptive parents from knowing the identity of the birth parents, and also prohibit the birth parents from finding out which family the child is going to.
  • The second way to get an open adoption is to opt to take part in an independent adoption. However, setting up an independent adoption can be expensive on the front end as you will have to advertise when looking for birth parents that are willing to enter into an open adoption. If you have found birth parents willing to enter into an open, independent adoption, you should hire an attorney that can assist you with all the paperwork and filings you will need to make in order to have your adoption finalized.

One thing to keep in mind is that both the adoptive parents as well as the birth parents should enter into counseling before deciding on an open adoption. Open adoption can have many emotional impacts on both families. It is important to know about the emotions that you may encounter with an open adoption that may not be present in a traditional closed or semi-closed adoption. If you want your open adoption to succeed, counseling is a key step that you should take.

Free Consultation with Adoption Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about an adoption or if you need a lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will 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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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

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Do You Have Too Much Debt?

Do You Have Too Much Debt

Debt gets a bad rap, but debt is not necessarily always a bad thing. In the business world, Fortune 500 companies sell off debt in the form of bonds to raise capital and expand operations. They create jobs in the process. In the consumer world, families routinely finance the purchase of a home by taking on mortgage debt. If they choose wisely, financing the purchase of a home can build wealth. In both cases, debt can be helpful. However, there is such a thing as too much debt. When debt, either business or personal, spirals out of control, life can grind to a halt and money worries can become all encompassing. If you’ve struggled with more debt than you can handle, you know what I’m talking about.

Debt isn’t always bad, but be careful about taking on too much…

So how do you know if you have “too much debt?” We’ve provided a list below which will help you evaluate whether your debt load is healthy or if it may be growing beyond your control.

Have you been denied new credit?

By definition, taking on debt means borrowing money. One of the big factors lenders look to in underwriting a new loan is the current debt load of the prospective borrower. If you’re consistently being denied for new credit, it may be a sign that you are reaching the maximum level of debt you can comfortably handle.

As Wells Fargo points out in their Five Cs of Credit:

A Bankruptcy Lawyer has said that Lenders need to determine whether you can comfortably manage your payments. Your past income and employment history are good indicators of your ability to repay outstanding debt. Income amount, stability, and type of income may all be considered. The ratio of your current and any new debt as compared to your before-tax income, known as debt-to-income ratio (DTI), may be evaluated.

On the other hand, if you’re still able to access credit, it may be a sign that your debt is under control. This is especially true today where underwriting restrictions have become far more stringent than they were in the Wild West days of 2005.

Are you late on payments?

Missing routine payments is a sign that you may be carrying too much debt. Unfortunately, getting in a cycle of paying late when a paycheck finally comes in or a new loan goes through, carries with it a cycle of late fees and compound interest which can make it more difficult to get out of debt. If you’re consistently paying late, it’s a sign that your debt may be an issue.

Similarly, paying debt with more debt is a sign of trouble. For example, if you’re using one credit card to pay another, you may already be in problem debt territory.

Are creditors or debt collectors calling you at home?

For the seriously indebted, this is a big one. Anyone facing bills that they cannot pay knows that creditors call non-stop. Sometimes they will even sue. If you’re getting collection letters and phone calls or if you are the defendant in a collection lawsuit, it is certainly a sign that you have more debt than you can handle.

Do you have savings?

To some, this next question may seem slightly counterintuitive. After all, this is an article discussing too much debt, not how to get ahead. But therein lies the problem, having a year or so worth of living expenses in the bank is not getting ahead, it’s insurance against falling behind. If all of your money every month goes to living expenses and debt, it may be a sign that your debt to income ratio is an issue. Debt to income ratio (DTI) can be roughly defined as the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes towards paying your debts. As I pointed out above, lenders use DTI to evaluate the creditworthiness of new borrowers. A DTI that is out of whack indicates you’ve borrowed as much as you can handle, you don’t have the capacity for new debt.

Do you ever pay down debt?

Perhaps you pay your monthly bills on time and never hear a peep from creditors. That’s great, but are you able to contribute anything to actually paying down debt as opposed to paying interest. Many types of consumer loans, including high interest credit cards and payday loans, carry with them extremely high rates of interest. The monthly payment that borrowers make often goes entirely to satisfying the interest on the loan. This prevents the principal from ever being paid down and traps the consumer in a nightmare cycle of feeding the credit card interest monster. If this sounds like you, it is a sign that you have more debt than you can handle.

Is debt constantly on your mind?

Now we get into less tangible, but still relevant factors. For example, if you’re a man and you’re thinking about your debts as much as you are about sex, you know there’s a problem. Problems with debt can become all consuming. As I’ve written in the past:

It’s never the actual red in the ledger that causes debtors to suffer, it’s the worry about supporting a family, collection phone calls, lawsuits, foreclosure and the myriad of other mental beatings the seriously indebted are forced to endure. Whether it’s fear of having a credit card rejected at the grocery store or concern over a pending wage garnishment, consumers who find themselves in debt are constantly reminded of their predicament. They can’t escape mentally. The debt follows them wherever they go, becoming their constant companion, causing incredible stress that breaks up marriages and ruins friendships.

Is your health suffering?

It’s no secret that excessive stress can lead to poor health, however, most people don’t make the connection between a decline in health and an increase in debt. Make no mistake, the two can be linked. Web MD has published an informative article on the link between debt stress and poor health.

The [debt] stress may be correlated with physical symptoms like heartburn, headaches, and abdominal pains. “If you have a knot in your stomach all the time, or if you’re feeling anxious and worried a lot of the time, that would be an area of concern,” he says. “These are signs that stress is starting to take a toll and you should give it more attention than the average person.”

If you’ve noticed a recent decline in health, or new stress-induced symptoms, debt stress may be to blame. If this sounds like you, consult a doctor.

Thinking about Bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for determining whether you have taken on more debt than you can handle. Debt to income ratio can be instructive, late payments on existing debt may be a sign, but each consumer’s situation is different.

Free Consultation with a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

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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Depositions in Divorce

Depositions in Divorce

Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you may be required to attend a deposition hearing. If so, you will receive a notice that includes the date, time and place of the hearing, along with any documentation you should bring with you. The people attending the hearing could include you and your attorney, a court reporter and possibly your spouse and his or her legal counsel.

At the hearing, attorneys and court officials will ask you a variety of questions on subjects related to your divorce, including employment history, debts and assets, mental and physical health and your fidelity during the marriage. If your spouse is present, he or she is not allowed to interrupt you in any way.

Do you need to answer every single question?

Most of the time, you will need to respond to every question as truthfully and honestly as possible, unless your attorney instructs you otherwise. Therefore, before you attend the hearing, you should consult your lawyer on the questions you are likely to face and how you should answer them. Prepare ahead of time by having your attorney put you on the spot with these questions and forcing you to answer them.

Some of the questions could make you uncomfortable. As difficult as it may be, you will need to answer them unless your lawyer objects on the grounds of it being inappropriate.

If your attorney tells you to answer the question, you must do so or face some consequences that could include a potential fine or a court order to answer the question later. It is thus in your best interest to always follow the advice your legal counsel provides you.

Steps to Take if Divorce Appears Imminent

Most individuals work hard to avoid splitting up, but sometimes couples find themselves facing a divorce even after their best attempts to salvage a marriage. If divorce is on the horizon, there are several steps you can take to better prepare yourself for this life-changing event:

  • Know rights. As a first measure, you will want to consult an attorney to gain a clear understanding of your legal rights — and responsibilities. An experienced attorney can help you avoid any missteps early on that may affect divorce proceedings further down the road.
  • Gather background documentation. In preparation, you’ll want to gather and make copies of important documents such as tax returns, investment and bank statements, wills and mortgage documents. If you are married to someone who runs his or her own business, try to obtain as much information as possible about the financial aspects of the enterprise.
  • Inventory belongings. When it comes time to split assets, it is important to have identified valuables including artwork, jewelry or vehicles.
  • Put your financial house in order. Separating your financial accounts, and alerting insurance policies and retirement accounts about a change of beneficiaries, is another important step in preparing for divorce. You may also want to establish and use your own line of credit, particularly if you are not able to obtain a sufficient line of credit on your own. You may also want to pay down debt that belongs to both parties.
  • Start saving. In preparation you’ll also want to put aside money that will see you through what may end up being a protracted process.
  • Stick to a routine. Do your best to keep as normal a routine as possible, especially for any children that may be involved. This stability will help lessen stress as much as possible.

Free Initial Consultation with a Utah 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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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

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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Do I Need a Family Lawyer to get Divorced?

Do I Need a Family Lawyer to get Divorced

Divorce law falls under the umbrella of family law. Very few people are able to effectuate a divorce without the assistance of a lawyer, as this is rarely possible or practical. The best way to protect your rights and your relationship with your children is to seek out the assistance of an attorney who handles family law on a daily basis. An experienced lawyer knows the ins and outs of the process, and can explain each step of the way to you while fighting to protect your interests.

Getting a divorce is more than signing a piece of paper that splits you from your spouse. You may think that there are no bones of contention between you and your spouse, but what often occurs as you move toward final separation is extreme emotion takes over and causes a serious roadblock. Certainly, parties who have legal representation meet these roadblocks too. But the difference is that a skilled divorce attorney knows how to defuse many of these situations and can guide you on which battles are best fought and how to fight them. The right family law attorney will handle your divorce with the proper mix of compassion and aggression in a cost-effective manner.

In the process of your divorce, you can expect to deal with the following issues:

  • Spousal support
  • Division of property and debt
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Postnuptial agreements

How Does the Child’s Preference Affect Custody Proceedings?

When parents divorce, asking children to choose which parent they want to live with can be traumatic for all involved. In some cases, however, children are sufficiently mature to express a reasoned preference. In such cases, the child’s preference can be an important factor in shaping the custody arrangement.

Utah courts determine child custody based on a number of factors intended to protect the interests of the child. A child’s preference is not binding on the court, but judges have discretion to consider it. They often give it significant weight if the child can articulate cogent reasons for the choice. Issues to consider when a child expresses a custody preference include:

  • The older a child is, the more likely a judge is to give weight to the child’s opinion. The judge, however, is likely to independently assess the child’s maturity, regardless of age.
  • Judges are vigilant for signs that a parent has tried to influence the child’s preference. Coached testimony from the child will not only be disregarded, but also may work against the parent who pressured the child.
  • Judges are not required to accept a child’s preference, even if the child is mature. In fact, giving undue weight to a child’s preference in custody proceedings can be grounds for reversal on appeal.

Temporary Spousal Support During Your Divorce

While you are going through a divorce in Utah, temporary maintenance may be awarded to ensure that a lower earning spouse has an adequate standard of living during the time it takes to finalize the dissolution of the marriage. Sometimes, as a divorce lawyer, I see people don’t even think about this. Temporary maintenance (also called spousal support or alimony) is the term used in many states, but the law uses different terms such as temporary alimony or temporary spousal support.

In Utah, the law provides a formula for assessing the amount of temporary maintenance to be paid. By law, temporary maintenance is mandatory when the income of one spouse is two-thirds or less than the income of the other spouse. Temporary maintenance guidelines only apply when this requirement is met.

If the formula kicks in, the higher earning spouse will be expected to pay temporary maintenance. There is a maximum cap for utilizing the formula on the income of the payor.

Under the guidelines, to determine an appropriate amount of temporary maintenance, the court selects the lesser figure that is arrived at by the following calculations:

  • 30 percent of the income of the higher earning payor minus 20 percent of the income of the lower earning spouse
  • 40 percent of the combined income of both spouses. The income of the lower earning spouse is subtracted from this figure.

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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Types of Alimony in Utah

Types of Alimony in Utah

When a couple divorces, they are occasionally on uneven ground financially. This may be due to their unequal earning potential or because one has foregone their career aspirations to care for the couple’s children. Under some circumstances, one of the spouses may be required to support the other one financially. This support can be temporary in nature, long-term or even permanent.

Under Utah law, a spouse may seek spousal support to address any number of situations. For some, the need for support is temporary in nature and should last only a few months. For others, however, alimony is required in the long term due to inability to financially provide for his or herself in a manner to which the spouse is accustomed.

Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered to be paid for a spouse who needs support while the divorce is being finalized. Generally this support is meant to be for only a few months and the obligation terminates once the divorce is final. Once this happens, a judge may decide if the support should continue and may then order the other to pay permanent alimony.

Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is designed to continue, usually on a monthly basis, without stopping unless and until the supported spouse gets remarried. To decide if permanent alimony is warranted, a judge will look at a number of factors. These factors may include the length of marriage, the spouses’ ages, each of their present and future earning potential and the contributions each spouse made during the course of the marriage. Not every judge will order alimony, but the longer a couple is married, the more likely a judge is to order alimony payments.

How Does Infidelity Affect Divorce?

For many couples, infidelity is an unforgivable act of betrayal. It can negatively affect a marriage to the point where divorce is the only option. Each year, a large number of couples end their marriage because one person is unfaithful.

Utah State recently adopted a no-fault divorce law. As a result, Utahers who wish to end their marriage for any reason, including infidelity, may cite that their marriage as irretrievably broken down.

While you may be angry with your spouse for cheating, the court system has no interest in why your marriage failed. Divorce is not a criminal proceeding. As a result, the courts do not punish spouses for being unfaithful.

If your spouse cheats on you, do you get the house? Does cheating affect equitable distribution? You may be surprised to know that equitable distribution is not affected by infidelity. Cheating can devastate an entire family, emotionally harm your children, and end your marriage, but the court is only concerned with obtaining a fair resolution to your marital dissolution. The court views marriage as an economic partnership. As a result, it divides the assets of a marriage equally between each partner.

The only time infidelity can affect equitable distribution, and as a result a divorce proceeding, is if the cheating spouse diverted funds from the marriage to further his or her extra-marital relationship. The court may require the return of the funds used outside the marriage. A skilled and aggressive attorney can fight to determine the amount of those funds and help you retrieve them.

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 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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