What Is The First Step In Leaving Your Husband?

What Is The First Step In Leaving Your Husband

Making the decision to leave your husband is life-changing and there are several factors to consider, especially if children are involved. If you are trying to make this difficult decision, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Remember, you can always call a Family Lawyer to talk about your situation so you can make sure you are making the best decision for you.

Making a Decision

• Decide that it’s time to end your marriage. Deciding to end your marriage is one of the toughest and most important decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s important that you’re 100% certain that your marriage is really over before you start taking the next steps. If you’ve already basically uncoupled. This means that you and your husband have separate friends, separate interests, don’t spend time with each other, and don’t really know what’s going on in each other’s lives.

• If your husband is no longer willing to try. If you’ve repeatedly brought up the problems in your marriage and your husband either promises to change and never does or flat-out refuses to change, then it may be time to leave.
• If you’re in an abusive relationship, then get out. There are no good reasons to stay in an abusive relationship or to prolong your pain. If your relationship is truly abusive, then it may be best to get out and to figure out the rest once you’re safe.
• If one or both of you has been repeatedly unfaithful. It’s different if one of you has had a fling and has worked hard never to let it happen again but if cheating and flings are the status quo in your relationship, then it may be beyond saving.
• If you no longer feel like a team. If you have stopped making decisions together, communicating, or compromising, then it may be time to leave.
• If you can’t agree on whether or not to have kids. If you’re dying to have kids but your husband refuses, or vice versa, then there may be no point in continuing the relationship if you can’t see eye-to-eye on this important matter.
• See if you can make this decision with a cool head. You should not decide to leave your husband in the heat of the moment, but after you’ve had some time to really think it over.
• See if you’ve tried everything and nothing’s worked. If you’ve tried couples therapy, had many long conversations with your husband, and if both of you have attempted to change your ways but to no avail, then it may be time to leave. But if you’ve felt dissatisfied for a while and your husband seems to have no idea, it may be worth it to see if you can talk things through first.
• Consider having an honest conversation about it. The steps below can help you make the plans you need to make to leave your husband secretly letting him know only as or after you walk out that door. This can be helpful if you’re not sure how your husband will react, or if you think he’ll try to stop you from leaving. But if you’re both open to conversations, if he’s very supportive, and if you’re always honest and open with each other, then you may just want to talk to him first and see if you can work things out. You may be surprised by how many of your feelings your husband shares or by the lengths he’s willing to go to not lose you. This doesn’t mean that you should let your husband convince you to stay. But if you’re on the fence and aren’t sure if maybe you can really make things work, then talking to him can make a big difference.

• Keep your decision to yourself. It may be hard, but this step can be vital in many ways. Leaving a marriage can be a volatile situation and staying quiet will allow you the time to prepare and establish yourself before you actually walk out the door. Tell only a few, close people who support your decision. Tell the people who can give you some help and guidance not people who can’t keep it to themselves. If you don’t want to talk it out with your husband and want to escape a bad situation, then it’s better to keep it to yourself so you have time to figure out the details. If your husband knows about your plans and doesn’t want you to leave, then he can try to thwart your plans or to make it very difficult for you to get things done. This may seem sneaky, but your goal should be to leave on the best financial footing. You don’t want your husband to get in the way of that. It may be hard not to act once you’ve made your decision, but it could take between two to six months to plan an exit strategy that will help you keep your footing financially. Though you may be ready to walk out that door any second, know that it may be better in the long run if you take some time to get organized before you leave.

Making a Plan

• Set up a separate bank account. This is especially tricky for stay-at-home mothers who may not have outside income, but having some money saved up will help you move forward on a better financial footing. Starting a separate account, even if you don’t have much money to put in there, at first, can help get you on the right track. This will make it easier for you to have your own finances sorted out once you do leave your husband. Taking money from a joint account should be a last resort something you do right before you leave.
• Find a place to live. If you are leaving the marital home, it is important to find a new place to live. In some cases, temporarily staying with other people can be helpful, but in the long term, you will need to find housing you can afford. This will raise some bigger questions about where you will live — if you don’t have children, it may even be relatively easy for you to move across the country to be closer to your family. Maybe you just want to try something new and want to live in a new climate. Whatever you want to do, having either a plan or a temporary place to stay or even signing a lease at another place can get you closer to your goal.

• If you and your husband are really on the same page about the divorce and are comfortable enough with each other to talk about it, then you can talk about who is going to move out of the home you share together. If there are children involved, this can be an even more important question. As soon as you’ve made your decision, try to save money for the move, regardless of whether you’re moving across town or across the country. You’ll likely find yourself on a stricter budget after you leave.
• Get your paperwork together. Throughout a marriage, you will accumulate many important documents such as paperwork pertaining to your mortgage, vehicle and retirement plans, among others. Make sure you have a copy of these documents since the property in question could be an issue in the divorce.
• If you see many documents that you’re sure if you’ll need, then you should make a copy of those just in case they end up being important. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to getting your paperwork together.
• If you really want to make thorough copies of everything, then you may want to hire a professional to make a copy of your home computer’s hard drive and even to take photos of certain valuable belongings. This can help you in the future if some money goes “missing” during your settlement.
• Make a plan for your children (if you have any). If you and your husband have children together, then it’s important to figure out what’s best for them. Do you think your husband is a great (or at least decent) father who will be involved in his children’s lives, or do you have reasons to believe your children should have nothing to do with him? This will be one of the biggest decisions you make throughout the process. Just keep in mind that you can’t just decide your children shouldn’t see your husband because you don’t want to see him anymore. There should be a good reason (like alcohol abuse) to keep him away from his kids. You should make this decision with an even head, because it will determine many things, such as, potentially, the place where you live, as well as your children’s futures.
• Contact a divorce lawyer. A divorce is costly and time consuming, so you may wish to shop around for a price you can afford, especially if you think it will be a drawn out process. Though you may be tempted to save money and to do this yourself, the right lawyer can really help you make the process easier and less painful. You don’t want to end up getting embroiled in a financial mess you don’t know how to fix just because you didn’t want to spend money on a lawyer. If you really don’t have the budget for this, then you can consider hiring a paralegal.
• Start planning your post-divorce budget. If you’re doing incredibly well financially already, then this is definitely a bonus, but it’s important to consider the budget you’ll have after you leave your husband. It’s important to ask yourself these questions before you walk out the door so you don’t feel stumped when the time comes.
• Don’t depend on alimony. Alimony or child support could definitely be a part of your future income, but in today’s economy, it may not be a guarantee. If you’re certain that your husband will pay reliably, that’s one thing, but you have to ask yourself if you can really count on your husband. This can get even trickier if you’re the main breadwinner, because then you will be the one paying alimony. Make sure you call a Divorce Lawyer to discuss your rights.
• Establish your own credit record. If you don’t have a credit record apart from your spouse, then it’s important to get one as soon as you can. You can start by getting a copy of your credit report; you can get at least one free copy a year from each of the three bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Check it out and look for errors. Then, begin to build your own credit by making wise purchases, making payments on time, and being thoughtful in your money-management. You may think that you have a strong credit record just because your husband does, but this may not be the case if you have not been very involved in the financial aspect of your lives.
• Make plans to boost your income. After you have a better sense of the budget you need to live on, then you have to think about whether or not you need to boost your income to cover it. If you have a well-paying job and plenty of savings, then great but if you need to get a job and have spent time out of the work force, or if you need a higher-paying job, then you’ll need to make moves in that direction. Get your resume in order. You don’t have to send it out before you leave your husband, but you should have it on hand when the time comes. Once you leave, you are likely to feel even more overwhelmed, and you may not have the time or mental strength to do something like update your resume.

Saying Goodbye

• Pack your belongings. You may choose to start with the smaller, less obvious items or you may decide to do it all in one day. You must determine what the safest approach is for your situation. If you think your husband is going to get violent or threatening if he sees you packing up your things, make a plan to do this when there’s little chance he’ll be around. Still, though, it’s best to have some friends or family members there to help you for your own safety and protection. It can be helpful to pack when your husband is at work. Even if he supports you in leaving, packing when he’s around can be more painful.
• Leave. You may have already told your spouse you are leaving or it may come as a complete surprise. Even if you know you have made the right decision, this last step may be the hardest emotionally. Of course, every situation is different. If you and your spouse have been talking about this for months, then it may not come as a shock. If you’re in an abusive or threatening situation, then leaving suddenly is your best option. Whatever your reason for leaving, it’s up to you to decide which method of leaving is best whether it’s a frank and honest conversation or leaving without a note.
• Get as much emotional support as you can. This is not the time to be alone with your worries. After you leave your husband, you should lean on your family, your friends, or even a therapist, as much as you can. This is likely the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do and the pain will be much more manageable if you have the support and love of the people who care about you the most. There’s no shame in asking for help. Though it’s important to get some alone time to deal with your feelings, it’s equally important to be out and about, to make plans with your friends, and to indulge in long conversations.

• Get back on your feet. This may not happen overnight. You will have to recover both emotionally and financially, and it can take years for you to feel independent and in control of your life again. The important thing is that you know that you are on the path to recovery, and that the decision you made will lead to more happiness in the long run, even if it may not feel that way now. And once you’ve gotten back on your feet, you can praise yourself for having the strength to decide to leave your husband and for following through on your ideas. Though women tend to lose financially after a divorce, this does not keep them from exploring new things they never knew they loved, advancing in their careers, or doing many amazing things that they were not able to do during their marriage. In the long run, you should be able to not only get back on your feet, but to become a stronger, wiser, and more fulfilled person in the process.

Divorce Lawyer

When you need a Divorce Lawyer, 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 Is The Best Way To Get Divorced?

What Is The Best Way To Get Divorced

How quickly a party can get divorced will first depend upon his or her state’s waiting period, or the amount of time the state requires a person filing for divorce to wait until the Court will grant the divorce. Some states have no waiting period, while others have waiting periods of up to two years. To determine what the waiting period in your state is, check the ‘effective waiting period for no-fault divorce’ column for your state on this chart provided by Americans for Divorce Reform. The amount of time it takes a couple to divorce also depends on how quickly the parties can come to an agreement and complete the procedure for divorce.

Starting the Divorce Process

• Fill out a Summons: The first step in getting a divorce is telling the court that you would like to dissolve your marriage. The specifics of this will depend on your state and county, so contact your local court to obtain the correct papers. There may be additional forms such as a marriage petition, property declaration, or other declarations pertaining to your relationship. Make sure you have found all the forms necessary for filing in your state. Fill out the papers on a computer or using blue or black ink as clearly as possible. If you find the forms difficult to navigate you may want to consider hiring someone to assist you. If you and your spouse are separating amicably, agree which one of you will start the process as court proceedings usually have a plaintiff and defendant (or petitioner and respondent). It does not matter much, but the plaintiff may have slightly more to do. Some states do also allow Joint Petitioning, in the simplest cases. If you have no children and little shared property, check if there is a marriage dissolution packet available at your local court.
• Have the dissolution forms reviewed: There are many states that offer free legal advice at family courts so take advantage if it is available to you. You can also consider hiring legal counsel to make sure the process goes smoothly. Some attorneys can be hired just to help with certain tasks, and in some cases paralegals can be hired to complete forms, so it does not have to be as expensive as you might think.
• Make additional copies: Keep a copy of the summons for yourself. You will also need a copy for your spouse. The original is to be filed with the court.
• File the papers: You will turn in the original as well as the copies to the county clerk. Your papers will be reviewed and, presuming everything is in order, stamped as “filed.” The court will retain the original summons and any other papers as the official beginning of divorce proceedings. They will return the copies for both parties to you with the “filed” stamp. This stamp means your divorce is officially underway.

• Serve your spouse: Whether you and your significant other have been in contact during this process or not, the court needs to know that your spouse is officially aware that the divorce is a concern of the court. Your spouse can receive their copy of the papers from anyone over 18, other than you. It can be a friend or family member, or a hired professional server. The plaintiff is not allowed to serve the papers. In many states you can also deliver them by certified mail, as long as the other party is willing to fill out an acknowledgment of receipt form.
• File proof of service: If your spouse receives the forms from a personal server, the server has to provide you with a form attesting to this that can be filed with the court. If your spouse accepted service by mail, it may be your duty to file the return receipt with the court.
Coming to an Agreement
• Decide with your spouse that you want to make an agreement: In order to get a quick and easy divorce in any state, you will need to write up an agreement with your spouse on all contestable issues. If you are at odds emotionally or practically from the start, it will be difficult to work out these details. In many cases it may be useful to hire a mediator to assist you even when things seem straightforward. A mediator is a legal professional who works for both of you. If you have children or complex finances you may also want to consider hiring lawyers to draw up your divorce contract even if you are in general agreement. The right lawyer does not have to make the divorce into a battle but can just make sure you are filing things to your best interests. If you hire lawyers, each side should have their own, although they can still work amicably.
• Reach an agreement about property distribution: You will need to decide who gets every piece of personal and real property that you, your spouse, or the two of you own. This includes but is not limited to bank and investment accounts, vehicles, and real estate. Anything which is legally owned would most easily be divided in half or according to the party whose name is on it, but sometimes married couples do not worry about putting names on property with a concern for possible separation. Be fair about the how the property was understood during the marriage. This also includes personal items, furnishings, gifts, artwork and memorabilia.
• Divide any debt fairly: Debts accrued during the marriage should be divided between you and spouse according to each party’s ability to pay the debt, who incurred the debt, and how much property each party is receiving. A mortgage is often one of the most complicated debts to divide. If it is possible to sell the house, all that has to be agreed is the division of funds, but if one party intends to keep the house, they will have to keep the debt as well, and the bank has to approve that. In some cases, the house may have to be sold even if that wasn’t the original plan, simply because one party cannot shoulder the full mortgage alone. Credit card debt should be divided at separation, even if it is just onto other credit cards. Try not to keep your finances entangled. In some states, even credit card debt that is not in your name but that was incurred by your spouse during the marriage may be your liability.
• Consider alimony or spousal support: If you or your spouse has been out of the workforce in order to raise children, take care of a family member, or because of a disability, alimony or spousal support may be warranted. Be careful when agreeing to pay alimony or spousal support, as you may not be able to modify that agreement later

• Reach an agreement on child custody and visitation rights: If you have children, you will need to decide which party the children will live with (the custodial parent) and how often and when the children will visit with the other party (the non-custodial parent). Most states have plans or worksheets of some kind available to help couples come to agreements on this issue. Some states will leave the issue more open but still provide assistance to make the best decision for the child. Check what the law requires in your state’s parenting guidelines.
• Come to an agreement on child support: All states have laws, which presume that the non-custodial parent should pay child support to the custodial parent. To determine how much child support should be paid in your situation, check your state’s website for a child support worksheet or calculator. You can locate your state’s website by following the appropriate link from the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) State Government Websites page.
• Write up your agreement: As you make these decisions, keep things in writing, and when you have covered everything, type up the official agreement so that both of you are satisfied with the language and level of detail. Check with your local court whether to have such a document signed and notarized, or whether it will be more useful referentially for filling out official court forms.

Filing Divorce Papers
• Locate the proper forms: Many states offer state-approved forms for uncontested or agreed divorces. Other states do not, so you may have to spend some time and possibly some money to obtain the correct forms. To locate the proper forms Visit your state’s website by following the appropriate link from the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) State Government Websites page. Use a search engine to search “your state divorce forms”. Check with your County Clerk’s Office. If the forms aren’t available online, call or stop in and ask for a copy of the forms you need.
• Complete the forms: Follow all of the instructions that came with your forms. If you did not get instructions, try to answer every question as completely as possible, while remaining brief. Type or print in blue or black ink when filling out court forms. Write clearly and do not skip portions. Divorce papers will often include several affidavits or unclear legalistic forms, so be prepared to spend some time getting things in order. If you need help, check with the court clerk and/or local bar association to see if your jurisdiction offers free or low cost assistance to pro-se parties.
• File the forms with the proper court: Your forms should be filed in the county in which you or the other party resides. Check with the court clerk’s office if you are unsure which court in your county handles divorces. You will need to submit more than one copy of each form as well as a filing fee, so call the Clerk’s office first, to find out how many copies of each document you should bring, what the filing will be, and what forms of payment are accepted.
• Attend any necessary hearings: Uncontested or agreed divorces generally do not require the parties to appear in court, but some jurisdictions may conduct a brief hearing. Be sure to attend any hearings the court schedules and bring any documentation it requests. Be punctual if you are required to attend any official hearings. Plan your day so that you can be sure to arrive early.
• Dress conservatively: You don’t need to go out and buy a new suit or outfit – just find a clean, well fitting, and as respectable as possible set of clothing. A nice button down shirt and a pressed pair of slacks will do the trick. A man can add a tie and a woman might prefer a long skirt. Be respectful in court. Address the judge as “Your Honor” and “Sir” or “Ma’am”. Stand when speaking and spoken to.

Finalizing Your Divorce

• Complete any necessary classes, courses, and/or tests: Many states have parenting classes and education courses that some or all divorcing parents are required to take before a divorce will be granted. Check with the county clerk, the court, or an attorney to determine if there are any instructional courses you need to take in order to have your divorced granted.
• Obtain and file any remaining forms: Once your waiting period is over your Final Decree or Decree of Dissolution will be granted by the state. You may then be required to file this decree as well as other remaining documents as a way to confirm that it needed no modifications and was correct. If you are unsure what you need to file besides the final decree, check the instructions that came with your form, or with the Clerk of Courts.
• Wait for a copy of your decree: Once the Judge signs your final decree, the court will mail you a certified copy of the decree or a notice telling you it is ready for you to pick up. If you do not receive anything from the court within your state’s given jurisdiction time (usually 30 days) of filing your final documents and/or attending your final hearing, call the court to inquire. The court typically allows a standard length of time during which modifications, corrections or reforms can be filed by either party.
Uncontested Divorces and Contested Divorces
A contested divorce is one where the parties cannot agree on some or all issues. It may involve a trial, and it may involve lengthy settlement meetings. It may also involve digging into your spouse’s finances, which takes a lot of time and energy.
An uncontested divorce, however, takes a lot less time because you agree with your spouse about:
• Custody
• Visitation
• Child support
• Spousal support
• Division of property
• Division of debt
• Other issues, such as education and religion
• Life and health insurance
If you want to get a divorce fast, an uncontested divorce will help you do that. An uncontested divorce also will save you money in legal fees, will reduce stress, and will get you through the court system much faster than a contested divorce.
No-Fault Divorces Versus Fault-Based Divorces
All states have some form of no-fault divorce, although in some states, you have to be legally separated for a year or more before you can get a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce that doesn’t require legal separation also can speed up your divorce because it eliminates the need to prove grounds for divorce, such as adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, or abandonment. A no-fault divorce prevents the parties from blaming one another for the end of a marriage. In most states, a no-fault divorce is accomplished by stating under oath in court or in papers that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences or are incompatible. If your divorce is a no-fault divorce, you can claim that you want a no-fault divorce in your divorce papers. A divorce can be both no-fault and uncontested. In some states, if you have a no-fault, uncontested divorce, you may never have to go to court and your divorce can be done on what is called “papers only.””
To file a no-fault, uncontested divorce, you’ll need:
• To satisfy residency requirements
• To purchase an index number
• To have a summons and complaint or petition served on your spouse
• To have your spouse file a response to your complaint or petition
• To fill out forms that put the case on the court calendar
• An affidavit of service for the papers that were served
• Income, spousal support, and child support worksheets
• A parenting plan in some states
• A marital settlement agreement, separation agreement, or stipulation of settlement—which are different ways of saying the same thing, depending on your state
• Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law or similar papers
• Judgment of Divorce
• Additional divorce papers, such as statements by each spouse
• Any other papers your state requires

Utah Divorce Lawyer

When you need legal help for a Utah Divorce, 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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Is Divorce In Utah Easy?

Is Divorce In Utah Easy?

If you enter into marriage under the age of 20 and/or have an income of less than 25,000, your risk of divorce skyrockets. Throw in a spouse losing their job or a surprise pregnancy, and your marriage may be doomed before it begins. Here in Utah, we have a tendency to marry quite young. The median age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men. Now compare that to the average age of marriage in Utah, which is 24 for women and 26 for men.

Divorce Has Declined Nearly Everywhere Except Utah

Utah’s divorce rates run slightly higher than the national average. Statistics often attribute this to Utah having larger families than the national average, citing more than 5% of families have 7+ family members compared to the 3.25 national average (2013).

Utah Requires Divorcing Couples to Attend a Divorce Education Class
Utah legislators have created a mandatory divorce orientation course that couples must complete. Your divorce cannot be finalized until both you and your significant other have completed the course. You are only required to take the divorce education class if there are minor children involved. The one-time class reviews resources for custody and child support issues, clarifies the divorce process, and consequences of divorce. More information about Utah Divorce class requirements and fees can be found here.

People May Judge You and Ask Why

The news that you are getting divorced has spread through your church, neighborhood, and/or workplace, and we are a curious species. Don’t be surprised when people you barely know ask you why you the nitty-gritty on why you are getting divorced. Insensitive comments such as, “did she leave you for someone younger?” and other flagrant comments are to be expected. For the sake of your children, you may not wish to respond in detail.
While you are preparing your financials for your divorce, be sure to take some time to handle the emotional side as well. People may even tell you that they haven’t liked your ex since before you got married. They are not usually trying to make you feel bad; quite the opposite, they are usually trying to tell you that they agree with your decision and are trying to make you feel better. My point – PREPARE YOURSELF for these comments.
Friends and family members may also take sides or disappear completely. You may be the spouse who was cheated on, and people may still not take your side. Divorce is a distressing topic, and people may want to distance themselves from the perceived drama. Just remember to stay true to yourself, cut out the negative people, and create a foundation of support. Divorce gets easier as time goes on, and surrounding yourself with those that will help you weather the storm helps the process move faster.

You May Feel Terrible About Getting a Divorce – It’s OK

There is much guilt and regret present in nearly every divorce. You may easily blame yourself because you run through all the things you could have done differently, because your children blame you, or you may feel guilty simply because you were the one who filed the divorce papers. This is normal!! Make a choice to move forward, and take care of yourself. Throughout the divorce process you will have good days and bad days. Feeling guilty or overwhelmed does not mean that you should give the other spouse everything. Doing so will probably not lessen the grief on either side, and you are still entitled to half of everything.

Additionally, people may want to tell you their divorce horror stories. Please remember that every situation is different, and you shouldn’t let someone else’s negative experience stress you out. When you are feeling stressed, rely on professional advice from your family law attorney, mental health counselor, or financial advisor as they are qualified to give you answers pertaining to your specific situation.

Parenting After Divorce May Become More Difficult

There will be many disagreements – maybe not fair or logical ones. There may be pain when you refer to your ex as “mommy” to your kids, however that is her name to them, and you need to be the adult about it. No matter what are your kids are, please practice HIGH levels of self-control and not bad mouth the other parent in front of your children. You may think with the other spouse out of the picture, that you can make all parenting decisions by yourself. If you’re granted sole legal custody, then you can make major decision about the kid(s) by yourself. Having sole physical custody simply means that you are the parent the kid(s) live with. Make a choice to try to co-parent as best you can. If you can’t get along, you may need to have separate birthdays, and the more times in your kids’ lives you are going to miss out on. Just because you are divorced, doesn’t mean that you have to be enemies.

If the Utah Divorce Decree is Violated, There Can be Serious Consequences.
Once the court has ruled and the papers have been signed, both parties are bound to the terms set forth in the divorce decree. Violating any part of the agreement may put the violator in contempt of court, and your family law attorney can help you file a contempt motion. The most common divorce violations are non-payment of child support, not complying with the visitation schedule, withholding visitation, and non-payment of alimony. If your ex does not bring the kids back at the time set forth in the divorce decree, the police will not help you bring them back unless there is an immediate threat to them. What the police will do is come to your house and make a record of “visitation interference,” which your family law attorney can use as evidence in a contempt hearing. In your court hearing you must be able to state what areas of the decree have been violated, and the burden of proof always lies with the accuser. If you are found in contempt, the violator may be given a period of time to correct the issue or they may face jail time until the matter is resolved.

If you ex is not paying alimony or child support due to unemployment, you can’t make your spouse pay if they do not bring in an income, however, past due child support will accrue. Your family law attorney will likely recommend that you contact the Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS). The ORS makes sure that Utah parents are responsible for their children’s support, and can help you collect a judgment. Click here for more information on the Office of Recovery Services.

Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney

I understand that a Utah Divorce is emotionally exhausting, even outside of the legal realm. We are a family-owned law firm specializing in handling many difficult circumstances when it comes to Salt Lake City family law situations. We specialize on father’s rights in Utah and are equally skilled in representing a mother’s position as well. Whether you are dealing with divorce, separation, alimony, child support, custody, paternity, domestic violence, or visitation issues, Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law can help. We offer legal representation that is cost-efficient and trustworthy. Call us to take advantage of our free divorce consultation.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce (DIY Divorce)

For uncontested divorces, our most popular service offered is our Do-It-Yourself Divorce. Doing your own divorce through Utah Legal Clinic is easy and economical. The process will save you substantial money and allows you to end a marriage with minimum involvement by lawyers and the legal system. We have been helping people in Utah do their own divorces since 1973. To qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be completely uncontested. This means you and your spouse must be in full agreement as to all terms. Many times, Utah Legal Clinic can determine quickly over the phone if you qualify for the Do-It-Yourself Divorce service. In most cases, no court hearing is required for uncontested divorces.

We recommend that you come in and visit us and stay away from do it yourself divorce stuff. You wouldn’t do your own dental work. You would do your own open heart surgery. Don’t do your own divorce.
• Intake appointment with a Paralegal and/or Attorney to determine that you qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce;
• Preparation of all necessary documents;
• Notary for all your signatures requiring a notary on the divorce paperwork;
• Detailed step-by-step instructions for filing your own papers and getting all necessary signatures from your spouse;
• Copies of all executed documents for you;
• Copies of all executed documents for your spouse;
• Assistance throughout the steps of your “Do-It-Yourself Divorce,” if needed.

Who Is Eligible?

In order to represent yourself, that is for you to do your own Do-It-Yourself Divorce, both you and your spouse must agree upon all terms of the divorce such as debt division, property division, and child custody.
In order to complete a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be simple. Parties that have been separated for a long time, who have few debts, and who have already physically divided all of their property can easily proceed with a Do-It-Yourself Divorce. We encourage you to have already mutually agreed with your spouse as to all terms of the divorce before you come in for your appointment. You should prepare a complete list of all items that have been resolved, how debts and property should be divided, etc. Our office can help you determine if your divorce is considered simple. Representing yourself in a divorce involving complicated terms or extensive debts and property is discouraged.

Filing Fees

The filing fee for a divorce in Utah is $318. That fee is paid directly to the Court when you file your divorce papers. In some circumstances the filing fee may be waived. For more information on waivers, you can visit the Court’s website.

Utah’s waiting period and other requirements

In Utah, you can expect your divorce to take at least one month. Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 provides that couples must wait 30 days after filing their divorce petition before a final order can be entered.
Prior to 2019, there was a 90-day waiting period was required in divorce cases. The waiting period could also be waived for any good cause set forth in the divorce papers.
In 2012, the Utah legislature amended Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 to prevent parties from waiving the 90-day waiting period unless they can establish extraordinary circumstances. While it remains, unclear what may qualify as extraordinary circumstances, it is clear that the legislature wanted to make it more difficult for couples to get a speedy divorce. Under the prior version of the statute, couples needed only to assert that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to reconciliation and that they were certain any further attempts to save the marriage would be futile. Now, couples will need to show that there is some other pressing reason, such as a new marriage or extraordinary financial situations, in order to obtain a waiver of the mandatory waiting period.
Even under the best set of circumstances, it will likely take at least 90 days after you file your Utah Petition for Divorce to obtain a final order. If the divorce is contested or the required papers are not filed, the divorce may take much longer. There are numerous affidavits, information sheets and other documents which must be filed with the court before the judge will enter the Decree of Divorce.

With contested divorce cases, it may take years to obtain a Decree of Divorce. Couples are required to fully disclose all financial assets through a lengthy discovery process. It may be necessary to retain other professional to assist in the division of property, such as forensic accountants, home appraisers and tax experts. Couples with children frequently retain guardian ad litem attorneys to interview the children or psychologists to complete a thorough custody evaluation.
Hopefully, Utah lawmakers will eventually realize the need for a faster and simpler divorce process. The current Utah belief seems to be that the courts can save marriages by slowing down the divorce process. When a couple decides that their marriage is so irretrievably broken that they need to divorce, it is generally not in anyone’s best interests to try to keep that couple together. Nobody knows whether a marriage can be saved better than the two individuals who are living in that marriage. If a couple is able to work out a divorce resolution without court intervention, Utah should let them be divorced.

The family law team at Ascent Law LLC understands the need to have divorce cases handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. Family law attorney Hailey Black can guide you through a contested divorce or work with you to ensure all required papers for your uncontested divorce are in order. During your initial consultation, we will advise you on your options and provide you with an approximate timeline for resolving your divorce case.

With Children

If you have minor children from your marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend a mandatory one-hour Divorce Orientation and a two-hour Divorce Education Class. Information about both classes can be found at Utah Courts. The cost for the Divorce Orientation is $20 per parent, and the cost for the Divorce Education Class is $35 per parent, for a total per-parent cost of $55. The costs to attend those required Courses are the responsibility of each parent. Proof of attendance for both you and your spouse must be filed with the Court prior to your divorce being entered. You should plan on attending the orientation and parenting class as soon as possible after you have filed your initial papers and received your case number. You do not have to attend that class with your spouse.

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 Are The Rules For Alimony?

What Are The Rules For Alimony

Alimony or spousal support is a monthly payment made by one spouse to another in accordance with either a settlement agreement or a court decision. The purpose of alimony is to correct any unfair economic effects caused by a divorce, such as when a stay-at-home parent suddenly needs a source of income after the divorce but has never held a job. Spousal support is generally issued in connection with cases involving divorce or legal separation. Also known as alimony, spousal support is where one spouse pays the other ex-spouse a certain sum of money, usually on a monthly basis. Courts may require this in instances where one party is much more financially stable than the other, and the other party needs assistance in beginning life after the divorce or separation.

Spousal support is issued on a case-by-case basis, and each case will be different in terms of the spousal support analysis. In most cases, only persons who have been involved in a marriage of a longer duration (usually over 5 years) are qualified for spousal support. Also, the court will take into account several factors when making the support determination, including:

• The earning capacity of each spouse
• The assets and property owned by each person
• Whether one party is significantly involved in debt
• Whether the parties were engaged in a shared business
• Each party’s contribution to the relationship (for instance, as a homemaker, or in terms of joint careers/education)
• Whether the parties have worked out spousal support provisions in a prenuptial agreement
• Various other factors, such as mental and physical health conditions
• Certain factors can disqualify a person from child support, such as a history of abuse or a history of certain charges on one’s criminal record.

Spousal support orders that are issued by the court are final and enforceable by law. However, they can sometimes be altered due to unique or special circumstances that become present later on. An example of this is where the spouse receiving support payments begins cohabiting with another partner who begins supporting them financially. Another example is where one party is experiencing extreme hardship. Spousal support can also be terminated for various reasons. It is usually ordered after a divorce when either the spouse mutually agree on the payments or when the judge looks at all the relevant factors and decides that alimony or spousal support is necessary to support one spouse. Spousal support is generally awarded to a spouse who has been out of work during the marriage or makes a lower income and needs the support of the other husband even after the divorce. The judge could order one spouse to pay the alimony payments in one lump sum if the spouse has the ability to do so or make monthly payments. Alimony payments can also be modified depending on the ability to pay. For example, if one spouse gets a significant raise in income or loses their job and cannot pay, then the spousal support is also modified since it changes the ability to pay.

Requirements for Spousal Support

There are several requirements in order to satisfy for payments to be considered spousal support:
• The payments that are being made must be in cash or checks. Assets and paying off debts is not considered payments for support.
• The payments must be provided for in a divorce or a written agreement

• Payments made prior to divorce or agreement for payments are not considered
• Alimony or spousal support cannot be claimed during the same year joint tax returns were filed
• Alimony payments cannot be paid during the time both spouses live in the same residence
• The payments must stop if one spouse marries or dies
Even if the woman is working and there is a substantial difference between her and her husband’s net worth, she will still be granted alimony to provide for the same living standards as her husband’s. If the woman’s not earning as well, Court will consider the woman’s age, her educational qualifications, ability to earn to decide the amount of the alimony. Alimony does not constitute child support. Maintenance for children’s needs is to be provided separately by the father. However, if the mother is earning, she will also have to provide for the child in proportion to her income. Husband is granted alimony only if he has some physical disability that prevents him from earning and the wife is earning.
How much is paid
Monthly payout: Supreme Court has capped monthly alimony at 25% of husband’s gross salary. It can be raised and lowered as per the changes in husband’s salary.
Lump sum settlement: No benchmark on lump sum settlement. It usually ranges from 1/5th to 1/3rd of the husband’s net worth and is a one-time settlement.
Taxability of alimony
Monthly payout: Alimony in the form of monthly/quarterly payouts is treated as revenue receipt and taxed in the hands of the receiver. It is added to her total income and taxed as per the tax bracket. No deductions available for the payer.
Lump sum settlement: Lump sum alimony is treated as capital receipt and hence is tax-free.
Items that belongs to her.

• All kinds of jewellery (gold, silver, precious/semi-precious stones, and alloy), property and other valuables like car, paintings, artifacts, appliances, furniture etc. gifted to the woman at marriage, before marriage and during the course of her marriage. In case of a dispute, a list of all the items signed by two witnesses can be given to make a claim.
• Gifts can come from anyone husband in-laws, parents, friends, relatives and acquaintances.
• Woman’s earnings before or after marriage from employment or business. Any savings or investments made from her earnings.
Items that does not belong to her.
• Any ornaments, like a gold chain or ring, and other valuables gifted to the husband by the wife’s parents at the time of marriage and through the duration of marriage.
• Any movable or immovable asset bought by the husband in the wife’s name without passing it on as a gift.
• Earnings of the woman spent on household cannot be claimed back.
Taxes and Alimony Records
For now, alimony is tax-deductible for the paying spouse and constitutes taxable income for the supported spouse. This is one of many reasons that it’s important to keep adequate records if you’re paying or receiving alimony. Note that individuals paying alimony will no longer be able to deduct their payments for tax purposes, and supported spouses won’t have to include alimony in their gross income. Frequently after a divorce, the spouses dispute, or the challenges, the amounts that were actually paid or received. Without adequate documentation, the payer may lose the alimony tax deduction or be ordered to pay back support if the other spouse makes a claim in court.
Alimony Payer
The person paying alimony should keep:
• a list showing each payment (date, check number, and address to which the check was sent)
• the originals of checks used for payments (keep in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box) be sure to note on each check the month for which the support is being paid, and
• if you pay in cash, receipts for each payment, signed by the recipient.

Be sure to keep these records for at least three years from the date you file the tax return deducting the payments. Some lawyers and tax advisers say you should never throw away these types of records.

Alimony Recipient

The spouse receiving support should make a list that shows each payment received. Include the following information:
• date payment was received
• amount received
• check number or other identifying information (for example, the number of the money order)
• account number on which any check is written
• name of bank on which check is drawn or money order issued
• a photocopy of the check or money order, and
• a copy of any signed receipt you give for cash payments.

Finally, if you secure an alimony order but your spouse refuses to make the required payments, take immediate legal action to enforce the order through a contempt proceeding or an earnings assignment order. Orders to pay monthly alimony have the same force as any other court order and, if handled properly, can be enforced with the very real possibility of obtaining regular payments. If necessary, a court may jail a reluctant payer to show that it means business.

Factors Affecting Alimony

The determination of alimony varies greatly from state to state. Some state statutes give explicit guidelines to judges on the amount and/or duration of alimony. Alimony is awarded only in cases of marriage or civil union of ten years or longer and the payments are limited to three years unless there are special, extenuating circumstances. Furthermore, the amount of spousal support is limited to the lesser of $2,500 per month or 40% of the payee’s gross income. Spousal support is usually not awarded in marriages of less than 10 years and in some states, alimony awards cannot exceed 121 months. In Utah, the duration of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage. In these states, the determination of duration and amount of alimony is left to the discretion of the family court judges who must consider case law in each state.

In general, there are four types of alimony
• Temporary alimony: Support ordered when the parties are separated prior to divorce. Also called alimony pendent lite, which is Latin, meaning, “pending the suit”.

• Rehabilitative alimony: Support given to a lesser-earning spouse for a period of time necessary to acquire work outside the home and become self-sufficient.

• Permanent alimony: Support paid to the lesser-earning spouse until the death of the payer, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient.

• Reimbursement alimony: Support given as a reimbursement for expenses incurred by a spouse during the marriage (such as educational expenses).

• Amount and duration

• The longer the length of cohabitation and the greater the disparity between each party’s incomes, the larger an award of spousal support will be and the longer the duration will be. As stated above, spousal support calculations are complex. There are no tables to use as in child support calculations. Lawyers use special software designed specifically to calculate the entitlement, amount, and duration of support. After information is input into a computer, the software will provide a range for the spousal support amount and duration.

• Although there is no set formula to determine the exact amount and duration of spousal support, there are guidelines, referred to as the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which provides ranges for both. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines calculates the ranges taking into account the factors set out above. Although the courts are not required to abide by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, they are required to take them into account when deciding on the issue of spousal support.

• Depending on the means and needs of the individual receiving support, the court will generally award an amount of spousal support somewhere within the range provided by the software. The longer the relationship, the greater the presumption that the parties should have an equal standard of living.

• Similarly, the length of the relationship will be taken into account when determining how long spousal support should be paid for. Awards for spousal support can be for a limited term or indefinite.

The fact you have to pay alimony to your ex-spouse doesn’t amount to a finding that you are a bad person. Consider it part of the cost of entering a marriage that you probably thought would last until death parted you. Alimony has been the law for more than 100 years, and while it is ordered somewhat less frequently these days, there is no sign that courts are going to stop making alimony orders for good.

Utah Alimony Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with an alimony or divorce case in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (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 It Matter Who Files For Divorce First In Utah?

Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First In Utah

Ultimately it does not matter.

When marriages begin to fall apart, most spouses know that something is wrong. However, many spouses are hesitant to be the first one to file for divorce. Some are unsure about whether divorce is really the solution, others may wonder if they are being hasty and still others may just not know how to proceed. While people’s hesitation to file divorce is understandable, people considering divorce should be aware of the potential benefits that accompany being the first spouse to file for divorce.

Financial Benefits of Filing For Divorce First

Being the first spouse to file divorce means that a person can begin the proceedings at a time when he or she is financially prepared to do so. A person would have had time to collect copies of all important legal documents, such as deeds, bank and investment account statements, wills, life insurance policies, social security cards, titles to property. They will need these papers as part of the property division process, and it may be more difficult to obtain copies after the divorce starts. Also, a person can assess the family finances and determine the extent of their assets and debts, so they will have an accurate idea of what will be divided in the property division. People filing for divorce first also have the advantage of doing so after they have ensured that they have access to money and credit to meet their needs during the divorce process.

Possible Legal Benefits Of Filing First

One of the main legal advantages that a person gains by filing the divorce petition before his or her spouse does is that the filer can request a Standing Order from the court when filing the petition. Such an order prevents either spouse from making changes to beneficiaries on policies such as life insurance or retirement accounts, selling, borrowing against or transferring property, changing bank accounts and other similar financial moves. This can be important if the spouse filing divorce suspects that the other spouse will attempt to hide assets. The person who files for divorce also chooses the jurisdiction in which they litigate the divorce. In situations where spouses have lived apart from each other for a substantial period of time, possibly great distances from each other, filing the divorce petition first can prevent having to conduct matters related to the divorce far away from where a person lives.

If the matter should go to a hearing, the person who files the petition usually presents his or her case first. This can be a drawback for a spouse if he or she does not wish to reveal his or her strategy to the other spouse. The other spouse then has the opportunity to adjust the presentation of his or her case after seeing the other side.

Advantages of Filing First

If you file the initial Utah divorce petition, the court considers you to be the petitioner. Being the petitioner can be beneficial for several reasons:

• You don’t have to scramble to select a divorce attorney in time to file a response.

• You get to choose a convenient start time and establish deadlines for the case.

• You have time to prepare for the financial costs of divorce.

• You may have more of an opportunity to protect community assets.

• You won’t have to worry about your spouse stalling the divorce.

Advantages of Being the Respondent

If your spouse serves you with divorce papers, you’re the respondent. While playing this role may not have as many obvious advantages, being the respondent can be beneficial because:

• You have a chance to review your spouse’s requests before making decisions.

• Your divorce attorney can build an effective strategy based on the petition.

• You save money on filing fees and, in some cases, on service fees.
If you’re the respondent, you need to seek out legal counsel as soon as you’re served. You only have 21 days to respond if you were served in Utah, or 30 days if you were served outside of the state. If you fail to file a response within that time, the court may grant a default judgment, giving your spouse exactly what they have requested. Many people want to file first, but there are no consequences to being the respondent. Both parties in a Utah divorce are equal in the eyes of the law, and both have the opportunity to present their case. In the end, it won’t matter whether you’re the petitioner or respondent. Your Utah divorce attorney will be on your side, fighting for your rights and working to achieve the best possible outcome. If your marriage is over and you’re ready to file for divorce, having a skilled advocate in your corner is far more important than being the first to the courthouse.

The Divorce Process

A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse (the petitioner) and served on the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. It does not matter where the marriage occurred. The petition includes important information regarding the marriage. It names the husband, wife and any children and states if there is any separate property or community property, child custody, and child or spousal support.

Serving the Divorce Petition

The petition (or the divorce papers) must be served on the other spouse. This phase of the process is called “service of process.” If both spouses agree to the divorce, the other spouse only needs to sign an acknowledgement of the receipt of service. However, if the other spouse refuses to sign or is difficult to locate, you can hire a professional process server to personally deliver the papers. Completing service of process starts the clock running on your state’s waiting period. It also sets automatic restraining orders on the spouses and helps establish the date of separation. At this point, the spouses are not permitted to take any children out of state, sell any property, borrow against property, or borrow or sell insurance held for the other spouse.

Divorce Petition Response

The other spouse is known as the “respondent.” Although it’s not required, the respondent can file a response to the petition saying he or she agrees. Filing a response shows both parties agree to the divorce. This makes it more likely the case will proceed without a court hearing, which could delay the process and cost more. Generally, if a response is not filed within 30 days, the petitioner can request that a default be entered by the court. The responding spouse can also use the response to disagree with information presented in the petition.

Final Steps of a Divorce

Both spouses are required to disclose information regarding their assets, liabilities, income and expenses. If the divorce is uncontested and the spouses can agree on the terms of the divorce, there is only a bit more paperwork to file. Once the court enters the judgment, the divorce is final. However, the marriage is not formally dissolved and the spouses cannot remarry until the end of the state’s waiting period. If there are disputes that cannot be resolved, court hearings and maybe even a trial will be required.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse are worried about expensive, protracted court hearings, you can probably relax. According to CBS News, only about 5% of cases ever make it to trial. Other sources cite the number as being less than 5%. While estimates vary depending on who you ask, it’s easy to see what they all share in common: they’re tiny. Even in the worst case scenario, the likelihood of going to trial is minimal. That being said, it’s certainly not unheard-of. The good news is that the course your divorce follows is largely up to you and your spouse. In order to understand why, you have to have a general understanding of the Utah divorce process.

First, the petitioner files a complaint (petition) for divorce, which initiates the legal process. The spouse on whom the petition is served is known as the respondent. Once the respondent has been served with divorce papers, he or she has just 21 days to file an answer. (Out-of-state respondents have 30 days.) The nature of the respondent’s answer can set the divorce down a few different paths:

• If the respondent fails to file an answer within the allotted time period, then the petitioner can ask the judge to grant a default judgment. Ignoring divorce papers will not stop the divorce from happening; it will simply strip the respondent of his or her legal ability to challenge the petitioner’s demands.

• If the respondent agrees to everything in the complaint, including requests for alimony and/or child support payments, then the divorce is uncontested. If a divorce is uncontested, you can move ahead with the divorce process by filing the appropriate forms. However, even if you and your spouse are able to agree on the petitioner’s proposals regarding division of property, child support, and so forth, it is prudent to retain a family law attorney to ensure the proper and timely filing of legal documents. Some of the documents you will need to file include:

• Acceptance of Service
• Affidavit
• Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, or Annulment
• Financial Declaration
• Stipulation
• Summons
• If the respondent disagrees with something in the complaint – for example, he or she wants to fight for sole custody instead of agreeing to joint custody – then the divorce is contested.

Even if aspects of the divorce are being disputed, it still doesn’t mean that trial is inevitable or even necessary. If you and your spouse initially disagree on how matters like custody, alimony, and division of property should be handled, then you will be sent to mandatory mediation. Mediation is not like litigation (going to court). In litigation, the parties stand in opposition to one another, and each party seeks a different outcome. A judge presides over the trial, and renders a judgment based on the facts which are presented. If the court’s orders aren’t obeyed for instance, if a spouse stops paying child support, rather than trying to have the terms of the support order modified then the non-compliant person is in contempt of court and can be fined and jailed. In mediation, a qualified mediator works with both parties to help them come to a resolution that both people can agree on. While mediation isn’t always effective, it does have several distinct advantages over litigation: it tends to be quicker, less expensive, and less formal. Plus, because mediation is inherently less adversarial than litigation, it can be desirable for divorcing spouses who want to stay on good terms for the sake of their children. Trial is essentially a last resort, the final method of resolving the disagreements between you and your spouse. If mediation fails to solve your disputed matters, it will become necessary to go to trial before a judge. You and your spouse are not officially divorced until the judge grants the final divorce decree. However, even at this stage, either party may appeal if he or she disagrees with some aspect of the judge’s decision. The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decree’s entry.

Divorce in Utah

If you enter into marriage under the age of 20 and/or have an income of less than 25,000, your risk of divorce skyrockets. Throw in a spouse losing their job or a surprise pregnancy, and your marriage may be doomed before it begins. Here in Utah, we have a tendency to marry quite young. The median age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men. Now compare that to the average age of marriage in Utah, which is 24 for women and 26 for men.

Utah’s divorce rates run slightly higher than the national average. Statistics often attribute this to Utah having larger families than the national average, citing more than 5% of families have 7+ family members compared to the 3.25 national averages (2013).

Utah Requires Divorcing Couples to Attend a Divorce Education Class
Utah legislators have created a mandatory divorce orientation course that couples must complete. Your divorce cannot be finalized until both you and your significant other have completed the course. You are only required to take the divorce education class if there are minor children involved. The one-time class reviews resources for custody and child support issues, clarifies the divorce process, and consequences of divorce.

The news that you are getting divorced has spread through your church, neighborhood, and/or workplace, and we are a curious species. Don’t be surprised when people you barely know ask you why you the nitty-gritty on why you are getting divorced. There is much guilt and regret present in nearly every divorce. You may easily blame yourself because you run through all the things you could have done differently, because your children blame you, or you may feel guilty simply because you were the one who filed the divorce papers. This is normal!! Make a choice to move forward, and take care of yourself. Throughout the divorce process you will have good days and bad days. Feeling guilty or overwhelmed does not mean that you should give the other spouse everything. Doing so will probably not lessen the grief on either side, and you are still entitled to half of everything. Additionally, people may want to tell you their divorce horror stories. Please remember that every situation is different, and you shouldn’t let someone else’s negative experience stress you out. When you are feeling stressed, rely on professional advice from your family law attorney, mental health counselor, or financial advisor as they are qualified to give you answers pertaining to your specific situation.

Parenting after Divorce May Become More Difficult

There will be many disagreements maybe not fair or logical ones. There may be pain when you refer to your ex as “mommy” to your kids, however that is her name to them, and you need to be the adult about it. No matter what age your kids are, please practice high levels of self-control and not bad mouth the other parent in front of your children. You may think with the other spouse out of the picture, that you can make all parenting decisions by yourself. If you’re granted sole legal custody, then you can make major decision about the kid(s) by yourself. Having sole physical custody simply means that you are the parent the kid(s) live with. Make a choice to try to co-parent as best you can. If you can’t get along, you may need to have separate birthdays, and the more times in your kids’ lives you are going to miss out on. Just because you are divorced, doesn’t mean that you have to be enemies.

If the Utah Divorce Decree is Violated, There can be Serious Consequences.
Once the court has ruled and the papers have been signed, both parties are bound to the terms set forth in the divorce decree. Violating any part of the agreement may put the violator in contempt of court, and your family law attorney can help you file a contempt motion. The most common divorce violations are non-payment of child support, not complying with the visitation schedule, withholding visitation, and non-payment of alimony. If your ex does not bring the kids back at the time set forth in the divorce decree, the police will not help you bring them back unless there is an immediate threat to them. What the police will do is come to your house and makes a record of “visitation interference,” which your family law attorney can use as evidence in a contempt hearing. In your court hearing you must be able to state what areas of the decree have been violated, and the burden of proof always lies with the accuser. If you are found in contempt, the violator may be given a period of time to correct the issue or they may face jail time until the matter is resolved. If you ex is not paying alimony or child support due to unemployment, you can’t make your spouse pay if they do not bring in an income, however, past due child support will accrue.

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 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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Foreign Divorces in Utah

Divorce laws are different in every country and they may vary depending on regional, state or provincial laws, and even further on local customs, cultures and religion. With this complete lack of uniformity, should US courts recognize foreign divorces? What happens when a Utah resident gets divorced in a foreign country? Will Utah law recognize the overseas divorce judgment? This article touches on some of the issues that may come up when Utah courts are asked to determine the validity of a foreign divorce.

Foreign Divorces in Utah

What is a foreign divorce decree?

Many countries offer their overseas citizens the opportunity to utilize their home country’s judicial system, including obtaining a divorce without either spouse’s physical presence in the country. Let’s say, for example, that Henry and Sarah were both born and married in a foreign country – call it Country A – and they have been living and working in Utah. Let’s say that Henry wants a divorce, and Country A allows Henry to file for and obtain a divorce from Sarah by submitting paperwork through the mail.

A divorce, such as Henry and Sarah’s, that is undertaken in a foreign country, where neither spouse lives at the time of the divorce, is often referred to as a “mail order” divorce by U.S. state courts and the United States immigration authorities. For many who are originally from a foreign country, a mail order divorce is appealing because of the familiarity with the judicial system and culture in their home country, and in most cases, the legal cost is significantly lower as well.

Will Utah recognize foreign divorce decrees?

It depends. Generally, divorce decrees issued in foreign countries are recognized in Utah on the basis of “comity” (civility and courtesy), but there are some requirements that must be met, such as adequate notice of the divorce. And Utah will not validate a foreign divorce if it contravenes Utah public policy, as is the case, for example, with a so called “mail order” divorce that does not require an appearance by either party.

Utah, unlike many other states in the United States, will recognize a divorce decree issued in a foreign country, which is not the domicile of either spouse, provided the following requirements are met:

  • both spouses must receive adequate notice
  • there must be some physical presence on the part of at least one spouse within the jurisdiction (authority) of the court rendering the divorce   – this is usually met when the requesting spouse is in the foreign country to deal with the divorce proceedings, and
  • there must be some type of personal appearance or submission to the foreign court’s authority by the responding spouse (the spouse that is not seeking the divorce) – this is typically met by the responding spouse either appearing in person in the foreign court, or signing something showing that he or she agreed to allow the foreign court to make divorce-related decisions and terminate the marriage, such as a written response to the divorce.

If these requirements are not met, Utah courts will not issue a decree validating the foreign divorce.

What proof will I need to validate my foreign divorce in Utah?

You’ll need to obtain a certified copy of the foreign divorce decree from the court in the foreign country where it was issued. You should have the document authenticated for use in the United States, and make sure to get a certified English translation of the divorce decree made so the court can read it.

Can I fight against a foreign divorce decree in Utah?

Not always. You can’t challenge an overseas divorce if:

  • you personally appeared in the foreign court and filed an answer
  • you voluntarily appeared in the foreign divorce proceeding and raised the issue of jurisdiction  (but you might be able to overturn the divorce if your appearance was unauthorized, fraudulent, or coerced)
  • you have benefited from, or taken advantage of, the benefits of the foreign decree, such as by remarrying in reliance on the overseas divorce
  • your “ex-spouse” got remarried in reliance on the foreign judgment, or
  • you’ve complied with (followed) the terms of a separation or divorce agreement that was incorporated into the foreign decree.

However, if your spouse obtained a “mail-order or ex parte decree, (meaning without notice to you or without your appearance) you can still challenge the validity of the overseas divorce in a Utah matrimonial action, even if your ex-spouse relied on its validity to his or her prejudice, such as where he or she remarried in reliance on the foreign divorce decree.

What happens after a court recognizes my foreign divorce?

Once a foreign divorce judgment is recognized by a Utah court, it can serve as the basis for an action seeking financial relief, including the equitable distribution of marital property. The spouses to an invalid foreign divorce decree will not be able to seek post-judgment financial relief.

Obviously, the validity of a foreign divorce affects a person’s future family life. In order to avoid attacks on the validity of a foreign divorce, aspects of both Utah and foreign law should be considered.   If you have questions, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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

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Selling Your House in Divorce

If neither spouse wants to stay in the family home, or if neither can afford to buy out the other, you can put the property on the market and try to get the best possible price for it. Keep in mind that before the sales proceeds can be divided, you’ll have to pay off the mortgage, any equity line or second mortgage, and the brokers’ fees. You’ll also have to pay any capital gains tax that might apply. These expenses are one disadvantage of selling, especially if market conditions aren’t good for sellers. Another disadvantage is the need to uproot the kids when they’re already adjusting to a lot of change.

Selling Your House in Divorce

But there are advantages, too. Both spouses get money to start over, and it may help you make a clean break.

Once you’ve decided to sell, you’ll be faced with a lengthy and detailed process that involves a number of projects. Each of these projects takes hard work in the best of times, and the emotional upheaval that comes with divorce doesn’t make them any easier.

Picking an Agent to Sell Your House

While in general, it’s fine to sell a house without an agent, it’s not recommended when you’re in the middle of a divorce—the added stress is really not necessary. Try not to spend a lot of time arguing about who your agent will be. If you were satisfied with the agent who worked with you when you bought the house, see whether that person is available. If you’re starting from scratch and having trouble agreeing, each of you should pick a friend or relative, and have those two people agree on an agent. Or you can each choose an agent and have those two agents select a third to sell the house—if the first two agents are willing to do it with no listing in the offing. (They probably will if they both work for the same realty company and you agree that they can pick someone in their company.)

Settling on an Asking Price in Divorce

Take the agent’s advice about your asking price—that’s one of the main reasons you’re using an expert instead of selling the house yourself. Turning that decision over to the agent will eliminate one potential conflict. If you think the agent’s opinion is really off-base, you might need a different agent (or a reality check of your own).

Preparing to Show the House while in Divorce

Getting the house ready can be the most difficult part of the sale process. There’s often some work that needs to be done—minor repairs, painting, and the like—before the house is ready to be shown, so you need to agree on where the money for that will come from. If both of you have moved out by the time you put the house on the market, you can leave the place to be staged by the agent. If one of you is still living there, you’ll need to get things cleaned up, get the clutter out of the way, and probably remove some of the furniture. If this work falls mostly on one person, you might need to figure out a way to compensate that person for the extra effort.

Reviewing Offers for Sale

You’ll have to work together when it comes time to review offers from potential buyers, especially if you live in a place where the real estate market is volatile. Your agent can advise you, of course, but ultimately you’ll have to make the decision jointly.

Dividing the Equity with your Ex

Finally, you’ll have to figure out how to divide the proceeds. In general, that shouldn’t be too complex—the escrow company can distribute the money, after paying off all the obligations on the house and making whatever other payments you’ve agreed to. (For example, you might pay off marital debts with the proceeds of the house sale.) And if one spouse has been making post separation mortgage payments, that spouse has probably been reducing the principle amount and increasing the equity, which may increase the amount to be divided between the spouses after the closing costs and obligations have been paid. The distribution should be adjusted to account for the paying spouse’s contribution.

Imagine that a year passes between your date of separation and the date your house is sold (not an unusual scenario). During that time, your spouse has made all the mortgage payments, in addition to paying child and spousal support. Each month, $1,700 of the $2,200 payment goes to interest, and $500 goes to principal. That means that over the course of the year, your spouse has reduced the principal on your loan, and thus increased your joint equity in the house, by $6,000—using separate property. Your spouse would be justified in arguing that when the profit from the sale of the house is divided, the division shouldn’t be equal. Instead, your spouse should get back the $6,000 in equity that was earned as the result of the payments during the separation.

Free Consultation with a Utah 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.

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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Different Kinds of Divorce in Utah

There’s not just one way to divorce. The differences can be in the law, like fault or no-fault, or in the way you and your spouse approach it, like uncontested, contested, or default. This article describes briefly the different kinds of divorce in general terms, with links to more information about some kinds of divorces.

Different Kinds of Divorce in Utah

No matter how you slice it, divorce is expensive and time consuming. The most important variable is how well you and your spouse are able to put aside your anger and grief and cooperate on the big issues of money and children. The better you are at working together to make decisions for your changing family structure, the better for your bank account and for your chances of emerging from the divorce with a decent relationship with your ex.

Summary Divorce

In many states, an expedited divorce procedure is available to couples who haven’t been married for very long (usually five years or less), don’t own much property, don’t have children, and don’t have significant joint debts. Both spouses need to agree to the divorce, and you must file court papers jointly. A summary (sometimes called simplified) divorce involves a lot less paperwork than other types of divorce—a few forms are often all it takes. You can probably get the forms you need from the local family court. For this reason, summary divorces are easy to do yourself, without the help of a lawyer.

Uncontested Divorce

The best choice, if you can make it happen, is an uncontested divorce. That’s one in which you and your spouse work together to agree on the terms of your divorce, and file court papers cooperatively to make the divorce happen. There will be no formal trial, and you probably won’t have to ever appear in court.

Default Divorce

The court will grant a divorce by “default” if you file for divorce and your spouse doesn’t respond. The divorce is granted even though your spouse doesn’t participate in the court proceedings at all. A default divorce might happen, for example, if your spouse has left for parts unknown and can’t be found.

Fault and No-Fault Divorce

In the old days, someone who wanted a divorce had to show that the other spouse was at fault for causing the marriage to break down. Now, every state offers the option of “no-fault” divorce. In a no-fault divorce, instead of proving that one spouse is to blame, you merely tell the court that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences” or have suffered an “irremediable breakdown” of your relationship.

Mediated Divorce

In divorce mediation, a neutral third party, called a mediator, sits down with you and your spouse to try to help you resolve all of the issues in your divorce. The mediator doesn’t make any decisions; that’s up to you and your spouse. Instead, the mediator helps you communicate with each other until you can come to an agreement.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce involves working with lawyers, but in a different way from the usual expectation. You and your spouse each hire lawyers who are trained to work cooperatively and who agree to try to settle your case. Each of you has a lawyer who is on your side, but much of the work is done in cooperation. Each of you agrees to disclose all the information that’s necessary for fair negotiations, and to meet with each other and both lawyers to discuss settlement. You all agree that if your divorce doesn’t settle through the collaborative process, your original attorneys will withdraw and you’ll hire different attorneys to take your case to trial.

Arbitration

In arbitration, you and your spouse agree that you’ll hire a private judge, called an arbitrator, to make the same decisions that a judge could make, and that you will honor the arbitrator’s decisions as if a judge had made them.

Contested Divorce

If you and your spouse argue so much over property or child custody that you can’t come to an agreement, and instead take these issues to the judge to decide, you have what’s called a contested divorce. You’ll go through a process of exchanging information, settlement negotiations, hearings, and, if you can’t resolve the case after all that, a court trial.

Divorce for Same-Sex Couples

All States now allow same-sex couples to marry—not just Utah, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont—but they’re not the only states that allow same-sex couples to divorce. In the past if you lived in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State, same-sex couples had to be registered as domestic partners or entered into civil unions must use the same forms and procedures as married couples to end their legal relationship.  Unless the United States Supreme Court overrules themselves, this is the law of the land.

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

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Utah Uncontested Divorce Process

Utah Uncontested Divorce Process

Even though an uncontested divorce in Utah is quicker than a contested divorce, it is still a long and sometimes complicated process with a lot of paperwork. Luckily, all of the necessary  forms  with step by step  instructions  are available online from the Utah State courts. If you and your spouse agree on everything, it’s still a good idea to have a divorce lawyer review the paperwork to make sure it is done correctly. If not, mistakes can happen, and it can be more expensive to fix it later.

Complete the necessary divorce paperwork

You will need to complete the all the right papers to obtain an uncontested divorce in Utah. The first step in obtaining your uncontested divorce in Utah is to prepare the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint and make two copies. Then, bring it to the County Clerk’s Office where you have to purchase an “index number,” which is just a file number assigned to your divorce, and place it on the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint before filing it with the Clerk.

Serve your spouse

Next, your spouse has to sign the Affidavit of Defendant. You can give this form to your spouse with the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint and the Notice of Automatic Orders. You should also provide your spouse with a copy of the instructions on how to fill out the Affidavit of Defendant. Your spouse has to send the completed form back to you before your case can get placed on the court calendar. Once your spouse completes and returns the form to you, you can place your case on the court’s calendar immediately.

If your spouse doesn’t return the Affidavit of Defendant back to you, you will have to serve your spouse, meaning someone other than you must hand your spouse the papers. If you and your spouse have children under age 21 together, you also have to serve a copy of the Child Support Standards Chart. Whoever serves your spouse has to fill out an Affidavit of Service. If you had to serve your spouse, then you have to wait 40 days from the date your spouse was served to place your case on the court’s calendar.

Obtain a court date

“Placing your case on the court’s calendar” just means that you get a court date. However, in order to get this date, you have to complete the following steps.

You must complete the Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage (sometimes called the vital statistics form) and the Divorce and Child Support Summary Form, if applicable. Then, you take all of these completed forms, along with a copy of the Summons With Notice or the Summons and Verified Complaint, and file everything at the County Clerk’s Office and pay your filing fee.

All of the papers will be submitted to the judge. The judge will review them and, if approved, the judge will sign the Judgment of Divorce. After the judge signs the Judgment of Divorce, you have to file and enter it in the District Court Clerk’s Office. This process differs depending on the county in which you file, so ask the District Court Clerk in your county for specific instructions. You also have to serve a copy of the signed and entered Judgment of Divorce on your now ex-spouse along with a completed Notice of Entry (this is also called a Request to Submit for Decision).

Two Types of Divorce in Utah

There are generally two types of divorce available in most states: contested and uncontested. A “contested divorce” means that the spouses don’t agree on some or all aspects of the divorce so that a judge must hold a trial, hear witness testimony, and make decisions about who “wins” and who “loses.” In contrast, in an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all of the issues required to end their marriage, so there’s no need for the judge to hold a trial.

This article discusses uncontested divorce in Utah. If you have further questions regarding whether or how to obtain an uncontested divorce in Utah, you should consult with a Utah divorce lawyer.

Overview of an Uncontested Divorce in Utah

In Utah, an uncontested divorce is a divorce where you and your spouse agree to divorce and have settled all of the necessary issues to obtain a divorce, like division of property and child custody. In Utah, you and your spouse also have to agree on the “grounds,” or reason, for your divorce.

Before the law changed, Utah only had “fault-based” grounds for divorce, like adultery or cruelty. In 2010, the law was changed to allow for the “no-fault” ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months before filing for divorce. “Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” means that you and your spouse no longer want to be married and it’s not likely that you and your spouse will get back together.

Irretrievable breakdown is the most common ground agreed upon to obtain an uncontested divorce in Utah. In Utah, a divorce is also considered uncontested when you file for divorce and your spouse fails to appear in the divorce proceeding.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

The benefits to uncontested divorce in Utah are many. Because you and your spouse have already agreed on everything, there is no need for a trial. Since there’s no trial, there’s no need to “air your dirty laundry” in public, the process is much quicker and doesn’t cost nearly as much as a contested divorce.

You also don’t necessarily need a lawyer to get an uncontested divorce in Utah. However, lawyers can assist spouses in coming to agreement on the issues, making sure paperwork is completed correctly, and filing the paperwork in a timely manner.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Utah

In Utah, you can file for an uncontested divorce when you and your spouse agree about the following:

  • to divorce
  • the grounds of divorce
  • how to divide marital property and debt
  • who gets custody of the children and parenting time for the other parent
  • how much child support will be paid, and
  • whether spousal support will be paid and by whom.

To able to file for divorce in Utah, you also have to satisfy the “residency requirements” of the law. This means that either:

  • you or your spouse has been living in Utah for at least two continuous years immediately before filing for divorce, or
  • you or your spouse has been living in Utah for at least one continuous year immediately before filing for divorce and
    • you got married in Utah, or
    • you lived in Utah as a married couple, or
    • the grounds for your divorce happened in Utah.

 

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

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Utah Divorce

If you are getting divorced in Utah, make sure you have a good divorce lawyer on your side. Do you know what property you get to keep and what you have to split with your spouse? You may also have questions about who will be responsible for the marital debt.

Utah Divorce

Equitable Division of Property in Utah Divorce

Utah is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital property will be divided between spouses in a way that is equitable, or fair. The court decides what’s fair based on a set of factors that show what each of you contributed to the marriage and what each spouse will need to move forward after divorce. The division does not have to be equal to be considered fair.

The court will be involved in the division only if you could not work together with your spouse to resolve your property disputes. Throughout the divorce process, you will have opportunities to decide with your spouse how you want to split your property between yourselves. The court will usually accept a written separation agreement on how you want to divide your property. It is only if you cannot reach a compromise with your spouse that the court will step in and divide your property for you.

Marital Property Will be Divided

Before the court can divide your property, it needs to know which property belongs to the marriage, which belongs to each spouse separately, and how much there is of each. Generally, marital property is all property acquired or earned during the marriage, regardless of what the title says. Separate property is property you owned before marriage. It also includes some property you receive during marriage, like a gift, an inheritance, or personal injury award to you alone. If you exchange your separate property for new property during marriage, then that new property remains yours alone. There are circumstances, however, when an increase in the value of your separate property will be characterized as marital property.

For example, if you owned a vacation home before marriage that your spouse updated and remodeled during marriage, then the increase in that house’s value is marital property because it comes from your spouse’s efforts. On the other hand, if you bought an apartment in an up-and-coming neighborhood before marriage and it improves in value during the marriage simply because the rest of the homes in the area do the same, then that increase in value remains your separate property.

At divorce, the court divides only the marital property. It can’t award any property that was yours alone before or during marriage to your spouse. It can, however, consider all your financial resources – both your share of the marital property and your separate property – when deciding how much spousal maintenance (alimony) to award, if any.

Factors Considered in Dividing Marital Property

The types of property commonly divided at divorce are real property like the family home, personal property like jewelry, and intangible property like income, benefits, and debts. The court treats debts the same as any other real, personal, or intangible property. Before dividing an asset or debt, the court will have to characterize it as either marital or separate and then assign ownership or responsibility for it based on a set of factors designed to give an equitable result.

These factors include the length of the marriage; each spouse’s age, health, income, potential earnings or future financial circumstances; and property. The court also looks at how each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property and, for these purposes, the court treats a spouse’s efforts as a homemaker the same as monetary contributions. For the family home, if you have custody of your children, then you have a better chance of keeping that property, or at least the right to live there while you raise the children.

In addition to any other factor that might be relevant to the particular circumstances of your marriage, the court specifically considers what the spouses may have lost at divorce, such as an interest in an inheritance, pension rights, or health insurance. It also evaluates future losses the spouses face in terms of taxes.

Some assets aren’t easy to divide between two people. Something like cash, which is very liquid, can easily be split between the spouses. But an interest in a business isn’t as easy to divide. The court has the option to order a distributive award – a payment to balance out an uneven distribution of property – if it is impractical to divide a substantial asset.

Although fault in causing the marriage to fail is not part of the calculation, the court can award less of the marital property to you if you wasted marital assets. You can’t spend marital funds flying your lover to Paris, for example, without having to pay for it later. Likewise, you can’t sell, transfer, or otherwise encumber property in anticipation of your divorce. If you do, the court can penalize you for it during the division.

Spousal Maintenance Determination in Utah Divorce

Spousal maintenance is a payment from one spouse to the other to help sustain the recipient spouse after divorce. Similar to the division of property, the court’s order for spousal maintenance must be equitable. Payments can be periodic (monthly, for example) or in a lump sum, and for a set or indefinite period of time. A spouse can request temporary maintenance payments during the divorce process, the amount of which will be based on specific income guidelines.

When the court orders the divorce and the property has been divided, the court can also make a permanent maintenance award. In Utah, an award for spousal maintenance is based on many of the same factors as the division of property. Some other factors include the spouses’ level of education and earning capacity, the marital standard of living, and the needs of any children. The court also considers domestic violence during the marriage, which may have kept the battered spouse from seeking or improving employment. The court is also free to look at any factor relevant to the award of maintenance, such as a spouse’s ability to pay.

Divorce in Utah is sometimes also referred to as a Dissolution of Marriage and is conducted as a civil action, with one party, the Petitioner, filing a Petition for divorce, and the other party being named as a Respondent. To file for divorce in Utah, either spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state and must have lived in the county of filing for the three months immediately preceding commencement of the action. The Petition may be filed in the district court of the county where either spouse resides. If the Petitioner is a member of the armed forces of the U.S. who are not legal residents of this state, he/she may file for divorce if he has been stationed in the state for the three months immediately preceding the commencement of the action. No hearing for decree of divorce may generally be held until 90 days have elapsed from the filing of the complaint, provided the court may make interim orders that are just and equitable. The 90-day period shall not apply, however, in any case where both parties have completed the mandatory education course for divorcing parents. Although there are no statutory provisions for the restoration of a spouse’s name when divorcing, either spouse may request that his/her former name be restored on the Petition or the judge will honor the request.

Legal Grounds for Divorce

The court may decree dissolution of marriage for any of the following grounds:
• Impotency of the Respondent at the time of the marriage;
• Adultery committed by the Respondent after entering into the marriage;
• Willful desertion of the Petitioner by the Respondent for more than one year;
• Willful neglect of the Respondent to provide for the Petitioner the common necessities of life;
• Habitual drunkenness of the Respondent;
• Conviction of the Respondent for a felony;
• Cruel treatment of the Petitioner by the Respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the Petitioner;
• Irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
• Incurable insanity; or
• The spouses have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.

Should I Get An Annulment Instead Of A Divorce?

Maybe. The following are prohibited and void marriages and they may be annulled for these causes:
• Marriages between parents and children;
• Marriages between ancestors and descendants of every degree;
• Marriages between brothers and sisters (half or whole);
• Marriages between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews;
• Marriages between first cousins (unless both parties are 65 years of age or older, or if both parties are 55 years of age or older, upon a finding by the court that either party is unable to reproduce);
• Marriages between any persons related to each other within and not including fifth degree of consanguinity;
• When there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced;
• Either party is at least 16, but under 18 years of age and has not obtained parental consent;
• Either party is under 16 years of age at the time the parties attempt to enter into the marriage, unless the party is 15 years of age and has obtained judicial consent;
• Marriage between persons of the same sex; and
• Re-marriage to a different spouse before the divorce decree becomes absolute, or in the case of an appeal, before the affirmance of the decree.
When there is doubt regarding the validity of a marriage, either party may demand its avoidance or affirmance in a court where either party is domiciled. However, when one of the parties was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage, the other party of proper age may not have cause against the party under age. The court shall either declare the marriage valid or annulled. A marriage may also be annulled for any of the annulment grounds existing at common law.

Property Division In A Utah Divorce

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the distribution of property. Utah is an equitable distribution state. Therefore, marital property shall be distributed fairly and equitably. The court shall include the following in every decree of divorce:

• An order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage;
• An order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obliges, regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate current addresses;
• Provisions for the enforcement of these orders; and
• Provisions for income withholding.
When a marriage of long duration dissolves on the threshold of a major change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change shall be considered in dividing the marital property. If one spouse’s earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in dividing the marital property.

How Much Will I Have To Pay In Alimony And Support Payments?

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the payment of alimony.
When determining alimony, the court shall consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
• The financial condition and needs of the requesting spouse;
• The requesting spouse’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
• The ability of the paying spouse to provide support;
• The length of the marriage
• Whether the requesting spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
• Whether the requesting spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse; and
• Whether the requesting spouse directly contributed to any increase in the paying spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the paying spouse or allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage.
The court may consider the fault of the parties when making its determination regarding alimony. When a marriage of long duration dissolves on the threshold of a major change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change shall be considered in determining the amount of alimony. If one spouse’s earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in awarding alimony. In determining alimony when a marriage of short duration dissolves, and no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider restoring each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage. Alimony may not be ordered for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless, at any time prior to termination of alimony, the court finds extenuating circumstances that justify the payment of alimony for a longer period of time. Unless otherwise stated in the divorce decree, any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse automatically ends upon the remarriage or death of that former spouse, unless the remarriage is annulled and found to be void. In that case, alimony shall resume, provided that the paying spouse was made a party to the action of annulment and his/her rights have been determined. Any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse terminates upon establishment by the paying party that the former spouse is cohabitating with another person.

Child Custody and Support

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of minor children. The court shall consider joint custody in every case, but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. If the court finds that one parent does not desire custody of the child, it shall take that evidence into consideration in determining whether to award custody to the other parent. In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by ordering joint legal or physical custody, the court shall consider the following factors:
• Whether the physical, psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal or physical custody;
• The ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent;
• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
• The geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;
• The preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody;
• The maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;
• The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;
• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping; and any other factors the court finds relevant.
When determining any form of custody, in addition to the aforementioned criteria, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, the following factors, and any others the court finds relevant:
• The past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
• Which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent; and
• The extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child.
The court may inquire of the children and take into consideration the children’s desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules but the expressed desires are not controlling and the court may determine the children’s custody or parent-time otherwise. The desires of a child 16 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor.

Legal Separation and Separate Maintenance

A Petitioner may file an action for a temporary separation order without filing a Petition for Divorce, by filing a Petition for Temporary Separation and a Motion for Temporary Orders if the spouses are lawfully married and both have been residents of the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing. The temporary orders are valid for one year from the date of the hearing, or until either a Petition for Divorce is filed and consolidated with the temporary separation Petition, or the case is dismissed.

Separate Maintenance

In a legal separation, the parties live separately, but remain spouses legally married to one another. The couple’s rights and duties to one another are set forth in a Decree of Legal Separation, which covers such matters as custody and child support, spousal support, division of property and payment of debts. In Utah, this is referred to as separate maintenance.
The grounds for legal separation are as follows:
• A party who has sufficient ability to provide support, neglects or refuses to properly provide for and suitably maintain his/her spouse;
• A party deserts his/her spouse without good and sufficient cause;
• A party who has property in the state and his/her spouse is a resident of the state, deserts or neglects or refuses to provide support; or
• A party, without fault, lives separate and apart from his/her spouse.
If a married resident of Utah files a Complaint for Separate Maintenance, the district court may allot, assign, set apart and decree as alimony the use of the real and personal estate or earnings of a deserting spouse as the court may determine appropriate. Practice and proceeding for actions for separate maintenance shall be the same as near as may be as in actions for divorce; but the action may be brought in any county where the wife or husband may be found.
In all actions for separate maintenance, the court may order the following by order or decree:
• Provide for the care, custody, and maintenance of the minor children of the parties and determine with which of the parties the children or any of them shall remain;
• Provide for support of either spouse and the support of the minor children living with that spouse;
• Provide how and when support payments shall be made, and provide that either spouse have a lien upon the property of the other to secure payment of the support or maintenance obligations;
• Award to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse, or acquired by the spouses during marriage;
• Specify which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities contracted or incurred by the parties during the marriage;
• Require the parties to notify respective creditors or obliges regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, and liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate, current addresses; and
• Provide for the enforcement of these orders.

Equitable Distribution and Marital Property

There are two ways states divide marital property: equitable distribution and fifty-fifty division of the property. Utah is an equitable distribution or marital property state, which is the majority marital property legal system. However, large numbers of people, especially in the Western U.S., live in community property states – like California and Washington – but Utah is different. This means marital property in Utah isn’t automatically assumed to be owned by both spouses and therefore should be divided equally in a divorce. In Utah, marital property is divided “equitably” or fairly, which may not be an even 50-50 but sometimes it is. Usually for longer marriages, it is about 50% to each party. For short-term marriages, the court generally puts people back to their position before the marriage, such as giving people what they had before the marriage and typically what they made during the marriage. Parties can agree on how they want to divide the property outside of court, but a judge will review it to ensure it’s fair.

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.

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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