What Do I Do If I Suspect Or Have Proof Of My Ex Putting My Child At Risk

Violations of Child Custody and Visitation

If you truly fear for your children’s safety, you must speak up about your concerns. But know upfront that there could be repercussions. Let’s take a closer look.

Legitimate Concerns About Safety

If you fear that your ex is a danger to you or your children, the court will treat the issue as a legitimate and serious concern. In general, judges are careful to thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse, threats of violence, and any form of domestic violence before making a child custody determination. This also means that before granting custody or visitation rights to your ex, the judge will likely investigate the allegations to make sure you are not making them up. Family protective services may also become involved to help the investigation. The court and/or child protective services may contact your neighbors, extended family members, and even your children’s teachers in an attempt to verify your story.

During the investigation, the judge may allow the accused parent to spend time with your children. In some cases, visits may be supervised or take place in a neutral setting to ensure the children’s safety.

What To Do If Your Child Is In An Unsafe Home

Divorce has turned into a part of life for many people and seems to be a developing pattern. As a divorced dad, it is your duty to ensure that your children are provided with stability and a safe home. Most would like to believe that their children will be completely safe with the other parent after a separation, but unfortunately that is not always the case. If your previous relationship was bad or if someone else has come into the life of your child, it’s common to be worried about your child’s safety and living conditions. So how are you to handle a situation where you do not think that your children are in a safe environment?

Understanding What Is A Truly Unsafe Environment

After a divorce, tensions run high and are only aggravated when it comes to child custody issues. Sometimes heightened stress and emotions can make a person think there are safety issues everywhere when it comes to their ex having their child. Households that are disorderly or allow the children to engage in activities involving sports in which they could get injured will not qualify as being an unsafe environment.

An unsafe environment that poses threats for your children and are instances where a court will step-in include:
• Physical abuse to intentionally harm the child’s body or mind

• Neglecting the child by failing to give them what he/she needs

• Failure to supply enough food or appropriate medical care

• Failure to keep firearms out of reach

• Use of illegal drugs by members of the child’s household

• Domestic violence to the child or another household member

• Sexual contact with child

Actions to Take

Sometimes men feel that they can provide their own safety and security without legal assistance, but doing this can end up intensifying the situation. If you feel that your child is being exposed to these situations, requesting an emergency motion to suspend time-sharing is opportune. This means you need to file a petition with the clerk of court and request an emergency hearing. Not until your motion is heard can you deny time-sharing with the other parent. If the violence is being solely directed towards your child, then you may call for a petition for an injunction prohibiting the other parent from seeing the child temporarily until the conditions improve.

Protection Order

A protection order can be placed and will provide a restraining order against any parties that could harm your child. What this does is issue a court order that restricts the wrongful conduct and actions of a person who has allegedly been violent or made threats of violence against another person. Unless your child is over the age 18, you would be the petitioner filing a protection order from violent threats from the respondent. When the court grants the petition and issues a protective order, it will place certain restrictions on the respondent. These restrictions include:
• Respondent cannot have any form of contact with the petitioner.

• Respondent can be ordered to leave the house or apartment that you share, even if it is under the respondent’s name.

• Respondent can be ordered to pay for the costs that resulted from the abuse (i.e. medical expenses, moving expenses).

• Respondent has to stay a certain distance from petitioner’s home and other places where petitioner frequents.
If the restrictions are violated, the petitioner can call the police and press criminal charges. Choosing to go this route requires you to present specific evidence of harm that has occurred in the past or of the threats that have been made for future harm. To guarantee ultimate protection for your child, you may need an order of protection.

Accused of Making False Accusations

You can take several steps to support your case if your ex accuses you of making false allegations. If your ex has physically or emotionally abused you or your child in the past, you should make sure you have documentation detailing the events.

This may include police reports, medical records, or testimony from people that know you and can speak about the abuse. If your child visited a doctor or therapist to treat symptoms of the abuse, obtain records of these visits to show to the judge.

If your child continues to exhibit symptoms of abuse or trauma, you should take your child to a therapist or mental health professional to undergo an evaluation. The therapist will review your child’s case and can present an expert opinion to support your claim.

In disputed cases before a judge, the judge may order another therapist to evaluate your child to get a second opinion. Unfortunately, this means your child may be subjected to multiple evaluations and interviews to verify the abuse or harm.

Call Child Protective Services

Each county and jurisdiction has an agency in place to intervene in cases when there is suspected child abuse or neglect. Once a call is made to the office of Child Protective Services (CPS), the matter is assigned to a case worker whose job it is to investigate the claim of abuse or neglect. If there is a finding of abuse or neglect, the case worker, on behalf of the government, can initiate a court case. The CPS case worker may contact extended family members, neighbors, and teachers in order to find enough evidence to determine whether a case should be opened. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, CPS could restrict or suspend your ex’s access to your child. One downside of this process, however, is that it often takes weeks or months to complete the investigation, and there is no guarantee that the findings will be favorable to you and your child.

Motion For Emergency Relief

Whether you have an existing custody order or parenting agreement, or whether there has never been anything formally decided, a third way to get protections is by filing a motion for emergency relief. You can also file for emergency relief if there is an imminent risk of substantial and immediate harm to your minor child. If you have evidence of abuse, then you are able to quickly get before a judge who can grant relief. It is best to hire a qualified attorney who will prepare the appropriate pleadings, raise the relevant issues, and present the facts in a way that will be most convincing to the judge. This process could be longer than the first two processes discussed, but the relief will be longer lasting than a protection order.

Is Your Ex Turning Your Child Against You?

When one parent purposefully poisons their child against the other parent, the term used is parental alienation or malicious parent syndrome. The parent may attempt to convince their child:
• They aren’t safe when they are with their other parent;

• The other parent is tired of them;

• The other parent will have harsh restrictions on their activities;

• The other parent replaced them with a new child or new family;

• Their other parent doesn’t loves them.

Parental alienation can be something small, like telling a child to call to check in with one parent during visitation with the other parent. The message being sent to the child is that the one parent cannot be trusted to take care of them. But parental alienation can be on a larger scale, where one parent is specifically telling the child that the other parent no longer loves them.

While the most typical cases of parental alienation are by biological parents, stepparents can also cause alienation of the other parent. When trying to build a relationship with the child, a stepparent could alienate the parent intentionally or unintentionally. Is does not matter if the alienation was intentional or unintentional, it could have a serious negative impact on your custody case. Parental alienation by a parent or stepparent will always have a negative impact on your child.

Psychology

The term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was coined by psychiatrist Richard Gardner in 1985. His belief was that parents were purposefully sabotaging their child’s relationship with their other parent and as a result, the child exhibited behaviors that could be observed. According to Gardner, PAS was almost exclusively seen in situations where parents were in the process of divorcing and fighting over custody of the child. He believed that one parent would brainwash the child against their other parent, eventually leading the child to also vilify the parent.

Garner developed his theory based on children he was seeing in his private practice where he was concerned about the number of cases he had with allegations of child sexual abuse that were untrue. Garner believed that mothers were most likely to be brainwashing their child when they are the custodial parent. He also believed that the mothers were convincing their children that their fathers had sexually abused them.

Over the years, Gardner published numerous books and articles about this theory regarding PAS, custody fights, and the ramifications on the children. Gardner has been called to testify as an expert in more than 400 child custody cases, has developed coping strategies for PAS, and even created a board game for children whose parents are going through a divorce. Despite all this, Gardner’s theory has been highly criticized.

The Legal Consequences Of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation, despite not being a legitimate disorder, is a factor in custody fights. Evidence can be presented in court about parental alienation to explain a child’s behaviors, their testimony, and to paint the parent alienating the child in a negative light.

When making a determination about custody, the judge looks at the best interest of the child. When evidence is presented in court showing that one parent is alienating the child from their other parent, the judge would typically rule that it is not in the best interest of the child to remain in the care of a parent who is manipulating them.
What do you have to show the court? Witnesses that would be able to testify to the changes in your child’s relationship and attitudes toward you, a therapist that agrees your child has been alienated from you, or any other pieces of evidence that might show parental alienation. In one case, a parent had listed their new spouse as the parent on school paperwork. The judge in that case felt that the paperwork was compelling enough to make a determination that parental alienation was happening.

Malicious Parent Syndrome

This is when one parent seeks to punish the other parent by talking poorly about them and/or doing things to place the parent in a bad light, particularly in the eyes of their children. Another common term for this behavior is “parental alienation syndrome.”

Malicious Parent Syndrome in Divorce Cases

It’s common knowledge how difficult and stressful the divorce process can be for all parties. It can especially be so for parents who are worried about how the experience will affect their relationship with their children. Many individuals going through a divorce show negative or destructive emotions against their spouses such as resentment, anger, rage, antagonism, and a desire to “get even” for the wrongs they feel they have endured.

These emotions can lead to destructive behavior involving the use of their children in a legal war against their spouse regarding custody and divorce. When this behavior extends to actions designed to harm the other spouse’s relationship with the children or to harm their standing in the community, it is referred to a “malicious parent syndrome.”

Malicious Parent Syndrome Behavior

Malicious parent syndrome is not a mental disorder that is recognized as an actual psychiatric condition by professionals. Instead, it is a label that came about from a psychologist who wished to describe a certain destructive pattern of behavior on the part of one parent towards the other during divorce proceedings. The behavior involved the parent behaving in a purposeful way that was vengeful toward the other parent, often extending to even breaking the law to further the goal of destroying the parent-child relationship and/or punishing of the other parent.

The types of behavior that a malicious parent may engage in can include:
• Denying regular or uninterrupted visitation on the part of the other parent

• Denying phone access between the child and the other parent

• Denying the other parent access or participation in the child’s school or extra-curricular events

• Lying to the child about the other parent which involve accusations designed to sway the child against the other parent

• Lying to other people about the other parent to denigrate his or her reputation or perception by them

• Actually violating the law, such as refusing to obey a custody court order

• Engaging in endless litigation to punish the other parent

• In the most extreme cases, causing some kind of actual harm or deprivation to a child for which the other parent will be blamed

• In other extreme cases, engaging in actions to damage the other parent’s property or causing him or her some type of physical harm

These types of behaviors are an obvious violation against the child’s best interests, which is generally viewed by the courts and professionals as a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents for optimum child development. Damaging a child’s relationship with a parent can cause obvious psychological harm to a child that can have long-lasting effects, even into adulthood.

Finding Legal Assistance

If you are feeling like your child’s well-being is threatened or abused in any way, finding the legal support you need to protect your loved ones is essential. There are many instances in which a child would be better cared for under guardianship of a father that can provide a safe and stable home environment as opposed to a mother who is not fulfilling her parental duties. It is your right as a father to spend time with your children and make sure they are protected.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

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What Rights to Custody Do Step Parents Have?

What Rights to Custody Do Step Parents Have

Although it is possible for stepparents to request custody or visitation of a children who are not biologically theirs, it can be a challenging process. As a family lawyer, I’ve seen some things that may help. There are some ways in which the law treats stepparents similarly to natural parents, as a step parent has likely played a significant role in the child’s life. In other situations, however, the natural parent’s rights will take precedent.

One of the major issues in a stepparent achieving custody or visitation rights is the idea of “standing,” or that parent’s right to even have his or her case heard in court. In a situation involving stepparents, there are several factors that come into play:

  • How involved that stepparent has been in the child’s life
  • How long the stepparent participated as an actual parent in the child’s life in place of a natural parent
  • The existence and strength of the relationship between a stepparent and child
  • How much financial support the step parent provides to the child
  • Whether there could be a detriment to the child if the stepparent is denied custody or visitation

Stepparents are, in general, more likely to receive visitation than actual custody. Approximately half of the states in the nation have laws that authorize stepparent visitation, with additional states having processes in place to allow them to petition for it. Utah allows for stepparents to petition for these rights.

The lack of a blood relationship, however, is a significant barrier to overcome when seeking custody rights. Natural parents must be clearly unfit for custody if a court is to place the children in another home.

Can a Veteran’s Spouse Claim VA Benefits During Divorce?

Although wives and husbands of military personnel typically lose benefits when they dissolve their marriage to a service member, federal law does provide certain protections for former military spouses. Depending on the length of your marriage to a service member, you may retain these rights:

  • Access to the commissary and post exchange — If you were married for at least 20 years to a service member with at least 20 years of service credited toward retirement, you are entitled to use the commissary and PX. You may retain these privileges until you remarry.
  • Retirement pay — For an ex-spouse to qualify for a share in a service member’s retirement pay, the couple must have been married for at least 10 years and for at least 10 years of the member’s service time. State equitable distribution laws decide how much of the retirement pay the ex-spouse receives. Retirement pay continues until the service member dies.
  • Healthcare — Ex-spouses of retired or active-duty service members may continue their health insurance coverage under the Department of Defense’s TRICARE system as long as they don’t remarry or enroll in an employer’s group healthcare plan. However, the spouse’s sponsor (the ex-spouse service member) must have at least 20 years of service and the couple must have been married for at least 20 years of the credited service.
  • Survivor benefit — The service member may elect, within two years of the divorce, to leave a survivor benefit to an ex-spouse. This is a monthly payment that begins upon the death of the service member, and it can relieve financial hardships that come with the termination of retirement pay.

Free Initial Consultation with a Lawyer in Utah

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Divorce and Credit Cards

In some cases, a divorce court may include stipulations stating that one spouse is responsible for paying debt on credit cards that were taken out in their former spouse’s name. Of course, the concern then becomes that the ex-spouse will take advantage of this arrangement and rack up massive bills in the hopes that you will not notice and will be responsible for these new payments, even if you are only legally responsible for paying off existing marital debt.

Divorce and Credit Cards

This can be a difficult issue to navigate, depending on how receptive and helpful the credit card company is. You might, for example, request to have all bills sent directly to you so you can see how much you owe and what is being charged (and when). However, credit card companies do have privacy rules you will need to navigate, and if the cards were taken out in your spouse’s name, it can be hard to get that information. You might also find it hard to close out accounts that aren’t in your name, especially if your former partner is being uncooperative.

What should you do about credit card debt?

Of course, it’s still important that you take the necessary steps to ensure you aren’t paying for anything more than the debts for which you are legally responsible through your divorce decree. The credit card companies don’t care where the money is coming from — they just want to be paid. So your best option is to go back through the court system.

Visit the judge who handed down your divorce decree. Ask the judge to order your former partner to deliver all copies of credit card statements to you immediately. This will provide you with accurate information about charges that were incurred during the course of the marriage and could also pave the way for you to be repaid if you paid anything more than what was necessary.

My Spouse is Disobeying Direct Court Orders — Now What?

Most of the time, you can trust that if a court hands down direct orders to your spouse on a divorce-related issue, that spouse will comply. However, there are plenty of circumstances in which divorcing spouses will either violate court orders or fail to obey them entirely. What do you do if this becomes an issue in your case?

If you let your spouse get away with violating a court order once, there’s nothing stopping them from trying to do it again and again. Therefore, if your spouse violates an order, it’s important to address it immediately. Contact your attorney as soon as you can and have him or her send a letter to your spouse (or your spouse’s attorney) to resolve the issue right away.

Additional steps may be necessary

If the letter route doesn’t work, you are going to have to go to the court to have the order enforced. Your attorney will file a document called a “motion to enforce a court order,” which serves as a written request for the court to intervene in the case. At this point, the judge could proceed in any of several ways:

  • Demanding your spouse follow the order immediately
  • Requiring your spouse to completely fulfill their obligations on overdue payments
  • Holding your spouse in contempt of court for a failure to meet the obligations of the original court order, which could result in fines or jailing (depending on the circumstances)
  • Ordering your spouse to pay you back for any attorney’s fees and other costs you incurred due to bringing the motion

There are some situations in which urgent matters might require immediate court attention, but in most cases, this is how you can expect matters to proceed if you’re dealing with an uncooperative individual.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Probate Basics

Signing a Will

So long as you have followed all of the content rules your state requires regarding making wills legal, you have composed a valid last will and testament. The only thing left to do in making wills legal is the signing process. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your will is legally signed and validated.

Signing a Will

Have witnesses sign

As part of proper estate planning, make sure that you date and sign your own will in the presence of two witnesses who are over the age of 18. If you live in Vermont, you will need to do this in the presence of three witnesses. Most states require the witnesses to watch you sign your will together, before they sign. A few states allow the witnesses to sign the will later, so long as you tell them that it is your valid will and that it is your signature on it. It is best to do it all together, to avoid any potential challenges, later.

Most states require that the witnesses be people who are not named heirs in the will. Furthermore, if you had a lawyer draft your will, then you may not use that lawyer as a witness, either.

About half of the states allow what is called a “holographic” will. These are handwritten wills. As long as the testators of these wills handwrite them in their entirety, sign them and date them they make these holographic wills legal, even without witnesses. Holographic wills are the easiest wills to challenge, because there are no witnesses; so, it is best to try and avoid making a holographic will.

Have your witnesses sign a self-proving affidavit

There is no legal requirement of notary signing for your will. However, it is a good idea to have your witnesses sign what is called a “self-proving” affidavit. This is a statement that is sworn by your witnesses before a notary public. Having this affidavit relieves your witnesses from having to swear in probate court to the validity of your will.

Notify your executor or personal representative

There is no requirement to file your will with the court. You should tell your executor (the personal representative who will carry out your will for you) about the existence and location of your will. Most people like to keep their will in a safe deposit box.

Residence requirement

As long as you created a valid legal will according to the state in which you live, then the will is valid in any state where you die. When you move to a different state, review that state’s laws regarding how to make wills legal and marital property (if you’re married). Most likely, you will find that your will is still valid. However, if that state has different requirements, you should revise your will accordingly.

For example, Greg lived in Utah where she created a valid legal will. He then decided to move to Vermont. Greg checked with Vermont’s requirements on what makes wills legal, and discovered that she needed a third witness, when she only had two in Utah. Therefore, Greg revised his will and used three witnesses, rather than two. Does this make sense?

Get Professional Legal Help Before You Sign Your Will

A defective will may not be discovered until it is too late to fix. Once you are dead and gone you won’t be able to explain what you meant, or correct mistakes. Contact a local estate planning attorney, who can help ensure that your estate is distributed in an orderly fashion according to your wishes.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Fraudulent Transfers Before Bankruptcy

Fraudulent Transfers Before Bankruptcy

Perfectly honest consumer debtors sometimes make the mistake of transferring an asset to a friend or family member before filing bankruptcy.  This can happen innocently enough, as for example, where a debtor gives an old car of little value to an adult child months before he even considers filing bankruptcy.  Despite the fact that he had no actual intent to defraud any creditor, and despite the fact that if he had not transferred this old car of minimal value, he may well have been able to exempt it in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Code nevertheless treats such a transfer as “fraudulent.” Sadly, bankruptcy law is full of such “gotcha” pitfalls for debtors, particularly when it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the Bankruptcy Code is harsh and unforgiving when it comes to “fraudulent transfers” by debtors prior to bankruptcy.

11 U.S.C. Section 548

Fraudulent transfers are defined in 11 U.S.C. Section 548 as transfers by the debtor of an interest in property (either voluntarily or involuntarily) within two years before filing bankruptcy, where either the debtor actually did intend to defraud his creditors or, far more commonly, where the debtor did not receive “reasonably equivalent value” for the transferred asset and the debtor was either already insolvent or became insolvent as a result of the transfer.

Fraudulent Transfers Can Hurt Bankruptcy

Fraudulent transfers can have dire consequences in bankruptcy.  If the transfer involved actual fraud—meaning that the debtor transferred the asset with actual intent “to hinder, delay, or defraud” his creditors—and such transfer occurred within one year prior to filing bankruptcy, then under Bankruptcy Code section 727(a)(2)(A), the court may deny the debtor from obtaining a bankruptcy discharge at all!

Constructive Fraud

Far more common, however, are situations involving “constructive fraud” where, as described above, the debtor had no actual intent to harm anyone, she simply transferred an asset for less than “reasonably equivalent value” while she was either insolvent or became insolvent as a result.  As noted above, under section 548, if such a constructively fraudulent transfer was made within two years prior to filing bankruptcy, then the bankruptcy trustee can “avoid” the transfer.  This means that the trustee can sue the family member to whom that old car was given to get the car back. Obviously, this is a disastrous result for the adult child who received the car, and who is a completely innocent bystander in this scenario.

Getting Assets Back to Reverse Fraudulent Transfers Prior to Bankruptcy

In many cases, however, by carefully questioning our bankruptcy clients prior to filing, we can avoid these negative consequences by advising the client to try to get the transferred asset back prior to filing.  This is because if one is filing bankruptcy in Salt Lake City or anywhere within the Ninth Circuit, the bankruptcy court will allow debtors to reverse or undo a fraudulent transfer prior to filing bankruptcy.  Such a rule follows, what I think is a universally held common senses value that one should be allowed, if given the chance, to correct a mistake after receiving advice from an attorney.

That’s what the Ninth Circuit essentially said in the case In Re Adeeb, 787 F.2d 1339 (9th Cir.1986).  For a fraudulent transfer to exist in a bankruptcy case, the transferred asset must have remained transferred as of the bankruptcy filing date.  If the debtor recovered the asset, then it is no longer “transferred.”  No harm; no foul.

So, if you are thinking of filing bankruptcy in Utah or the Ninth Circuit, and you gave your daughter an old clunker last year as a gift, then you should have her sign title back over to you before filing bankruptcy!

Free Consultation with a Utah Bankruptcy Attorney

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Questions about Joint Custody

Because we deal alot with child custody, it seems that the position on many people has changed over the years. It used to be that only one parent got custody – sole custody – of the children. Now, it is seen as a matter of basic human rights and human nature, unless they are unfit then divorced and separated parents and their children deserve joint custody.

Questions about Joint Custody

“[A] parent’s right to the preservation of his relationship with his child derives from the fact that the parent’s achievement of a rich and rewarding life is likely to depend significantly on his ability to participate in the rearing of his offspring. A child’s corresponding right to protection from interference in the relationship derives from the psychic importance to him of being raised by a loving, responsive, reliable adult.” Franz v. U.S., 707 F.2d 582, 595-599; US Ct App (1983).

“It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944).

The idea that coming into court on the subject of child custody and considering that issue to be a blank slate is simply wrong, it’s backward. We must start with the idea that children are best off with both parents involved as much as possible in their lives. Divorce is not a question of divorcing children from parents. This is not a question of deciding “which” parent is the best. Both fit parents are the best parents for their children.

The idea that courts must presumptively award sole custody to one parent or the other is patently irrational, inequitable, and discriminatory.

Joint Custody Is Becoming the New Normal

Seeing one fit parent as less than the other is more offensive and more harmful than racism. There are no second-class citizens. We must certainly see and treat fit parents—and their children—the same way. The idea that children are presumptively better off in the custody of one parent primarily over the other simply makes no sense. There is no evidence to support such a presumption, no reasoning that supports such a presumption. Indeed, evidence, reason, and our very human nature are to the contrary.

Indisputably there are certainly unfit parents whose contact with and control over their children must be limited for the sake of protecting a child’s basic human rights.

But a parent who has never been shown to be unfit in the first place is under no obligation to prove that he or she is “fit” to exercise equal time. Parental fitness, like innocence, is (or rather should be) presumed before the state can meddle in matters of parental rights. Unless one is proven to be an unfit parent, no one has the right to infringe upon one’s parental rights and one’s children’s rights to be reared by their parents.

Consequently, fit parents are (or rather should be) presumed entitled to the joint custody of their children, not the other way around. It is self-evident. It is never (it can never be) in a child’s best interest to be deprived of every opportunity to have a strong, loving, salutary relationship with both of his parents.

What Are Your Rights?

Before one’s parental rights are infringed it must be proven that one is an unfit parent; otherwise, the state has no business even considering whether to infringe on parental rights and a child’s right to his parent’s care, companionship, and custody.

Consequently, the state has no power (or rather should have no power) to compel a parent to prove he or she is just as good a parent as the other without there first being, at least, some clear and convincing, affirmative evidence for questioning—and then infringing upon—one’s parental fitness.

Consequently, the idea that a fit parent would be awarded with the other parent anything less than equal custody of children is illegitimate.

The presumption should be equal, joint legal custody and equal joint physical custody unless circumstances—by at least clear and convincing evidence—compel a judge to conclude that the exercise of joint custody infringes a child’s inalienable human rights (not the well-meaning but wrongheaded “Children’s Bill of Rights” and its ilk that have—thankfully—no force of law). Absent a showing of exceptional circumstances, one who is worthy of joint custody is worthy of equal joint custody with the other parent. Anything less would be a violation of a parent’s and his or her children’s rights.

Parental rights are a fundamental human and constitutional right, and so if someone is a fit parent, those rights are entitled to their highest, freest exercise, i.e., joint physical custody on an equal time-sharing basis (just as would be joint legal custody, with neither parent having more or less authority than the other and no more nor fewer parental rights than the other).

Rule of law depends upon ensuring as much freedom as possible for everyone subject to it. There is no such thing as the “least permissible” or “least acceptable” amount of personal freedom.

That is why this whole idea that courts claim they must award physical custody to one parent or the other, or that someone must prove “worthy” of as much custody as possible is backward. We must start with the presumption that unless it can be shown that there is some legitimate state interest in ordering otherwise, both parents get as much time with the children as possible and children have as much time with the parents as possible. To think or act otherwise is to believe parental rights flow from the state, subject to the will and the whim of the state.

The purpose of courts meddling in the affairs of the family must be surgical, as little as necessary. To do more than necessary means to do harm. Doing as little as is absolutely necessary helps prevent human error, bias, and a lust for power over the governed from creeping into the administration of the law. It protects against one’s freedom being infringed. It protects one’s rights, including parental rights, especially parental rights, from being infringed.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Statue of Limitations

The statute of limitations was created in order to create fairness for both the plaintiff and the defendant. In this post, we outline just a few of them.  Keep in mind that these change from time to time so you’ll want to call us to discuss your specific situation rather than rely solely on this post as it is not legal advice. Every state has its own statute of limitations for filing civil actions against a person or a business. It doesn’t matter if it’s a health issue and you want to file against a doctor or a hospital for medical malpractice or have caused injury to another person, each situation has a set amount of time for the statute of limitations.

Utah Statue of Limitations

These types of laws are intended to ensure that not only the integrity of evidence or witness testimony is processed properly, but this also means a person or even a business cannot hold the lawsuit over someone else’s head, which could in turn be used for blackmail.

If you are unsure of the statute of limitations in Utah, there is a small list below, but in order to really be sure about your specific situation it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer. These are only 3 examples out of 25+ which is why it’s beneficial to do your own research, but also rely on a lawyer for answers and information as well.

Wrongful Death: Cases for the wrongful death of a family member must be carried forward within 2 years – usually this type of limitations happens when a surviving family member is seeking compensation for a loved one. Or because the person that passed away was the income maker of the household.

Medical Malpractice: 2 years after discovery, but not more than 4 years from the date of the act, neglect, mistreatment, or occurrence.

Slip and Fall: According to the Utah statute of limitations, when it comes to a slip and fall incident, you have approximately 4 years to make a claim if you were injured. On the other hand, if you had a slip and fall, but were not injured but had personal property damaged due to the dangerous property conditions, you have 3 years for the statute of limitations.

If you think you do have a case, it’s important to seek legal guidance now, rather than later before your time is up. Once your time is up and the statute of limitations has expired, unfortunately that’s it. Once the claim is dismissed in a court of law, that’s it, that’s the end of the claim and the lawsuit and you will not be able to bring it to court again.

If you think that you have a case and you would like to file your claim but you aren’t sure if the statute of limitations has passed yet or you aren’t sure about the statute of limitations in your state, it’s in your best interest to hire a civil litigation lawyer in Utah.

State laws are always being changed and revised by lawmakers of that specific state so if you knew about a specific statute of limitations from 10 years ago for a specific situation, chances are it might not even be a law anymore, which is why it’s beneficial on your end to hire someone who does know all the ins and outs of the law and the legal system for Utah.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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5 Tips to Help You Choose a Divorce Lawyer in Utah

Hаvе уоu mаdе thе hаrѕh decision оf divorcing уоur partner? If so, уоu may be looking fоr a good divorce lаwуеr in Utаh. They рrоvidе relevant legal ѕеrviсеѕ сhаrging reasonable fееѕ. Given bеlоw аrе an fеw tiрѕ that can hеlр you сhооѕе thе right divorce lаwуеr in Utah. If this is something interesting to you, please read on…

Tip #1 – Divоrсе Process

First оf аll, уоu nееd tо figure оut whеthеr уоu nееd to uѕе litigаtiоn, mеdiаtiоn, сontested divоrсе or uncontested divorce. Aсtuаllу, what you nееd to do iѕ сhооѕе one with a lоt of experience uѕing thе ѕаmе divоrсе рrосеѕѕ. Hiring аn inеxреriеnсеd divorce lаwуеr in Utаh is not a gооd idea, аѕ thеу may nоt bе еxреriеnсеd enough tо dеаl with thе рrосеѕѕ. You need to know what type of divorce case you are doing to have. If you and your spouse is going to fight tooth and nail, you ought not go it alone or with an “okay” lawyer. You need a great divorce lawyer.

Tip #2 – Lеgаl Sеrviсе

Anоthеr important thing iѕ to dесidе оn thе tуре оf lеgаl ѕеrviсе уоu nееd. Althоugh every сliеnt needs rеlеvаnt lеgаl advice, not еvеrуоnе iѕ in need оf a divоrсе lаwуеr whо charges $950 per hоur. On thе another hand, if уоu have уоur оwn соmраnу (or many companies), lоtѕ оf assets, rental properties, or a diffiсult financial ѕituаtiоn, a hugh custody battle, уоu should go fоr а more expensive divorce lаwуеr in Utаh. But if you hаvе nо kidѕ and nо rеаl estate, you mау wаnt to a gо fоr аn inexpensive divоrсе lawyer in Utah.

5 Tips to Help You Choose a Divorce Lawyer in Utah

Tip #3 – Budgеt

Yоu mау nоt bе willing tо рау big bucks to a divоrсе lаwуеr in Utah. Whаt уоu nееd tо dо iѕ асhiеvе a balance between the соѕt of ѕеrviсеѕ аnd the lеvеl of legal services. Moreover, уоu should be hоnеѕt with уоurѕеlf. Aѕidе frоm thiѕ, if уоu have a lot of рrореrtiеѕ in аdditiоn to a ѕix-figurе salary, wе ѕuggеѕt that уоu gо for a tор divorce lаwуеr in Utаh. In thiѕ саѕе, you саn ѕеt a big budget. If уоu can bаrеlу pay your domestic еxреnѕеѕ and уоu hаvе no savings, hiring a еxреnѕivе divоrсе lawyer iѕ nоt a good idea fоr you. The good thing about Ascent Law is that we can analyze your situation and help you determine how best to move forward. If you don’t need alot of legal help, we won’t do a lot of legal work. Tell us your budget and we’ll go from there.

Tip #4 – Ask Аrоund

Wоrd of mоuth hаѕ аlwауѕ been a grеаt wау to find whatever you nееd оr want. If оnе оf уоur loved оnеѕ hаѕ gоnе through a divorce lately, уоu ѕhоuld аѕk them fоr rесоmmеndаtiоnѕ. In thе ѕаmе wау, if уоu are in touch with a gооd nоn-divоrсе lawyer, you should get in tоuсh with thеm fоr a rеfеrrаl. Mоѕt attorneys stay in tоuсh with colleagues with differing ѕресiаlizаtiоnѕ. Sо, аѕking аrоund iѕ a grеаt idеа tо hirе a divоrсе lawyer. Keep in mind that just because someone was referred to you doesn’t mean they will be the right fit for you. It’s always a good idea to talk to the lawyer and get a feel of how they will handle your case so you are on the same page.

Tip #5 – Read Internet Reviews

You shouldn’t hirе a divorce lаwуеr just because they have аn amazing website. Nowadays, people use thе intеrnеt in оrdеr tо get required infоrmаtiоn аnd validate referrals. So, a wеll-mаintаinеd wеbѕitе iѕ a good ѕign. But if thе wеbѕitе has not bееn uрdаtеd ѕinсе аgеѕ, уоu dоn’t wаnt tо hire him/hеr. Thе best thing to do is read the testimonials or reviews of others. At Ascent Law, we have a testimonial page where we have received testimonials and reviews from our clients.

Utah Divorce Lawyer Conclusion

Sо, if you hаvе bееn lооking fоr a good divоrсе lаwуеr, wе ѕuggеѕt that уоu kеер thеѕе tiрѕ in mind. Kеер in mind thаt hiring a good one iѕ very important because, trust us, уоu wаnt tо go thrоugh thiѕ ѕtrеѕѕful рrосеѕѕ with as few hiccups as possible. If you have other questions or need legal help, please call Ascent Law today at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you with your divorce or family law case.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 876-5875

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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Family Law Attorney

This is a branch of the law that deal with domestic relations and family matters like marriage, adoption, child abuse, child abduction, property settlements, child support and visitation, and more. It is also referred to as matrimonial law. In many jurisdictions, family courts are the ones with the most-crowded court dockets. The attorney who handles these types of cases is called a family law attorney or lawyer. The main two issues that this lawyer would handle are legal separations and divorce. During these issues, the attorney would attempt to dive marital property, advocate the amount that should be paid for alimony and child support, settle child custody issues, and set visitation rights. In divorce and separation cases, each party will have their own family law attorney. If no settlement can be reached for any issues they could be taken into the court and they judge would usually issue the final order on the issues.

family law attorney

Adoption is another field that a family law attorney handles. The attorney will help the couple through the many steps that has to be taken in order to make the adoption legal. In every jurisdiction, the laws are different and may vary according to how old the child is. In some locations the birth parents will always retain some rights while in other jurisdictions, all of their legal parental rights have been given up completely.

Another duty that a family law attorney does is create documents to help prevent foreseeable future issues. One example is creating a prenuptial agreement that will set forth how the assets would be divided if the couple were to divorce. It could also be a post-nuptial agreement that not only how assets would be divided but also how child visitation, custody, and support should be arranged. They may also set up a trust fund in the name of children or a spouse if they have that level of expertise. In some situations, a family law attorney may have to handle criminal issues. The attorney could specialize in specific areas like domestic violence or juvenile law.

Some of the best family law attorneys are those that want to help others. At Ascent Law, the lawyers want to make a difference in the world. They want to fight for the rights of those who have suffered. These lawyers are passionate and aggressive. They care about their clients and they care about winning their client’s cases. Sometimes, it’s not about just winning, sometimes its about what is best for the kids. You’ve heard that saying before – the best interests of the child standard – that is what we do in child custody cases, adoption cases, and divorce cases with kids. In fact, we even do that in guardianship cases and conservatorship cases.

Time for a Family Law Attorney?

When you know that you need a lawyer for family law, give our office a call.at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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Family Law in Utah

family law in utah

Fаmilу lаw iѕ аn area оf thе lаw thаt dеаlѕ with fаmilу-rеlаtеd iѕѕuеѕ and dоmеѕtiс rеlаtiоnѕ inсluding, but nоt limitеd to: the nature оf mаrriаgе, сivil uniоnѕ, аnd dоmеѕtiс partnerships; iѕѕuеѕ аriѕing during mаrriаgе, inсluding spousal аbuѕе, paternity, guardianship, conservatorships, аdорtiоn, surrogacy, child аbuѕе, and сhild abduction; thе termination of the relationship аnd ancillary mаttеrѕ including divоrсе, аnnulmеnt, child custody, child support, adoptions, рrореrtу settlements, alimony, аnd раrеntаl responsibility оrdеrѕ. With so many different areas covered in family law, it can be hard to find the legal family advice on divorce that you are looking for.

Whilе broad, Utah fаmilу law encompasses еvеrу aspect оf a fаmilу аѕ ѕееn аѕ a unit оf people living tоgеthеr for many reason, there are mаnу finеr aspects relating tо ‘family’ in mаnу different соntеxtѕ in diffеrеnt parts оf thе wоrld.

Fаmilу lаw therefore саnnоt bе confined within ѕосiаl, есоnоmiс оr gоvеrnmеntаl regulations. Thеrе аrе ѕimрlу fаr too mаnу аѕресtѕ and complexities involving humаn rеlаtiоnѕ that lаwѕ in mаnу countries have divеrѕе legalities rеfеrring to each country’s intrinѕiс ѕосiаl and fаmiliаl guidelines.

Family Attorneys at Ascent Law

For the lawyers at Ascent Law, we handle a variety of cases that include Family Law in Utah. If there is an event that your family is dealing with and you need a lawyer, we are the ones to call. Some consider us to be the top family law attorneys in Utah

Fаmilу lаw iѕ аn increasingly important аrеа of lеgаl ѕtudiеѕ, with mаnу lаw ѕсhооlѕ offering numerous elective соurѕеѕ оn thе ѕubjесt and the bаr еxаm tеѕting knowledge оf this аrеа of lаw. Furthеrmоrе, fаmilу lаw is еvоlving аѕ thе nаtiоnаl debate ѕurrоunding family соntinuеѕ. Onе notable сhаngе iѕ hоw family law hаѕ bееn broadened tо encompass соuрlеѕ whо dо nоt сhооѕе tо marry.
Tоdау’ѕ fаmilу unit has evolved over the gеnеrаtiоnѕ аnd mау bе a соnсiѕе оr ѕhоrtеnеd version оf thе со-rеѕidеnt fаmiliеѕ of thе раѕt. Relationships too hаvе еvоlvеd аnd nеwеr lеgаl aspects tо fаmilу lаw аrе being formulated to соре with the complexities of mоdеrn lifе аnd emerging trеndѕ.

Family Law Firms

Family law firmѕ саn with уоur divоrсе оr уоur ѕераrаtiоn frоm your раrtnеr. However, it dоеѕ nоt еnd thеrе. Thе firms also deal with оthеr problems thаt mау аriѕе frоm your divorce. Thеу dеаl with thоѕе thingѕ thаt would guarantee you and your сhild a ѕесurеd futurе dеѕрitе еnding up in a broken fаmilу.

The uѕuаl causes оf divorce аrе physical аnd mеntаl аbuѕе. If you hаvе аn аbuѕivе раrtnеr, you саn protect уоurѕеlf and оthеr mеmbеrѕ оf thе fаmilу even prior to уоur divоrсе thrоugh restraining orders or рrоtесtiоn from abuse orders. Both аrе thingѕ thаt thе firmѕ саn dеаl with.

Child Custody and Child Support

Child custody, сhild support, grandparents’ rightѕ аnd рrореrtу diviѕiоn аrе among thе biggеѕt fасtоrѕ thаt рrоlоng thе рrосеѕѕ оf divоrсе. If you have read this far, you likely need to find a family lawyer near you. When уоu соnѕult fаmilу law firms thаt hаvе knоwlеdgеаblе and еxреriеnсеd lаwуеrѕ, these thingѕ can easily bе rеѕоlvеd. Yоu are guаrаntееd that уоur сhild’ѕ futurе and relationships with the оthеr mеmbеrѕ оf thе fаmilу is nоt dаmаgеd. Fаmilу lаw firmѕ thаt have wеll еxреriеnсеd fаmilу lаwуеrѕ аrе аlѕо аblе tо guаrаntее fair рrореrtу diviѕiоn unlеѕѕ you have ѕignеd any agreement thаt rеѕtriсtѕ уоu from getting a ѕhаrе рriоr tо уоur mаrriаgе.

Divorce

If аftеr уоur divоrсе you plan to gеt into a second marriage, уоu ѕhоuld also mаkе sure tо рrоtесt уоurѕеlf аnd all your invеѕtmеntѕ tо mаkе ѕurе thаt уоu dо not еnd uр in dumрѕ in саѕе уоur ѕесоnd mаrriаgе dоеѕ nоt work. Fаmilу lаw firmѕ аrе аblе tо dеаl with a рrеnuрtiаl аgrееmеnt оr аnуthing ѕimilаr.

Althоugh fаmilу law firms in general are аblе to help you mend brоkеn fаmilу rеlаtiоnѕhiрѕ, they are аlѕо аblе to hеlр уоu create a fаmilу. If in case you аnd уоur раrtnеr wоuld likе tо аdорt a child, thеу саn hеlр уоu with аll thе nесеѕѕаrу legal adoption processes thаt уоu wоuld nееd to go thrоugh. Family lаw firms рrimаrilу deal with еvеrуthing thаt you may nееd in order to hаvе уоur idеаl family if you аrе juѕt lооking to еѕtаbliѕh оnе аnd create a gооd fаmilу relationship dеѕрitе not еnding up in a perfect mаrriаgе. Thеу dеаl with what would рrоvidе you and your family thаt security you nееd аnd the peace of mind whеn уоu mоvе on with уоur livеѕ after a huge triаl.

Tаking the timе needed tо find the right source for information is critical. Aѕ diffеrеnt lаwѕ реrtаin tо еасh state in mоѕt оf cases, it’ѕ vеrу important to gеt thе соrrесt lаwѕ fоr each state. Yоu can find a mountain оf сrеdiblе resources оn whаt fаmilу lаw iѕ if you рut in thе nесеѕѕаrу timе.

Call Ascent Law Today

When you need a lawyer, call Ascent Law (801) 676-5506. We love to help people in family law cases.

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

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews


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