Tooele UT Divorce Attorney
Tooele City is located thirty-two miles southwest of Salt Lake City at the western base of the Oquirrh Mountains, which form the eastern border of the city. To the west lies the Stansbury Range; to the north twelve miles is the Great Salt Lake; and on the south, a low divide, Stockton Pass, separates Tooele from Rush Valley. Tooele is the county’s largest city, and took its name from the valley, which Captain Howard Stansbury spelled “tuilla” on his surveying maps in 1849-50. The name possibly originates from Indians known to early pioneers as “Tooelians,” who lived in the area, although others claim it comes from the Spanish word for a bulrush plant found in the area. As early as 1847, Tooele Valley, known for its waist-high grass, was used for grazing by herders from other valleys. The guiding force for permanent settlement in 1849 was Ezra Taft Benson, who had two groups in his employ, one caring for his livestock, the other instructed to build a sawmill and gristmill on Big Creek (Settlement) Canyon. When Tooele was incorporated on 19 June 1853 the city covered nine square miles. The U.S. government in 1943 purchased 25,000 acres of land five miles south of the city. With the construction of an ordnance depot, which became the Army’s largest supply center in the West, the city expanded to 12.3 square miles; by 1990 Tooele could claim a population of 13,825. The depot is Tooele’s largest employer; but enough workers commute from and shop in the Salt Lake Valley that Tooele could be called a bedroom community of Salt Lake City. However, in 1993 the future of the depot became clouded as it was included on a Defense Department list of bases to be closed.
Agricultural expansion of the principal crops–grain, alfalfa and barley–was the result of the completion of the Settlement Canyon Dam in 1966 with a l,166-acre-feet capacity. To the west, grazing on Tooele’s western desert provides winter forage for thousands of sheep and cattle. Historically, mining has been important in Tooele, where a smelter operated from 1909 to 1972. Some Tooele residents commute to Mercur, an old mining town that was revived in 1983 and today is Utah’s primary source of gold. But both agriculture and mining are of less importance today than they were formerly. Mormons have predominated in Tooele. The city’s first mayor, John Rowberry, was also the presiding Mormon. From two wards, Tooele has grown to support eighteen wards and three LDS stakes. A Methodist church was built in 1873, a Catholic Church, St. Marguerite’s, in 1910. Other congregations found in the city are the Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the Christian Faith Church, and members of the Assembly of God Church. Five parks are found in the city, one with a municipal swimming pool. A wartime housing project was demolished to make room for a nine-hole golf course. Along with a public library, the city contains four motels and four banks. From a business district of small shops, Tooele City has grown to include a large discount department center and a large grocery/drug store complex. A museum is housed in the old Tooele Valley Railroad Depot, and another, operated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, is located on Vine Street in the old Tooele City Hall. Because of the impact of the military on school enrollment, in 1943 a junior high school was built with money provided by the United States Defense Public Works; and a new Tooele high school was built in 1955. Three elementary schools were also built as a result of increased enrollment and a school (later closed) in the housing area of Tooele Army Depot. The oldest continuous business in Tooele City is the Tooele Transcript (Bulletin) newspaper, founded in 1894.
Divorce Process In Tooele, Utah
If, after the filing of an answer to a complaint of divorce, there are any remaining contested issues, the parties must participate in a good faith in at least one session of mediation. This requirement does not preclude the entry of pretrial orders before mediation takes place. The parties must use a mediator recognized by the court as qualified to mediate domestic disputes. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or the parties agree upon a different payment arrangement, the cost of mediation shall be divided equally between the parties. Either party may be excused from the requirement to mediate if they show the court, director of dispute resolution programs for the courts, or the mediator good cause.
Unlike a divorce that dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment is a legal decree that a marriage is void. In addition, an annulment proceeding can resolve some of the same issues that would be the subject of a divorce proceeding, such as child custody and support and alimony. Annulments are granted only in limited and special situations and cannot be granted merely because the marriage is of short duration or because the parties would prefer an annulment over a divorce.
A settlement agreement is a written contract between the parties that sets forth their rights, duties and obligations in their separation or divorce action by which the parties agree to dispose of the case without a trial. A settlement agreement may include such provisions for the division of their property, apportionment of responsibility for debt, spousal support, attorney’s fees, custody of their children and child support. Such agreements are encouraged since they usually resolve the disputes between the husband and wife more quickly, cheaply, and amicably than by trial.
If you seek to file a divorce in Utah, it is important to be aware of the residency requirements prior to filing for your divorce. In order to file for divorce you must have been a resident for at least 3 months. The complaint for divorce must also be filed in a county where either of the spouses resides
Grounds for Divorce
The grounds for seeking a divorce are impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage; adultery committed by the respondent subsequent to 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 necessaries 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 when the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation. A divorce based on irreconcilable differences of the marriage can mean a multitude of things, but ultimately it means that there is no reasonable hope that the marriage can continue. The court may approve or reject a marital settlement agreement of the spouses. Standard financial disclosure forms may be required to be filed. To receive a court-approved divorce it is not necessary to show that either one of the parties was at fault in the decline of the marriage. All that is necessary to prove is a breakdown in the marital relationship to the extent that the objects and goals of marriage have been destroyed and that no reasonable possibility remains that the marriage can be saved. The assignment of fault may make a difference in terms of a court’s final determination of the division of the marital estate and an alimony award, although the court does not “punish” a party for fault when dividing property. If a party’s fault caused the innocent party financial hardship, then that can affect how much of an award property or alimony a court makes to the innocent party.
Division of Property
Utah law provides for the “equitable” (which is essentially synonymous with “fair” and “impartial”) distribution of the marital property of the marriage at the time of the final divorce between the parties. “Marital Property” is not defined in the Utah Code for divorce purposes. “Separate property” is defined for probate purposes in the Utah Uniform Probate Code at §75-2-208. Property is separate property if:
a) owned at the date of the most recent marriage of the decedent and the decedent’s surviving spouse;
b) acquired by gift or disposition at death from a person other than the decedent or the decedent’s surviving spouse;
c) acquired in exchange for or with the proceeds of other separate property;
d) designated as separate property by written waiver under Section 75-2-213; or
e) acquired as a recovery for personal injury but only to the extent attributable to expenses paid or otherwise satisfied from separate property.
The court shall consider at least the following factors in determining alimony:
• the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
• the recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
• the ability of the payor spouse to provide support;
• the length of the marriage;
• whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
• whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse; and
• whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or allowing the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage.
The court may consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony. As a general rule, the court should look to the standard of living, existing at the time of separation, in determining alimony. However, the court must consider all relevant facts and equitable principles and may, in its discretion, base alimony on the standard of living that existed at the time of trial. In marriages of short duration, when no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider the standard of living that existed at the time of the marriage. The court may, under appropriate circumstances, attempt to equalize the parties’ respective standards of living. 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 and 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 dividing the marital property and 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 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 a decree of divorce specifically provides otherwise, any order of the court that party pay alimony to a former spouse automatically terminates upon the remarriage or death of that former spouse. However, if the remarriage is annulled and found to be void, payment of alimony shall resume if the party paying alimony is made a party to the action of annulment and his rights are determined. Any order of the court that a party pay alimony to a former spouse terminates upon establishment by the party paying alimony that the former spouse is living with another person and is in a sexual relationship. Spouse support is not awarded to punish a guilty spouse but rather is to lessen the financial impact of divorce on the other spouse.
Pros of Collaborative Divorce
1. The process is generally confidential, whereas the court process requires the court to keep a public record and conduct hearings and trials in open court, except in limited circumstances, in which the judge allows for sealing a file or closing the courtroom doors.
2. You can choose your and your spouse’s attorneys, knowing that both are committed to the collaborative divorce model.
3. You and your spouse enter into a contract to consult together with financial experts, mental healthcare experts, and parenting experts to supplement the services your lawyers provide and generally share those costs.
4. You spend less time at the courthouse waiting for your case to be called and observing scheduling conferences and temporary hearings that seem to have very little to do with the ultimate outcome of your case.
5. Because the process is voluntary, it is more likely you and your spouse are “on the same page” with your desired outcome and, thus, are more likely to honor it post-divorce.
Cons of Collaborative Divorce
1. If the process does not work, i.e., you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, most collaborative divorce contracts require that you hire new attorneys for a court process – that is, you end up paying more for lawyers when one party does not agree to settle.
2. You must trust your spouse to fully disclose her assets and debts and to communicate in an open and honest manner about all issues in your case, which is highly unusual for spouses who are divorcing in the first place.
3. You cannot avoid the courtroom altogether; rather, at least one of you must attend a hearing to submit your settlement agreement to the divorce court and to obtain your judge’s approval as to parenting matters, over which the judge maintains authority despite your agreement to collaborate and settle without the judge’s involvement.
4. In cases of domestic violence, your judge may not allow, or accept an agreement from, the collaborative divorce process.
5. Oftentimes, there are legitimate differences of opinion for things like business valuations, and, thus, having a retained expert for each of you is not a bad thing but, rather, more akin to getting a second opinion from a doctor or a critical eye to disclose honest, but for you potentially costly, mistakes in one expert’s opinion. What’s worse, if you disagree with your mutual expert, then you must breach the collaborative divorce contract and start the process anew in court.
Utah Divorce Lawyer Tooele Free Consultation
When you need legal help to get divorced in Utah for your free consultation, call Ascent Law (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506