Family Law

  • How much will this cost? 
    Filing fees charged by the court range between $320 and $500; attorney fees range from $1000 on up, mention this ad and get the internet discount to $175 per hour instead of the normal $250 per hour.

  • How do I choose the right lawyer for me? 
    Every person is different, so are every attorney, you must find one you are comfortable with, one who understands your case. You don’t want one who will just tell you what you want to hear, look for one who can give you good and bad news. It sounds weird, but they must be able to see both sides of the case, if they cannot then they will not be able to anticipate what the other side is going to do.

  • When will the other party have to pay my attorneys fees?
    If both parties are gainfully employed or one side receives alimony and child support, it is unlikely that either party will be ordered to pay the other parties attorney fees, bad behavior in court, in paperwork etc., can result in a party being ordered to pay both parties attorney fees.

  • What if they make more money than me?
    Usually only matters when we are figuring out child support or alimony, rarely comes into attorney fee requests.

  • Will I have to pay alimony? 
    That depends, alimony in Utah is determined on need. For example, if your ex has a monthly budget of $2500, and between all her job(s), child support and any other sources of income, she makes $2250 per month, you may be at risk of an order for $250 per month. So, is your ex entitled to alimony? That now depends on your budget and income, if you have excess income after your budget is fulfilled, then it is possible, if you do not have excess income the court will probably not order alimony.

  • How is child support determined? 
    There is a guide put out by the state of Utah that we follow, we take the parties income, the number of children, and it gives us a monthly child support amount. We then take the parents income and figure out what percent of the total they each account for and assign that percentage to the child support amount, the parent who has custody is then paid child support by the parent who does not have child support.

  • My ex-spouse/child’s mother/child’s father is not following a prior court order, what can I do?
    File an Order to Show Cause for Contempt, however in most cases we must take the step of mediation first.

  • My husband/wife was unfaithful, does that matter? 
    Only as far as a reason to get divorced, for most people it doesn’t matter, in that case we usually file a no cause divorce.

  • How do I decide if I need a lawyer? 
    Unless you know what you are doing and can understand exactly what is going on and have ten years of experience doing divorce, you need a lawyer, it is not as simple as words on a page, and let me tell you I make a lot more money fixing divorces people did themselves.

  • Is there a residency requirement to get divorced in Utah? 
    Yes, you must have been a resident in the same county for 90 days in order to file unless there are exigent circumstances like running for your own safety, but these are very rare!

  • What grounds do I need? 
    Any will do, most common is irreconcilable differences, but it could also be financial mis trust, physical abuse, mental abuse, abandonment etc.

  • What must I do in order to obtain a divorce without an attorney? 
    You are held to the same standards and rules I am and therefore must act in all ways as an attorney, that means you have to know the times, deadlines and rules that apply to your case.

  • Must I have my spouse’s cooperation?
    It doesn’t hurt, but no you do not need their cooperation, you can get it done by filing the correct paperwork at the right time and getting a default, but you must comply with the rules.

  • How do I get a court hearing? 
    You must make a motion to the court for the hearing, they will then contact you and schedule it with you and the opposing party.

  • Can I be divorced without a court hearing? 
    Yes and in most cases, we have very few hearings, at the start we only have hearings if there is a need for temporary relief such as interim child support, alimony, protective orders, custody, etc. If there is a need for temporary orders on these issues then we have to go to court.

  • What will happen in court?
    It depends on the reason we are there, if we are there for a temporary order hearing, the attorneys meet together and try to come to an agreement as to those issues. Hearings are only held if there are disputed issues, these hearings can be as short as a few minutes or last for several days as in a trial. Before you go to a hearing you need to meet with your attorney to discuss what to expect.

  • How will our property be divided? 
    That depends on the agreements made, during the course of a divorce, you may have to give something up that you want for something you want even more. The idea is to leave the parties in the same or relatively the same position as the other party. The default position is to divide all 50/50.

  • What about the kids? 
    There are 2 types of custody, Legal and Physical. Legal is the ability to participate meaningfully in the lives of your children, it’s the ability to obtain medical and School records, meet with teachers, therapists, take the children out of state on vacation, in other words to be active in the child’s life, in the State of Utah the presumption is for Joint Legal Custody. Physical custody is where the children sleep the majority of their nights, this custody could be sole/primary, joint or split custody. The courts are leaning toward more parent time for the non-custodial parent as it is in the best interests of the child to have lots of time with both parents, unless the parent presents a threat of harm to the child. It is important to remember that a person who is a bad spouse is not necessarily a bad parent.

  • Is there a waiting period before the divorce is final? 
    Yes, there is a 90 day period, I use this time to do mediation, temporary orders etc. It can be waived if the parties come to an agreement and, if they have children, have taken the divorce education class for parents.

  • Where can I find the legal forms? 
    In Utah Online at www.utcourts.gov, there is an online court assistance program (OCAP). It is very comprehensive and if you choose to use this program, you should take your final papers to an attorney for review to make sure it is being done correctly, cost is usually around $100-200 for a review of paperwork, and it’s a good investment as I spend a lot of time and charge a lot of money fixing peoples divorces that they did on this program.