Salt Lake City Divorce Lawyers Guide You Through the Process
Protecting and asserting your rights; serving all of Utah
Divorce represents an emotionally vulnerable time for many, but the fact is that divorce also represents a financially vulnerable time as well. Between the assets and debts the marriage has acquired and spousal maintenance and child support considerations, divorce is no time to let down your guard. Fortunately, you can retain Huntsman | Lofgran to objectively defend your rights and represent the best interests of both you and your children.
Utah law and grounds for divorce
One of the spouses must be a resident of the county in which application for divorce will be filed for at least three months before the filing can be made.
If the divorce is contested, the application will have to be based on one of the following grounds:
The law requires the non-filing spouse sign a form called an “Acceptance of Service, Waiver, and Consent to Default” in acknowledgement of receiving a copy of the Petition for Divorce and the Summons. If the spouse will not sign the form, we arrange for a constable or the Sheriff’s office to serve it to them.
The divorce process need not be protracted
As a rule, the court will not issue a divorce until at least 90 days have passed. Utah law requires the three-hour mandatory educational course be completed within 60 days of filing if you are the petitioner, and within 45 days of being served notice of course requirements if you are the respondent (when there are children under the age of 18 from the marriage).
We represent you in all aspects of divorce
If any aspect of a divorce is contested, Utah law requires the participants to participate in at least one session of mediation in which to attempt to resolve the issue or issues in dispute. Huntsman | Lofgran professionals counsel you during the mediation process and also help you and your spouse find an objective third-party mediator. We also counsel and represent you in all other matters, including:
- Custody issues — The court very often decides it is in the best interest of the child or children to award their custody to one of the spouses and award visitation rights to the other. Utah has minimum visitation rights. One of the many important factors driving the extent of those rights will be the proximity of the visiting spouse’s residence to the residence of the custodial spouse.
- Child support payments — Utah child support guidelines calculate a parent’s child support obligation based on the gross income of the parties and the physical custody arrangement of the children. Child support obligations are largely based on three calculations:
- Base child support
- Medical care (premiums and out-of-pocket expenses)
- Child care expenses
As with child custody, we can help you petition for a subsequent divorce decree order modification if circumstances change.
- Parenting plan — A parenting plan must be filed with the court if you and your spouse agree to any form of joint legal or joint physical child custody. The plan anticipates how decisions will be made regarding important issues and events in the child’s life and also includes whom the child will be with on certain days of the year.
- Alimony payments — The court considers such factors as the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the net incomes and reasonable expenses of the parties, and whether the paying spouse’s earning capacity increased because the recipient spouse contributed to their education or training. And yes, spousal maintenance payments are treated by the Internal Revenue Service as income.
- Dividing assets and debts — Assets and debts that were brought into the marriage are not considered by the court for division, but assets and debts acquired during the marriage are, unless they are inherited. The rules of property division require these marital assets and debts be distributed “equitably” between the spouses. This does not mean they will be split evenly.
There are other considerations to make as you proceed with divorce. For instance, if your spouse suddenly decides to file for bankruptcy, you may want to consider joining the bankruptcy —in that event, Huntsman | Lofgran’s depth in bankruptcy law can help you determine your best options. In fact, there have been cases where a spouse who is ordered to make support payments turns around and files for bankruptcy — we sometimes can anticipate this event and help you plan for it.
We know Salt Lake City divorce inside and out
Over the years Huntsman | Lofgran in Salt Lake City has successfully helped hundreds of Utah residents navigate divorce. Put what we have learned to work for you. Call us at 801-474-0031 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.