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utahdivorceattorney

December 8, 2021

10 Things to do Before You File for a Divorce

1. Never Threaten to Divorce Until You Are Ready To File
By doing this your partner may start divorce-planning by moving assets, positioning themselves with the children, or hiring an attorney. This could hurt you and/or your partner. Take your time to plan things carefully and then file for divorce when you have your affairs in order.

2. Organize Your Documents
Being organized and efficient will save you money. If you hand over a bunch of messy documents, files, and personal information, your attorney will have to spend more time organizing all that information. This of course means more money to your attorney. Gather every important document that you can find and make copies of each. Look for your past tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, life insurance policies, mortgage documents, financial statements, credit card statements, family trusts, Social Security statements, stock grants, automobile titles, among other documents. If your spouse is self-employed, it is essential to gather as much information as possible about the finances of his or her business. Make copies of any useful financial information stored on your home computer or lying around the house.

3. Make your Children the Focus
Divorce has a major impact divorce has on children, so we advise that you be measured regarding the decisions you make and your behavior throughout the process.Do not involve the children in the battle. Do not talk badly about the other spouse in front of your children, and do not ask them to take sides. It is not fair and will create emotional problems for them. If you are balanced and together, your children will be as well. Plan how you expect to divide the parenting time with the other parent. We can advise on the nuances of raising healthy children through the divorce process.

4. Make Sure You Have Three Months of Financial Resources
Make sure that you have sufficient funds saved to pay for your expenses ideally for at least three months if you are the spouse with limited access to financial resources. Many spouses become spiteful when the divorce starts and may cut you off financially. Although your attorneys can get you financial support, it will take time to do so.

5. Obtain the Best Legal Advice You Can Get
This is not the time to cut corners or to trust everything your spouse tells you. It’s wise to ask friends or family for recommendations. Do your research and read reviews. Research whether your attorney has the skills and reputation to assist you in the divorce. It is critical to have the best representation during this tough time in your life. You should be immediately suspicious if your spouse advises you not to seek legal counsel.

6. Make Sure You Have Available Credit
Apply for your own credit card because your spouse may cut access to your credit card when you file for divorce. Having available credit will allow you to pay for things while your attorneys work to get court orders concerning temporary financial support.

7. Have a Safety Plan If There Is Any History or Risk Of Domestic Violence
Of course we hope it doesn’t happen but violence can escalate when you leave your spouse. However, don’t be encouraged to file a protection order unless it is really necessary. Cases that start out with the filing of a protection order excluding your spouse from the home and children often turn out to be some of the most highly contested cases. Using this as a weapon can sometimes cost you in the long run. Every decision in a divorce will have long-lasting ramifications on your life so you must be sure to obtain the best representation and advice possible. We can help guide you through this thicket of problems.

8. Possession Is 9/10th’s of the Law
Possession can be nine-tenths of the law as to the custody of children. Unless there is a good reason to separate quickly, it is much smarter to remain with possession of the children until you work out a temporary parenting plan. Make sure that you know the children’s teachers, counselors, doctors, and other professionals. The last thing you want is to have the school teacher tell an evaluator that they do not know what you look like and have never met you.

9. Surround Yourself With Supportive Family And Friends
You will need all the help and support you can get. We advise you consider seeing a therapist during and after the divorce.

10. Try to Remain Civil And Treat Your Spouse With Respect
You may have to attend weddings, graduations, and funerals with them in the future. Avoid making statements in anger. Never send emails or text messages when you are angry or upset. These will come back to haunt you in the divorce proceedings. Remember that this will be a tough experience, but you will get through it and will become empowered in the process.

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utahdivorceattorney

October 21, 2021

Debit Cards for Kids, are they ready?

Start-ups large and small are offering child-friendly debit cards that allow parents to set up guardrails, but picking one depends on your priorities. Introducing your child to the “real-world” use of money often means coming up with half-baked solutions: jars stuffed with bills combined with repeated trips to the A.T.M. and teenage misuse of their parents credit card.

So the right piece of pre-paid plastic loaded by parents who can set customizable limits-makes all the sense in the world. 

You have plenty of options, many of which you may never have heard of before. There’s Greenlight, FamZoo, Goalsetter, Till, Gohenry, Step, Wingocard, and Copper. Larger enterprises are sniffing around the idea too, including Apple, Fidelity, and Verizon. One company that should be familiar to you, and who has years of success to back them up is Chase Bank. 

It’s important to teach kids good money habits. Every conversation about money is a conversation about values waiting to happen, and these products can help inspire those discussions with your child. 

We are excited about Chase’s debit cards for kids ages 6-17 because they offer everything parents need to help teach good money habits and value, control account information, and monitor spending and saving amounts through the Chase mobile app. 

Some key features are:

Spend

Manage where and how much your child can spend

  • Set limits on where and how much your child can spend, like $10 at restaurants or $15 to spend anywhere.
  • Set up account alerts to help keep track of their purchases
  • Your child can use their own diet card to make purchases at store and online
  • Teens and kids can request money and you can approve or decline the request
  • Set limits on how much your child can withdraw at ATM’s

Save

Help your child start saving and setting their own savings goals in the Chase Mobile app

  • Make savings a habit! Talk to your child about their savings goals and track their progress in the Chase Mobile app
  • Teens and kids can set goals and transfer money they’ve received or earned at any time
  • Easily transfer money to you child’s savings goals

Earn

Set up recurring allowance and assign one-time chores

  • Make allowance easier with recurring payments – daily, weekly, or monthly – to your child in the Chase Mobile app
  • Assign one-time chores and pay your teens and kids when they’re done

It’s important to teach our children the value and importance of money. When to start doing that is up to you, but these tools make it easier than ever to help teach, monitor, and instill good spending habits before they come adults. 

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utahdivorceattorney

October 5, 2021

Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Utah

It’s no surprise that for most couples, a divorce can cause financial instability. To protect under- or unemployed spouses, the court may award alimony, which is a court-ordered payment from a higher-earning spouse to the other during the divorce process and often, for a period after.

Qualifying for Alimony in Utah

Alimony is gender-neutral in Utah, meaning either spouse can request support during the divorce process. When considering a request for alimony, the judge will evaluate the following factors to determine the type, amount, and duration of support:

  • the financial condition and needs of the supported spouse
  • the recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income, including an evaluation of whether the recipient lost work experience or skills while caring for the couple’s children
  • the paying spouse’s ability to pay support while maintaining financial independence
  • the length of the marriage
  • whether the recipient is a custodial parent of a child who requires child support
  • whether the recipient worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse, and
  • whether the recipient directly contributed to the increase in the paying spouse’s income by paying for education or job training during the marriage. (Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5 (8).)

In addition to the above factors, the court can also consider a spouse’s fault (or marital misconduct) which caused the breakup of the marriage. In Utah, “fault” may include adultery, physical abuse or threats to the other spouse or children, or undermining the financial stability of the other spouse. It’s important to understand that the court can’t use alimony to punish a misbehaving spouse, so judges use fault in limited circumstances. (Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5 (8)(b)(c).)

Unlike child support in Utah, there is no formula for judges to use to calculate alimony in a divorce. Instead, judges base support amounts on the above factors and any other relevant circumstances in each case. If you and your spouse would like to maintain control over the alimony order, you can negotiate the terms in a settlement agreement and present it to the judge for approval.

The Marital Standard of Living

The purpose of alimony is for both spouses to maintain a lifestyle as close as possible to the marital standard of living. However, as a general rule in alimony evaluations, judges will look to the standard of living existing at the time of the couple’s separation. In other words, if you lived a lavish lifestyle for the first 5 years of your marriage but downsized and lived on a budget for the last 5, the court will use alimony to ensure you can maintain your current budget and lifestyle.

Duration of Alimony

Sometimes judges will award temporary alimony while the divorce is pending. Orders of temporary support terminate when the judge finalizes the divorce.

For all other alimony orders, the law prohibits the judge from ordering support for longer than the length of the marriage unless the court reviews the order before the termination date and finds extenuating circumstances that require support to continue.

Terminating Alimony in Utah

Typically, the judge will set an end date for alimony in the original order. However, if the supported spouse remarries or dies, alimony terminates automatically. 

It’s no surprise that life goes on after a divorce. But, if the supported spouse begins cohabiting (living with) a new partner, the paying spouse can request termination of alimony. Cohabitation may terminate alimony, but only if you report it to the court and ask for support to end within one year of discovering the cohabitation.

Paying Alimony in Utah

Most alimony payments in Utah are periodic (monthly) and due on the first of every month unless the court orders otherwise. Most judges include an income withholding order for alimony, which directs the paying spouse’s employer to withhold the payments from the employee’s paycheck and forward it directly to the court. If the paying spouse doesn’t have a steady job or is self-employed, the court may order lump-sum payments or payment through property transfer. Lump-sum payments are installments, either one or several over a short period of time. Once you make the final payment, your alimony obligation to your spouse ends.

Property transfers are rare, but helpful in cases where one spouse doesn’t have a steady income but has 

a significant amount of property that will fulfill the support order.

Modifying Alimony Orders

Unless the support order is non-modifiable, either spouse can request a review and modification (change) of an alimony award if there is a substantial and material change in circumstances after the divorce. For example, if a paying spouse is disabled due to an unforeseen health issue and can’t work, the court may adjust or terminate alimony to ensure that both spouses remain financially stable. 

If there’s a change in circumstances that makes it difficult for you to pay support, it is important to request a review as soon as possible, and in the meantime, you must continue to pay. Failure to pay support can result in serious consequences, such as contempt hearings, fines, bank seizures, and in the most severe cases, a jail sentence.

If your spouse isn’t paying support as ordered, you can file a formal petition with the court asking for help enforcing the order.

Taxes and Alimony

If you finalized your divorce on or before December 31, 2018, you can deduct your alimony payments, and your spouse must report and pay taxes on the income. However, for divorces on or after January 1, 2019, changes to the tax law eliminate both the tax deduction benefit and reporting requirements for alimony.

Divorcing couples should consider the tax ramifications for both spouses before finalizing the divorce. If you’re unsure how the new tax law impacts your bottom line, you should speak to an experienced tax professional. If you have more questions regarding divorce and alimony, contact us today!

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Read & Read

June 7, 2021

The No Estate Estate Plan

The No Estate Estate Plan is your guide to estate planning when you don’t own property. If you already read our blog on Trust vs. Wills and 5 Reasons to Have a Will. Then you know there are estate planning tools for every person and circumstance.

In this post we will discuss the 5 must haves tools for every estate plan.

(more…)

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May 25, 2021

5 Reasons to Have a Will

After our recent post on trusts vs. wills, we received questions for further breakdowns on each of these estate planning components.  In today’s post we will discuss the top 5 Reasons to Have a Will.

Regardless of age or financial circumstances, everyone should have a will.
(more…)

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May 3, 2021

5 Reasons To Have A Trust

After our recent post on trusts vs. wills, we received questions for further breakdowns on each of these estate planning components.  In today’s post we will discuss the top 5 Reasons to Have a Trust. (more…)

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April 19, 2021

Trust vs. Will: What is the Difference?

Trust vs. Will: What is the difference? While both are used to protect and transfer assets, each provide a different set of benefits.

Regardless of which method you choose, it is important to have professional advisors (legal, investment, and tax). (more…)

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March 21, 2021

How to split stimulus funds for dependents

Are you unsure how to split stimulus funds for dependents?

The news of a $1,400 stimulus for adults and children is providing some relief for many families across the nation. However, in the case of divorce, confusion over how co-parents should split  stimulus funds for dependents is becoming a common point of contention.

(more…)

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March 8, 2021

Why have a power of attorney?

Establishing and legally assigning a power of attorney provides the peace-of-mind of knowing your care will be in trusted hands. As defined by Utah Courts, a power of attorney is simply the legal document where one person, “principal,” gives another, “agent,” authority to act on their behalf.

Agents granted authority to act on behalf of the principal must carry out the principal’s wishes, in addition to complying with other set protocol. (more…)

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utahdivorceattorney

February 16, 2021

When should I start estate planning?

Although estate planning is often portrayed as something to do as you near retirement. The truth is, it is never too soon to have an estate plan in place.

While planning for the unthinkable is not how many of us prefer to spend our time. It is essential, especially if you have young children. (more…)

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