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Finding a Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney
Choosing a Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney can cause a lot of stress. Having a strong understanding of what you need from your attorney (expertise, familiarity with the court, high level of professionalism, aggressive in representing your case, etc.) will help. Here, we’ve provided a basic outline for the different types of divorce cases to help in your research of finding the right attorney.
Divorce proceedings in court typically occur when spouses are separating or have separated and are unlikely to reconcile. Where the separation is especially simple or amicable, the spouses might go years without initiating or finalizing divorce proceedings. However, in many cases, the divorce proceedings will be necessary sooner because the separation is complex or adversarial.
The attorneys and staff at Christensen Law are prepared to assist you as you face a divorce. Whether you or your spouse initiated the divorce, we can provide you valuable advice and assistance. Regardless of whether your divorce is simple, amicable, complex, or adversarial, we can help you get through the divorce process.
Simple and Amicable Divorces
We occasionally receive calls from people who have decided to divorce and have already worked out everything with their spouse. If this is your situation, you are fortunate. We can help you file the necessary papers with the court and draw up the documents that will make your divorce official. Additionally, we can help you meet the various obligations contained in the agreement, such a property transfers or retirement account divisions.
More importantly, we can give you advice about whether your agreement will help you avoid long-term problems and whether the court will accept it. Despite best intentions, some divorce agreements fail to account for problems that may arise on a long-term basis or later lead to conflict over matters that were not important at the time of the divorce. Additionally, if your agreement does not conform with Utah law, you may find that your favorite portions of your agreement are unenforceable.
Please note that in such situations, although we are arranging for a divorce to which both parties agree, we can represent only the interests of only one of the divorcing spouses. If the other spouse has any legal questions, he or she will need to consult another attorney from another firm.
Even where the parties to a divorce have the best intentions and want to cooperate, they will find it necessary to address numerous matters. In a single divorce case, all of the following questions, and more could be relevant:
- Who will have physical custody of the children and when will the other parent be able to visit with the children?
- Or, if the parents are to have joint physical custody of the children, how will they share physical custody?
- How are the parties supposed to transfer custody of the children? Where will they meet? When?
- Which parent will make what decisions for the children?
- Or, if the parents are supposed to jointly make decisions, how will disagreements be handled in the future?
- Who will claim the children on their tax returns?
- How much child support should one parent pay the other?
- What is the due date for child support payments?
- How are child support payments supposed to be made?
- How are medical and insurance expenses to be handled? Who will be responsible for paying?
- Who will live in and own the house?
- Will the house need to be refinanced so that only one of the parties is on the mortgage?
- Or, who will be responsible for selling the house and how will the proceeds from the sale be divided?
- Who will take possession and ownership of what car?
- How are the retirement accounts to be split?
- Who will be responsible for paying what debt?
- Will one spouse need to pay the other spouse alimony? For how long?
For whatever reason, one spouse or both spouses in a divorce case simply will not cooperate or negotiate. Perhaps this is because they are not being nice. Or, perhaps their situation is such that they cannot or believe they cannot negotiate. Perhaps they believe they need to be in attack mode instead of cooperation and negotiation mode. This may be their personality. Or, it may be their attorney or others who are giving them advice. At Christensen Law, we try to help our clients avoid unnecessary conflict, but we are prepared to help you stand your ground when the opposing party is asking too much or appeal when it seems like the court made a wrong decision.
Regardless, we can help you through adversarial divorces, just as well as we can help in non-adversarial divorces. At the beginning, you will need to decide whether to seek temporary orders. As the case progresses, you will be wanting to work with us to go to trial. At all times, we will be prepared for the possibility of settling, but we will also want to be ready for you to put your best foot forward in front of the judge so that the court can make the best possible decision.
A divorce begins with the filing of a petition for divorce. The person filing becomes known as the petitioner. If the divorce is amicable, the petition might reflect the final settlement, and instead of responding to the petition, the other party will allow the petition to go unchallenged. In other cases, the petition may be the wish list of the petitioner, an opening offer, if you will. Once served, the other party, known as the respondent, will have a chance to file an answer to the petition and, possibly, a counter-petition asking for relief that the original petition may not have covered.
Once you have filed the petition and answer, a process known as discovery begins. Discovery occurs when the parties to the divorce exchange information with each other to help them understand the overall situation. Exchanging the information can help lead to a settlement. If you do not reach a settlement, you may use the information at trial.
At nearly any point after filing the petition and before the trial or final settlement, either the petitioner or respondent can move for temporary orders. With temporary orders, the court can put in place a temporary order that will last until it reaches a final decision. Temporary orders can relate to nearly any of the issues listed above in the section about complex divorces.
Finishing The Process and Additional Steps
Once discovery concludes, the parties will take the case to trial if they have not already settled. If the case settles, the parties will be able to obtain a divorce decree that reflects their negotiations. In a situation where the parties go to trial, they will obtain a divorce decree that reflects the judge’s decisions that he or she made based on what the parties presented at trial.
If you feel that the court has made a mistake, you will be able to appeal. Otherwise, you will need to abide by the orders contained in the divorce decree. If you spouse does not, you may need to ask the court to enforce the divorce decree.
At Christensen Law, we are prepared to help you at all stages of the divorces process regardless of how simple or complex your case is and regardless of how amicable or adversarial your case turns out to be.Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney