FAQ’s

You should file a parentage lawsuit as soon as possible after a child is conceived outside of wedlock, and if a child’s legal parentage has not been established. Parentage is important in determining who is responsible for child support, and establishing visitation or custody rights. A parentage suit can be filed any time during the pregnancy up until two years after the child has reached adulthood (18 years old).

A parentage lawsuit, also called a paternity action, should be filed even if the parents are still together but have not married. A parentage lawsuit is a critical way for parents to secure their rights to their biological children. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you in securing your rights as a parent.

Unless the court dictates otherwise, it is presumed that an unmarried woman who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of a newborn child—particularly if no father is listed on the birth certificate. This is assuming that (a) the mother and father of the child have never been married to one another, (b) the mother was not married to anyone else when the child was born, and (c) there are no court orders awarding someone else custody or visitation rights of the child..

However, these conditions do not guarantee custody; the court must keep the best interest of the child in mind, and give each parent an equal opportunity to prove that he or she is more capable of being a responsible parent.

No. Paternity must be established before any child support can be ordered. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you in establishing paternity and obtaining the requisite child support.

Establishing paternity across state lines can be done in two ways:

  • Genetic Testing: You can request court-ordered genetic testing for the father regardless of which state he lives in.
  • Declaration of Paternity: The father may voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity, which will establish his parentage even if he lives in another state.

If the father leaves the state prior to paternity being established, the court may still decide parentage without him. In these instances, the court may still order the father to pay child support and other support obligations regardless of where he lives.

Yes. A paternity suit can be filed at any time during the pregnancy. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you in filing the proper paperwork in establishing paternity and parental rights and responsibilities.

Yes! Establishing paternity will entitle the child to health and financial benefits should the alleged father income situation improve later on. Furthermore, it is important to establish paternity for the benefit of the child. Establishing each parent’s rights and responsibilities to the children can help provide stability in a child’s life. It can also prevent potential disruptions from occurring later on, like when a parent who has been absent for months or years now wants to be a part of the child’s life.

When deciding custody matters, the courts will give the child’s best interests the highest priority. Generally, courts focus on such factors as which parent will provide the child with the most stable environment and which parent will better foster the child’s relationship with the other parent.

More specifically, courts will examine a number of factors when determining custody rights:

  • The mental and physical health of both the child and the parents
  • The lifestyle of either parent and other social factors
  • Either parent’s ability to provide the child with the necessities of life
  • The emotional bond between the child and either parent
  • The established living pattern for the child
  • The impact on the child if this pattern were to change
  • The child’s preference for living arrangement

An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you and explain in further detail these factors. Call us for a free initial consultation to discuss the issue of custody.

A number of factors can influence whether a child’s decision to live with one parent over the other will be honored. In most cases, the child’s preference is only a factor in assisting the court in making a decision. If at all possible, children should not be unnecessarily involved in custody disputes, and the decision as to where a child will live should rarely (if ever) be made by a child.

However, some situations are more complicated. When deciding parties cannot agree on the child’s future living arrangement, they may take their dispute to mediation. If mediation does not produce an agreeable result for the parties involved, they may present their dispute before a court judge. It is likely that a judge will order the parties to engage in a custody evaluation, which can be emotionally taxing for the parents as well as the child(ren). Custody evaluations are also quite lengthy and expensive.

  • Mediation: The goal of a mediator is to establish an agreement between the parents. He or she will attempt to find common ground between the spouses as to how much the child’s preference
  • Court: While a mediator will endeavor to facilitate an agreement among all the parties involved, a judge will rule according to what appears to be in the child’s best interests—regardless of the child’s actual preferences.

Divorce can affect children in significant ways. Parental conflict, financial instability, and increasingly deteriorating relationships can create several emotional and behavioral problems, including signs of depression, anxiety, or anger and aggression. If the divorce is affecting your children in this way, you may consider taking them to a therapist or counselor to help them sort through these important issues.

Sexual orientation cannot in and of itself prevent a parent from being granted custody or visitation of a his or her child; however, gay and lesbian parents may be denied custody or visitation right if a judge finds it is not in the best interests of the child.

Most courts determine custody/visitation rights based on the best interests of the children, regardless of the gender of the parents. However, this can still be a tricky issue to navigate through. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can walk with you through this process.

Possibly. Even if a parent is trying to avoid a hostile or unpleasant situation by moving out, parents who leave the children behind in the family home can essentially concede custody, unless the leaving parent remains actively involved in the child’s life. The vacating parent should continue to spend generous amounts of time with the children, or at least an amount of time consistent with the time he or she spent with the children prior to leaving the residence.

Regardless, decisions made regarding living arrangements, custody, parenting time, etc., should be centered on what would be in the best interests of the children. Furthermore, moving parents may also have difficulty securing custody if moving the children out of the family home will significantly disrupt their daily routines, such as school attendance and other regular activities.

In cases involving a parent receiving sole custody rights in a divorce, the other parent is obligated to pay child support payments to the custodial parent, and such child support obligations are based upon the parents’ income; however, if joint custody is awarded between the parents, child support is determined by each parent’s income, as well as how much time (including overnights) the child spends with each parent. Joint custody starts with each parent having at least overnights with the children.

There are a number of legal issues surrounding the topic of a parent removing a child from the state. Laws on parental kidnapping or custodial interference can make removing a child from the state illegal. The law will also distinguish between a short trip out-of-state and a long-term absence. Furthermore, if a parent wants to relocate 150 miles or more from their current residence, he or she is required by State Law to notify the other parent prior to the move.

Before removing a child from the state, it is important to consult with an experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers. We can help you examine the custody order to determine when it is legal and permissible to transport your child across state lines.

Yes. Child visitation refers to parenting time, more specifically, which days, how long, and how often a parent is able to spend time with a child. Child custody, on the other hand, refers to a parent&s legal right and obligation as guardian of the child, and establishes which home shall be considered a child&s primary residence. Legal custody refers to a parent&s responsibility for the child&s health, education, and general welfare, while physical custody describes the parent&s right to have the child live with him or her.

As long as the terms of your visitation schedule are reasonable, a child’s parents or legal custodians may submit your own agreed-upon arrangement to the court for approval. However, establishing your own visitation schedule can be an involved and complicated process. The schedule must make arrangements for unexpected situations, and holidays and school vacations. It must also allow room for the children’s changing needs as they grow older.

An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you in making critical decisions regarding custody or parenting time schedules. We can also help you plan the details of your visitation schedule and examine important considerations in a way that is fair to the parents as well as the children.

The court may mandate a fixed visitation schedule in cases where hostile interactions between parents would be detrimental to the child. A fixed visitation schedule is characterized by rigid and consistent parenting time that cannot be altered by either parent—short of a written mutual agreement. The advantage to a fixed visitation schedule is that it allows the children to experience some predictability after the divorce.

Here at Anderson & Rogers, we understand the emotional strain that comes with a divorce and custody dispute. By providing sound legal counsel to our clients, we can help children of divorcing parents find some reliability in the often unsettling weeks and months following the divorce.

In cases where the non-custodial parent has been abusive to the other parent and/or the children, the court may require that parent to be supervised during his or her visitation with the children. Supervision must be provided by another adult (not the custodial parent), and this person must be approved by the court. Often, such supervision is conducted by professional agencies which provide supervised visitation services for a fee.

When the court grants one parent physical custody of the children, the non-custodial parent is granted reasonable visitation rights. If parties are unable to agree upon a reasonable visitation schedule, the court will often award the non-custodial parent, at a minimum, standard visitation as prescribed by U.C.A. §30-3-35 (if the child is five years of age or older) or §30-5-35.5 (for children under the age of five).

Unfortunately, if the parents are at odds regarding the visitation schedule, resulting in unfair distribution of parenting time, missed appointments, or inconvenient schedules, the court may order that a more rigid and consistent schedule be put in place. Also, failure of a non-custodial parent to exercise parenting time, or failure of a custodial parent to allow for or support parenting time are both factors a court may consider in altering custody or parenting time arrangements in the future.

Grandparents may submit a petition requesting visitation rights in a pending divorce proceeding or other proceeding involving custody and visitation issues. The court will assume that a parent”s decision regarding the grandparent”s visitation rights with the grandchild is in the grandchild”s best interests; however, the court may override the parent”s decision if the grandparent can show one of the following:

  • The grandparent is fit and proper to have visitation rights.
  • Visitation with the grandchild has been unreasonably limited or denied.
  • The parent is unfit or incompetent.
  • The grandparent has acted as the child’s custodian, or has had a substantial relationship with the grandchild, and the cessation of that relationship would cause hard to the grandchild.
  • The grandparent’s child (parent of the grandchild) has either died or become a noncustodial parent.
  • The grandparent’s child (parent of the grandchild) has been missing for an extended period of time.

The court may also take the grandchild’s desires regarding grandparent visitation into account. If you feel you are being unfairly denied visitation to your grandchildren, an experienced family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can represent your case before a district judge, and make sure your rights are being aggressively represented.

Parental rights presumably trump grandparent rights when it comes to visitation; hence, if a parent wishes to limit a grandparent’s access to a child, short of a court order, such is the parent’s prerogative. However, grandparents who are being denied access to their grandchildren may petition the Court for more access. It is important in these situations to make sure decisions are being based off of the children’s best interests. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can provide sound legal advice in how to proceed if such concerns become an issue.

Child support payments are calculated using a formula established by the Utah State Legislature. When calculating child support, the court will typically evaluate relevant factors:

  • he needs of the child (health insurance, education, daycare, special needs, etc.)
  • The incomes of the parties
  • The paying parent’s ability to pay
  • The child’s standard of living prior to the divorce or separation

Though the above are considerations the Court may consider, the primary factors in calculating child support are the incomes of the parties, the custody arrangement, and the number of minor children which are issue of the marriage or relationship. There is very little room to negotiate child support once these factors are ascertained. Typically, the information from the aforementioned factors is inputted into a child support calculator, which then provides a number representative of a parent’s child support obligation.

In Utah, Alimony is not as easy to calculate as child support; it is a complicated number based upon a number of factors:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Fault (i.e. infidelity, abandonment, etc.)
  • The incomes (ability to pay)/needs of either spouse
  • The age of each spouse
  • The marital standard of living prior to the divorce
  • The asset and debt division in the divorce

Yes, and yes. Usually, spousal support must be reported as taxable income by the recipient, and these payments can also be deducted by the paying spouse. However, you and your ex-spouse can agree to keep alimony payments nontaxable and nondeductible in your marital settlement agreement. This would be useful in situations where the paying party does not need the tax deduction and the receiving party does not want to report the income. It is very important to work with a Utah divorce lawyer from Anderson & Rogers to determine what impact your spousal support payments will have, and what you can do to prepare for it.

No. Unlike alimony, child support payments are neither taxable nor deductible. If alimony and child support are lumped together into one regular payment (often called family support), the sum of that payment will be considered both taxable and deductible. This can have adverse effects for the recipient party, as he or she will be required to pay taxes on a greater amount of income. Consequently, it is important to distinguish between what money goes to child support and what goes toward alimony.

Yes. When spouses are unable to agree on the temporary living and financial arrangements prior to their final divorce settlement, a spouse may request a Temporary Order from a judge to help resolve critical issues, such as child support or alimony. Temporary Orders are especially useful in situations where the divorce process has been prolonged, or a spouse is refusing to offer financial assistance.

If you need financial assistance from your spouse, but don’t want to wait for the court to make a decision, an experienced Utah divorce attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you secure a Temporary Order from the Court. We will walk with you every step of the way in this process, so that you can focus on living your life.

  In general, a parent’s duty to pay child support ends when all of the parties’ children reach the age of majority (usually 18 years old); however, special situations may require a parent to continue paying child support even when the child is 18 years or older.

  • Incapacitated/Special Needs Children: Both parents have a responsibility to provide support for special needs or otherwise incapacitated children who are unable to care for themselves—regardless of their age.
  • “Adult” Children Attending High School: If an unmarried child turns 18 while attending high school, and is not self-supporting, the non-custodial parent is likely still required to provide child support.

In Utah, alimony can last for the total number of years the marriage was in effect; for example, if a couple was married for 15 years, the Court can order that alimony be paid for 15 years; however, alimony can be paid for a longer or shorter period of time if the court finds there are “extenuating circumstances,” or if the parties reach an alternative agreement approved by the Court. An alimony order will typically automatically stop when either spouse dies, if the recipient spouse remarries, or if the paying spouse can prove that the recipient spouse is cohabitating with a significant other, i.e. a boyfriend/girlfriend.

The issues of alimony and child support can be some of the most complicated and hotly contested issues in a divorce proceeding. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you in obtaining a fair and reasonable outcome on these very important issues.

Mediation is when a divorcing couple meets with a neutral third party to attempt to come to an agreement on the details of their divorce in as cost-effective and potentially amicable way as possible. A mediator can help spouses with a number of issues surrounding their divorce:

  • Dividing and distribute their assets, property, and liabilities
  • Establishing custody and parenting time schedules
  • Arranging for child support and alimony
  • And more…

Mediation describes a voluntary dispute process in which divorcing parties enlist the help of a third party to work toward a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediation is not decided in favor of one party or the other, but is rather a negotiation that benefits both parties.

Arbitration, on the other hand, is a process in which a neutral third party hears a dispute between two or more parties, as well as all the relevant information surrounding the dispute, and renders a final decision in favor of one of the parties.

Yes. Mediation represents an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, but it is still a legal process with legal impacts that will likely affect your life and the life of your family for many years to come. A mediator, often an attorney or judge, is prohibited from providing legal advice to either party. An attorney and advocate from Anderson & Rogers can prove to be an invaluable resource in helping you reach an equitable resolution in your divorce. Your attorney from Anderson & Rogers would work with you, the mediator, and the opposing party (or opposing attorney if one is present) to assist you in navigating the many issues that can present themselves in a divorce.

If you decide you would like an attorney to accompany you to mediation, be sure to find an attorney that supports the mediation process. Some lawyers view the mediation process as an opportunity to argue, rather than compromise, the details of your divorce settlement. The experienced Utah divorce attorneys from Anderson & Rogers strongly support the mediation process and helping couples work together to settle their divorce, particularly when children are involved.

  • Inexpensive: As opposed the expensive litigation process, taking your divorce case through mediation can be much less expensive.
  • Swift: Busy and often overloaded court schedules may delay your divorce hearing by several months. Mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled fairly quickly, and can take place in a variety of locations.
  • Simple: While a court hearing is bound by several complex legal procedures and rules, mediation is much less formal and can be much less intimidating for clients.
  • Confidential: With very few exceptions, the discussions and negotiations conducted in Mediation are confidential and may not be used in Court as evidence against another party. However, should the parties reach and execute a written agreement in Mediation, the terms of that agreement are enforceable and may be used in future court proceedings pertaining to the parties’ divorce.
  • Agreeable: The overall goal of mediation is to come to a resolution that both parties can agree on. The terms of this agreement are reached by the parties themselves, rather than imposed upon them by a judge. It is important to note that once an agreement is reached in Mediation, it should be filed with the Court. Then, the terms of the agreement will serve as the basis from which an Order should be prepared and submitted to the Court for approval and signature. When the Court approves and signs the order, it becomes an enforceable Court Order.

Mediation can be used at any time during the divorce process. Many couples use mediation as the first step towards settling their case. Others may opt for mediation during various stages of the litigation or arbitration process if they feel they can come to some sort of agreement. In the State of Utah, parties must attend at least one session of mediation before the case can be brought to trial.

On average, mediation sessions in domestic matters typically last at least two to three hours. However, depending on the nature of your divorce case, as well as the level of agreeability of the parties involved, mediation could potentially take much longer.

Yes, but necessary precautions and steps must be taken in order to ensure that your mediation agreement will be enforced. First, make sure everyone whose authority is necessary for a settlement is present for the mediation. If one or more parties are unable to attend, be sure to obtain their consent in writing before the mediation has been adjourned. All the terms of the settlement should be summarized and written on an agreement form (also called a Memorandum of Settlement) to be signed by all the parties involved. Because the issues discussed in mediation are considered confidential, anything included on the Memorandum of Settlement cannot be used as evidence in a court proceeding.

The cost of mediation will vary depending on the number and length of mediation sessions, and also the rates of the mediator. While most mediators charge an hourly or per-session fee, community-based mediation agencies or mediations ordered by a court will offer reduced rates. Overall, mediation is usually less costly than litigation; a private-practice divorce mediator may charge anywhere from $100 to a few hundred dollars an hour, depending upon the location of the practice.

A common misconception about adoption is that adoptive families need to be rich, childless, or homeowners in order to qualify for adoption. This is not the case. Successful adoptive families are committed to providing a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that will foster health development in children. Adoptive parents need to be able to demonstrate an ability to foster and sustain long-term relationships as well as emotional openness. They must also demonstrate a keen awareness and realistic expectation of the child’s needs, and how to access assistive resources.

Specific legal issues will arise during the adoption process, for which you may need wise legal counsel on your side:

  • Making sure the legal rights and responsibilities of the birth parents are properly terminated
  • Assisting an adoptive parent in obtaining the requisite background checks
  • Establishing an appropriate level of pre- and post-placement contact between the child and adoptive parent(s), and possibly even the birth parents
  • Helping with the legal steps necessary in transporting the adopted child across state lines
  • Assisting with the unique issues faced by gay, lesbian, and single adoptive parents
  • Reaching out to adoption agencies from other countries and negotiating their respective legal systems surrounding adoption

A knowledgeable, experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you throughout the adoption process by explaining the laws and regulations surrounding adoption and what options are available to you.

The adoption process can take anywhere from several weeks to a number of years, depending on a number of factors. Many people who are considering adoption fail to realize that it is a very involved process, involving several time-consuming steps:

  • Learning and making the preliminary decision about adoption
  • Choosing an adoption service provider, beginning the process of locating the right child for your family, and preparing an adoption budget
  • Completing a home study, and beginning the adoption process
  • Receiving a child referral from an international agency or a match with an expectant mother through a domestic agency and other legal means
  • Placing the child
  • Finalizing the adoption

Stepparent adoptions, though still potentially complicated, don’t involve some of the aforementioned steps and oftentimes take substantially less time and money to complete. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that prospective parents often encounter.

A home study is an essential part of the non-stepparent adoption application. More specifically, it is an assessment of prospective adoptive parents to see if they are suitable for adopting a child containing several detailed descriptions of the prospective adoptive parents, their families, and their living environments. In general, home studies must include the following:

  • An in-person interview with the prospective adoptive parent(s)
  • An evaluation of the physical, mental, and emotional state of those seeking to adopt
  • A description of the prospective adoptive parent(s)’s finances, living conditions, and ability to provide proper care for special needs children
  • A description of any counseling provides the prospective adoptive parent(s), or plans for post-placement counseling
  • Checks and inquiries into the criminal record(s) of those seeking to adopt as well as any adult member(s) of the household
  • An explanation of any previous rejections for adoptions or unfavorable results from previous home studies

Costs for an adoption can vary widely from $0 to up to $30,000 depending on the type of adoption. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you prepare an adoption budget, and provide wise counsel that will keep you from overpaying. What follows are some of the procedures, factors and considerations in various types of adoptions:

Stepparent Adoption

  • Termination the parent rights of the biological parent
  • Conducting background checks
  • Screening for a background of child abuse

Private Adoption

  • How soon you are matched with an expectant mother
  • Who will cover the birthing cost of the child
  • Travel costs if the baby is born in another state
  • Whether you work with an adoption agency or an adoption attorney
  • The supply and demand for babies of various ethnicities
  • Whether you will pay a separate legal fee for the finalization of the adoption

Public Adoption from Foster Care

  • Travel cost if the child lives in another state
  • Whether you have to pay for the required training course
  • The type of agency you work with (public child welfare agency, or a state foster child program)

International Adoption

  • The cost of adoption varies widely from country to country, affecting both the adoption fee as well as any travel costs associated with the adoption

While step-parents may adopt step-children, the adoption process is somewhat different than conventional adoption. For example, prior to adoption, a stepchild will need to have lived with the custodial parent and step-parent for at least one year. The step-parent filing for adoption must also be at least 10 years older than the stepchild, and obtain consent from both of the stepchild’s biological parents (consent from the non-custodial parent terminates that parent’s parental rights toward the stepchild).

  Once consent is obtained, the step-parent will be required to file the correct documentation with the court and attend a hearing to determine whether addition steps need to be taken. However, if consent is not obtained, it is possible that the adoption case could be taken to trial. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you file the proper adoption paperwork, and will aggressively represent your rights should your adoption case require litigation.

An open adoption describes conditions in which biological and adoptive parents have varying degrees of access to one another’s personal information as well as the option to maintain contact with each other and/or the child adopted.

Private (or Independent) Adoption: In this form of adoption, prospective adoptive parents work with an attorney throughout the adoption process. Private adoption typically places fewer requirements on adoptive parents than agency adoption. For example, many adoption agencies may set requirements on an adopting parent’s marital status, religious, age, and sexual orientation. With private adoption, whether or not a match is appropriate is completely up to the adopting parents and the expectant mother. Private adoption also typically offers a more flexible process for adopting parents. Attorneys often do not use waiting lists, so your adoption profile can be shown to expectant mothers as soon as is it ready.

Agency (or State) Adoption: Agency adoption typically offers more training and counseling services than what one might encounter with private adoption. For example, agency adoption services provide prospective adoptive parents with hours of training and preparation to help them on their path to adoption.

Preparing financially and emotionally for a divorce can appear overwhelming at first, but there are a few steps to consider that can make the divorce process more manageable:

  • Consult an Attorney: Before you decide to take any legal action, work with a qualified Utah divorce attorney. An experienced divorce attorney from Anderson & Rogers will act as your advocate in dealing with your spouse’s attorney and the Court. Furthermore, your attorney from Anderson & Rogers will help ensure your divorce proceedings are conducted fairly, correctly, and efficiently.
  • Gather Financial Information: Gather financial documents such as bills, mortgage statements, bank and credit card statements, titles and insurance information, and tax returns. This will assist you as well as your attorney in gaining a better understanding of the financial assets and liabilities you share with your spouse. This information will be important when deciding how to divide these assets later on.
  • Prepare for Post-Divorce Finances: Any income that goes into a shared account could be up for grabs in a divorce settlement. If you’re sure you want a divorce, it will be important to open a separate bank account, establish your own line of credit, and even open a post office box in your name. By taking such actions, you are protecting your assets and making sure that you have access to financial resources later on. Bear in mind, however, that by doing so, you are not necessarily creating assets that would fall outside of the marital property category; these assets still need to be accounted for in a property division.

Your interests will be best protected by working with an experienced Utah divorce attorney. A lawyer can assist you with protective services if abuse is motivating the divorce, work with your spouse’s lawyer to litigate or mediate your case, and handle the complex paperwork that comes with a divorce or divorce settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the lawyer can represent you in and outside of court proceedings to ensure that your best interests are being met.

Many factors weigh into whether you should stay in the house during and following the divorce process: the potential for violence or abuse, child custody, and financial concerns to name a few. In divorce cases involving abuse or violence of any kind, it is usually advisable to separate the victims from the offender during the divorce process. However, couples may choose to continue living together if the emotional or financial burdens associated with separating are too great.

Family counseling can be especially useful if the couple feels they cannot work through their divorce in a healthy or constructive way. Counseling also addresses the mental and emotional trauma that can result from a divorce, and help family members—particularly children—work through their anxiety, depression, or grief. A family therapist can also help the divorcing couple calmly discuss living arrangements and financial obligations. Notwithstanding the benefits of having a family counselor, such should be used in conjunction with sound legal advice from an experienced Utah divorce attorney.

o Unless a court has ordered such through legal instruments like a Protective Order, Temporary Order, or Decree, you are not allowed to keep your spouse from seeing the children—regardless of whether or not he/she is paying child support. If withholding visitation from your spouse goes against the terms of your divorce settlement or other Court order, you could potentially get in trouble with the law.

Costs and fees for a divorce can vary a great deal depending on the case; however, most, if not all cases include the following:

  • Fee to File the Petition
  • Fee to Serve the Petition and Summons
  • Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) Fees
  • Mediation Fees
  • Attorney Fees
  • Copying/Postage Costs
  • Divorce Education/Orientation Class Fees

Each case is different; however, cases rarely take less than three months from the time the initial divorce petition is filed with the court, due to the 90-day waiting period mandated by Utah law. Only under special and extraordinary circumstances will the court waive this 90-day waiting period. Depending on the complexity of the case and the mindsets of the parties and their respective attorneys, a divorce can be completed as soon as the waiting period is complete, or can be drug on for several months, even years.

An experienced Utah divorce attorney from Anderson & Rogers will seek to efficiently manage your divorce case so that it can be completed as soon as possible.

An uncontested divorce takes place when there are no disagreements between you and your spouse over any financial or divorce-related issues such as child custody and support, division of property, or marital support. An uncontested divorce can also take place when your spouse either agrees to the divorce or fails to appear in a divorce action.

A marital settlement agreement, also known as a stipulation, is a contract used in uncontested or negotiated/settled divorces. It describes the terms of the divorce, including property, asset, and debt division, child custody and support, alimony, and the visitation rights of both parties.

Not necessarily. Making an appearance in court is only necessary if the divorcing parties are not able to reach an agreement regarding the divorce. Court appearances are common if divorcing parties need temporary orders (orders from the court which the court enters while the divorce case awaits a resolution) or are in need of temporary relief for financial support or protection. Other than such proceedings, it may not be necessary to go to court until trial.

Before going to trial, the court will require the divorcing parties to make a final attempt to settle the case (or decide which issues will be addressed in court at trial) by attending at least one session of mediation and scheduling a pretrial conference.

If your case settles, it is very likely that you may never have to go to court in obtaining your divorce. An experienced Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers will walk with you through this difficult process and will help to protect your best interests whether or not you have to go to court.

Most retirement funds (including your 401(k)) are considered marital property to the extent that such funds were acquired or accrued during the marriage. As such, these funds will need to be divided in your divorce settlement. Divorcing parties may consider a variety of options in dividing retirement funds:

  • Cash Buyouts
  • Retirement Account Offsets
  • Property or Alimony Offsets
  • Actual Division of Retirement Funds

If the parties decide on actual division of retirement funds, such division typically requires the preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (Q.D.R.O.). This is a court order (approved by the retirement plan’s Plan Administrator and signed by a judge) that authorizes and details the distribution of such retirement funds. In making such distributions, there may be unintended tax consequences and penalties, which should be discussed with an accountant or financial advisor.

You can cancel your divorce any time before it is finalized. If you and your spouse reconcile prior to finalizing the divorce, a divorce can be dismissed before the judgment is entered. As experienced Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers can explain the options and consequences in doing this and can assist you in cancelling your divorce proceedings if you determine such action to be in your best interests.

In some situations, a separation may limit a spouse’s exposure to the debts of the other spouse. However, separated spouses may still bear some responsibility for debts incurred by their spouse prior to the separation and, depending on the wording of the legal separation agreement, even after separation.

Yes. As long as the spouses remain legally married, any health insurance coverage that was put in place prior to the separation may still be in effect unless it is cancelled or a party is removed from the insurance policy.

You do not need the court’s permission to separate from your spouse; however, obtaining a Decree of Separation from the court will help to establish the individual responsibilities for each spouse and can ensure that all marital debts, assets, and liabilities are properly divided (pending reconciliation). If the parties are unable to reconcile, the next logical step is to proceed to a divorce.

Providing support to spouses and children is still a responsibility of married persons, whether or not the couple lives together or separately.

No. Separation is an optional step spouses may take before filing for divorce. However, court orders are required to establish temporary provisions concerning financial support, parenting time, debt management and division, and other rights and responsibilities for the parties involved.

Most of the time, yes. Couples who are legally separated are still legally married, and therefore entitled to certain benefits in the event that one of the spouses passes away.

Yes, but drafting a legal document (like a separation agreement) without a lawyer can result in costly mistakes for the parties involved. Like any legal document, a separation agreement is binding, and must be drafted and reviewed with great caution. Consulting a Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers about your separation agreement will help to ensure that your rights and obligations are being addressed properly.

An Agreement between Parents: One option is for the parents to work with one another to agree on new child support payments. Once an agreement has been made, the parents can then ask a judge (typically through an attorney) to modify the Child Support Order. If the new child support terms are noticeably lower than the state’s guidelines, parents will need to show (a) that the new order is justified according to recent changes in either parent’s circumstances, and (b) that the new terms will still adequately provide enough support for the child.

A Disputed Modification: If an agreement cannot be reached, you may schedule a court hearing to argue your case. In order to receive a modification, you need to show that circumstances have substantially changed since the court issued the original order and that these changes are more permanent in nature. Consulting a Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers is highly recommended in such modifications, as these proceedings can have a sizeable impact on one’s long-term financial circumstance.

An Agreement between Parents: If both parents agree that a change in the custody terms needs to be made, they can make a formal request (in writing) to the court to have their custody agreement modified. Parents need to show that the changes in the custody order will be in the child or children’s best interest. A Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers can assist you in this process and in preparing the necessary paperwork to complete the modification.

Mediation: If parents cannot agree on the new terms of a custody agreement, the court may require them to meet with a mediator. It is beneficial to go to mediation with an attorney, as even a trained mediator is prohibited from providing you with legal advice. A Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers will be experienced in this type of proceeding and will prove to be a great asset during mediation.

Court: Under circumstances where an agreement cannot be reached after mediation, parents will need to go before a judge to argue their cases. Consulting a Utah divorce attorney at Anderson & Rogers will assist you in this process, helping to ensure that the best interests of yourself and your children are preserved.

Not likely, unless mutually agreed upon by the parties. A property division is final and can only be modified in very specific circumstances. For example, finding a mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect in the terms of the division agreement could warrant a change. You may also be permitted to change the property division agreement if you discover new evidence of a property’s actual value, or if you can prove your spouse lied about his or her financials.

Yes. Substantial material changes following a divorce may be grounds for a post-judgment modification of spousal support/alimony. This can be a complicated process, which a Utah divorce attorney from Anderson & Rogers can walk through with you. These changes may warrant either raising or lowering the payment amount, or eliminating payments altogether:

Change in Law: State laws pertaining to alimony can change periodically. If the law has changed since your divorce, you may be able to change the terms of your alimony payments.

Cohabitation/Remarriage: The paying ex-spouse may seek to lower or eliminate alimony payments if the recipient ex-spouse cohabitates or remarries; however, if the recipient party feels a decrease in support is unfair, he or she will be obligated to prove a continued need for support.

Cost of Living Increase: When inflation reduces the value of the alimony payments, the recipient may request to modify them.

Decreased Need for Support: If the recipient party gets a new job with a higher salary, or cohabitates/remarries, the court may reduce or cease the support payments.

Disability: Support can also be modified if a spouse is unable to adequately support himself/herself as a result of a physical or mental disability. A disabled recipient may request an increase in support; the paying party may request a decrease in support if he or she has sustained a disability.

Financial Emergency: Financial emergencies for either party (such as sizable medical bills) may warrant a temporary modification in alimony support payments.

New Support Obligation: If the paying party remarries and has a child, the court may reduce the payment amount. This would not necessarily apply to an ex-spouse who remarries and voluntarily becomes financially responsible for step-children.

When if your ex-spouse violates the terms and conditions of your Divorce Decree, you have the right to bring the matter back to court. At Anderson & Rogers, we understand the emotional burden that often accompanies divorce cases. We will help you with the paperwork, serve your ex-spouse with the correct paperwork, and even represent you in court. These enforcement proceedings are referred to as Order to Show Cause proceedings, and they typically require a court appearance unless an agreement is reached outside of court.

The court will want to ensure that child support is being paid. A party may bring an Order to Show Cause proceeding against a non-paying ex-spouse to enforce the order of the court. The party ordered to pay child support may have wages or financial accounts garnished and may be responsible for your court costs and attorney’s fees. If the ex-spouse still refuses to pay, more drastic steps such as the interception of tax refunds, the seizing of property, or even jail time may be taken.

Child support payments are calculated using a formula established by the Utah State Legislature. When calculating child support, the court will typically evaluate relevant factors:

  • The needs of the child (health insurance, education, daycare, special needs, etc.)
  • The incomes of the parties
  • The paying parent’s ability to pay
  • The child’s standard of living prior to the divorce or separation

Though the above are considerations the Court may consider, the primary factors in calculating child support are the incomes of the parties, the custody arrangement, and the number of minor children which are issue of the marriage or relationship. There is very little room to negotiate child support once these factors are ascertained. Typically, the information from the aforementioned factors is inputted into a child support calculator, which then provides a number representative of a parent’s child support obligation.

In Utah, Alimony is not as easy to calculate as child support; it is a complicated number based upon a number of factors:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Fault (i.e. infidelity, abandonment, etc.)
  • The incomes (ability to pay)/needs of either spouse
  • The age of each spouse
  • The marital standard of living prior to the divorce
  • The asset and debt division in the divorce

Yes, and yes. Usually, spousal support must be reported as taxable income by the recipient, and these payments can also be deducted by the paying spouse. However, you and your ex-spouse can agree to keep alimony payments nontaxable and nondeductible in your marital settlement agreement. This would be useful in situations where the paying party does not need the tax deduction and the receiving party does not want to report the income. It is very important to work with a Utah divorce lawyer from Anderson & Rogers to determine what impact your spousal support payments will have, and what you can do to prepare for it.

No. Unlike alimony, child support payments are neither taxable nor deductible. If alimony and child support are lumped together into one regular payment (often called family support), the sum of that payment will be considered both taxable and deductible. This can have adverse effects for the recipient party, as he or she will be required to pay taxes on a greater amount of income. Consequently, it is important to distinguish between what money goes to child support and what goes toward alimony.

Yes. When spouses are unable to agree on the temporary living and financial arrangements prior to their final divorce settlement, a spouse may request a Temporary Order from a judge to help resolve critical issues, such as child support or alimony. Temporary Orders are especially useful in situations where the divorce process has been prolonged, or a spouse is refusing to offer financial assistance.

If you need financial assistance from your spouse, but don’t want to wait for the court to make a decision, an experienced Utah divorce attorney from Anderson & Rogers can help you secure a Temporary Order from the Court. We will walk with you every step of the way in this process, so that you can focus on living your life.

In general, a parent’s duty to pay child support ends when all of the parties’ children reach the age of majority (usually 18 years old); however, special situations may require a parent to continue paying child support even when the child is 18 years or older.

  • Incapacitated/Special Needs Children: Both parents have a responsibility to provide support for special needs or otherwise incapacitated children who are unable to care for themselves—regardless of their age.
  • “Adult” Children Attending High School: If an unmarried child turns 18 while attending high school, and is not self-supporting, the non-custodial parent is likely still required to provide child support.

In Utah, alimony can last for the total number of years the marriage was in effect; for example, if a couple was married for 15 years, the Court can order that alimony be paid for 15 years; however, alimony can be paid for a longer or shorter period of time if the court finds there are “extenuating circumstances,” or if the parties reach an alternative agreement approved by the Court. An alimony order will typically automatically stop when either spouse dies, if the recipient spouse remarries, or if the paying spouse can prove that the recipient spouse is cohabitating with a significant other, i.e. a boyfriend/girlfriend.

The issues of alimony and child support can be some of the most complicated and hotly contested issues in a divorce proceeding. An experienced Utah family law attorney from Anderson & Rogers can assist you in obtaining a fair and reasonable outcome on these very important issues.

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