Provo Divorce Attorneys
In the face of emotional vulnerability, it’s no time to let your guard down
As you might imagine, divorce and its attendant issues represent one of the most emotionally charged areas of family law. At Fillmore Spencer LLC, our Provo divorce attorneys vigorously represent your best interests in all aspects of divorce, but also ensures you understand the process and get all of the information you need to make intelligent decisions.
We represent you in all aspects of divorce
As practitioners of family law, Fillmore Spencer LLC’s Provo divorce attorneys are attuned to the emotional and financial stresses that can accompany the dissolution of a marriage. So we not only seek to provide you with the best possible representation, but make sure you are comfortable with the judicial process, what’s required, court actions and the strategies we advance when it comes to such issues as:
- Child custody and child support — The court often awards custody of the children to one spouse, though split custody is possible. Any form of joint custody requires the filing of a parenting plan with the court, which we can help you develop. Visitation agreements provide for the rights of the noncustodial parent, but may be limited if this parent has a history of domestic or drug abuse. Utah judges use guidelines to estimate basic child support and anticipated medical and child care expenses, but have discretion to consider other factors as well.
- Alimony — You don’t have to be divorced to qualify for alimony payments. In certain circumstances, a judge can award temporary spousal support soon after the petition for divorce is filed. “Permanent” spousal support isn’t really permanent — it cannot exceed the length of the marriage, and terminates if the recipient remarries or cohabitates with another.
- Dividing property — Utah calls for equitable distribution of assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Assets and debts acquired prior, and inheritances acquired during, the marriage, are not split. “Equitable” distribution does not necessarily mean assets and debts are split 50-50: The court considers both spouses’ respective economic prospects, work experience, and contributions to the household during the marriage in arriving at a formula it considers fair.
Residency requirements and grounds for a Utah divorce
There are only a few requirements for filing for divorce in a Utah district court and our Provo divorce attorneys are trained on each one. One of the spouses must reside in the county in which the application for divorce will be filed for at least three months before the filing can be made. Members of United States armed forces who are not legal residents of the state but stationed here under military orders must also meet this residency requirement.
Every divorce petition filed in Utah must state the grounds for which divorce is based. There are two “no-fault” grounds for divorce:
- The spouses have irreconcilable differences, or
- The spouses have lived “separate and apart,” without cohabitation, for at least three years.
Of course, that’s if the spouses agree there is no fault. If a divorce is contested, the petitioning spouse may prefer to cite, and must be prepared to prove, at least one of the following grounds for divorce:
A waiting period — and divorce mediation — are mandatory
An uncontested divorce tends to take less time and cost less than a contested divorce. Whether contested or not, Utah law requires 90 days to pass after the petition’s filing before a court hearing can be scheduled. That period can be shortened if minors are involved, but each spouse must complete a mandatory two- to three-hour educational course for divorcing parents.
If any aspect of the proposed divorce is contested, the court will not schedule a hearing until the couple has made at least one legitimate attempt at divorce mediation. The couple must pay for the mediation, but state assistance may be available to help cover costs. A couple can be excused from mediation in certain circumstances; for instance, if one spouse has a record of domestic violence and the other feels unsafe in their presence.
Same-sex divorce in Utah
Same-sex marriage was not legal in Utah until recently and, as of this writing, only briefly. On December 20, 2013, a U.S. district judge struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violated the equal protection rights of gay and lesbian couples. More than 1,200 same-sex marriages were performed in Utah over the ensuing week. The state of Utah then sought a temporary stay of the ruling until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit could rule on the state’s appeal, but the same judge denied the request. On January 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Utah’s request for a stay, putting everything on hold.
So for three weeks, same-sex marriage was permitted in Utah. Whether the U.S. would release the stay, or hear the entire matter, remained to be seen. Our Provo divorce attorneys and lawyers are watching developments, but in the meantime continue to counsel heterosexual and same-sex couples on legal issues regarding their domestic partnerships.
Retain an experienced Provo divorce attorney even if your divorce is uncontested
The advantages of retaining a knowledgeable lawyer in a contested divorce are obvious, but retaining an attorney in an uncontested divorce gets you time- and cost-saving guidance and helps ensure you do not overlook all your options nor compromise your rights. To learn more about how Fillmore Spencer LLC helps you achieve a divorce that’s complete and final, schedule a free initial consultation with us by calling (801) 426-8200 or contacting us online.