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What is the sequence of events in a Utah divorce?

Let us say you have recently become a Utah resident and your spouse has just served you with a petition for divorce. Whether you anticipated this, or it came from out of the blue, you likely want to know what is going to happen as you go through a divorce in our state.

Starting off

Could a legal separation be a better option than divorce?

Ending a marriage is not easy, and although it is much like a divorce, a legal separation might be preferable for several reasons.

In the state of Utah, legal separation is more properly called an action for “separate maintenance” and begins with the filing of a petition in the local court.

Do you know how to prepare for divorce mediation?

If you were going to have a traditional divorce in court, you would have to come prepared. It is no different with mediation.

However, preparing for mediation should be less stressful since a judge will not be involved in the negotiations between you and your spouse. Here are five tips to help you get organized.

Important elements of a divorce mediation

In many cases, mediation can be very beneficial in lessening the stress of divorce. When choosing if mediation is the right option for your divorce, it is important to understand the process fully so that you can make an educated decision.

There are a few important elements that you should consider for successful divorce mediation.

Parenting plan considerations when one parent lives far away

Your job is taking you out of Utah, but this will necessitate a new parenting plan and custody orders. The last thing you want is to disrupt your relationship with your child.

What can you include in the modified plan to give you ample opportunities to keep your parent-child bond strong?

What if my ex is harassing me about my child support spending?

Like many single parents in Utah with primary custody, you may feel as if you would not be able to get by without child support. Your ex might also have strong feelings about the money he or she must give you for the well-being of your children. It can be worrying if your ex says you need to provide receipts for what you spend the money on, or that the court will monitor your child support spending.

You can breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that you do not have to provide receipts or tell your ex how you spend child support, or that neither your ex nor the courts can dictate your spending. As you know, the physical well-being of your children is a priority when it comes to spending this money. Therefore, you might choose to spend it on food, clothing, hygiene products, medicine, school supplies and other items that benefit your kids. You can also spend child support on household products, utilities, rent and expenses related to keeping you and your children safe and comfortable.

How to cope emotionally during a divorce

No couple wants their marriage to end in divorce. Fortunately, the rate of divorce has declined in both Utah and the United States as a whole in recent years. While the rate has stabilized, divorce is still common when two partners can't make a marriage work.

There are many things to review during divorce proceedings, and through discussing the child custody agreement and determining who will get what, it is easy to neglect your emotional health. Here are some ways to heal as you go through this challenging time: 

3 child custody mistakes to avoid

Divorce is a time filled with difficult moments and important decisions that you must make under emotional duress. In addition, if you are a parent, you have your children's well-being to consider, and you must put their best interests at the forefront of your divorce proceedings.

Child custody is notoriously fraught with conflict and trauma, especially for the children. However, it does not necessarily have to be a dramatic and conflictual battle. Here are a few tips about things to avoid when dealing with child custody, so you can make the process easier and less disturbing for your children:

Can you modify a child custody order in Utah?

The end of divorce often comes with great relief, as the worst part is over. However, post-divorce life is not smooth sailing from here. Everyone must make major adjustments and deal with the emotional aftermath. The regular challenges of life continue to happen, as well, and new obstacles arise.

When your circumstances change again, you may find that your current custody arrangement is no longer working for you, your ex or the children. You may wonder if there is anything you can do about it or if you are stuck with the custody terms of the divorce order. If your situation meets certain requirements, then you can seek a modification. Note that modifying your custody arrangement will also affect child support and parenting time.

Is mediation always a good idea?

We have discussed the numerous benefits of mediation in recent posts. However, you and other Utah residents who are considering divorce may wonder if mediation is a one-size-fits-all solution. Are there some factors in your divorce that may make mediation more difficult? Is litigation sometimes the better option? Can you overcome difficulties during the mediation process and still make it work?

As you know, mediation’s benefits, such as privacy, cost-effectiveness and reduced conflict, can be inviting. However, some factors are likely to complicate the process. These may include the following:

  • Your spouse abused alcohol or drugs while you were married, and you worry that addiction may still be a problem.
  • Domestic violence or emotional abuse was present during your marriage.
  • Your spouse has significantly more funds and separate assets than you, which he or she is using as a financial advantage over you.
  • You and your spouse are unable to communicate without arguing, and negotiating or being open-minded to mutually agreeable solutions is nearly impossible.
  • Your spouse is deliberately being difficult and combative during mediation sessions.
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