Salt Lake City Family Law Attorneys
Analytical and Personal Lawyers Protecting Your Family Rights
The attorneys at Christensen Law are analytical advocates who seek to take a personalized and customer-oriented approach to their litigation methods, especially in the vein of family law, as they understand family legal issues can be sensitive subjects. With the legal assistance of Christensen Law, though, you can be sure that you are well-equipped to brave the courtroom or negotiations room; from alimony to child custody to property division, the Salt Lake City law firm can help you make the right decisions for your family.
Alimony is an important element of separation negotiations, and Utah allows either spouse to request spousal support during the divorce process. When considering a request, the judge will evaluate the following factors to determine the type, amount, and duration:
- 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.
The court may also consider a spouse’s fault (marital misconduct) that caused the breakup of the marriage, such as adultery, physical abuse, or threats to the other spouse or children.
Child Custody Options in Utah
For separating couples who share children, custody will be an important matter to negotiate. Parents can either work out a custody arrangement on their own or go to court to have a judge decide the arrangement. In either situation, the custody order will address physical and legal custody of the child, where physical custody is where the child lives, and legal custody is a parent’s right to make educational, medical, religious, legal, or even cultural decisions for the child.
Visit our page on Child Custody in Utah to learn more specifics about these two custody options.
A court will evaluate a proposed custody arrangement or determine one for the parents by examining how the arrangement will serve the child’s best interests. Primary factors to be considered include:
- the child’s physical and emotional needs;
- the child’s relationship with each parent;
- the distance between the parents’ residences;
- each parent’s physical and mental health;
- the child’s ties to the community, sibling relationships, and relationships with extended family members;
- each parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- either parent’s history of domestic violence;
- the child’s preference if of sufficient age and maturity; and
- any other factor the court deems relevant.
It is possible to modify an existing child custody order if there has been a material change in circumstances affecting the child or parents, or if more than 3 years have passed since the previous custody order. When evaluating a modification request, the judge will accept or deny the change based on whether the modifications serve the child’s best interests.
Complex Property Divisions
In addition to child custody, property division will be an important topic of negotiation, especially when it includes common property like the family home, personal property like jewelry and furniture, and financial assets like earned incomed and benefits. Utah approaches property division according to equitable distribution that is fair and reasonable (not necessarily 50/50) based on each spouse’s contribution to the marital property and their projected future needs.
Note that the discussion around property distribution will depend heavily on what property belongs to the marriage (marital property) and what property belongs to the individual spouses (separate property). Generally, marital property is anything acquired or earned during the marriage, including earned income. Separate property is anything that belonged to one spouse before marriage and was kept separate throughout the marriage, such as gifts or inheritance given only to one spouse (even during the marriage). However, separate property that is commingled with marital property renders it marital property by law, as it becomes property used for the benefit of the marriage, even if it began as separate property.
Let Christensen Law Guide You
If you are facing family-related legal issues right now following a separation from your spouse, do not hesitate to contact a family lawyer to help you navigate the legal aftermath. Whether you have concerns regarding alimony calculations, child custody orders, and property division methods, an experienced lawyer can help. The advocates at Christensen Law have years of experience guiding clients through their family law matters and can help you navigate your negotiations in the courtroom and the mediation room.
I will never be able to thank them enough. Best law firm ever.- Michaela H.
I would recommend this firm to anyone and plenty of people I know have used them.- Rebecca Z.
Steve has made history with our case, fighting a nearly impossible case and won- Holley P.
I cannot recommend and thank them enough!- Christian J.
Steve has been great to work with!- Former Client
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