Do I have to hire an attorney, or can I represent myself?

You do not have to have a lawyer to represent yourself in court.

Then why hire an attorney?

Because the law is complex.

In an attempt to be both efficient and as fair as possible to as many people as possible, the law has become very complex.  A simple mistake can result in the loss of important rights and opportunities.  As part of my offer for a FREE 30 minute consultation, I will try to explain to you what you would need to do in order to accomplish your legal task on your own.  Then, you will be able to best decide whether to hire a lawyer to represent you, or whether your issue is simple enough to navigate the legal system on your own.

I am considering divorcing my spouse.  When should I meet with an attorney?

You should meet with an attorney as soon as you have questions about a divorce.

The decision to file for a divorce is one of the most significant decisions an individual can make, and as with any decision, information is tremendously valuable. In addition, there are some problems that may be best dealt with before the divorce is even started. Meeting with me will allow you to make an informed decision on how a divorce can impact your current and future rights to your property, your children, and many other potential areas.

How does the court determine who will have custody of my children?

Usually, the court will use several factors to determine what is in the best interests of your children.  These factors are outlined by statute (law) in the Utah code § 30-3-10.  However, these factors have had additional meaning given to them throughout the years by the courts, and there are several other issues that may impact the courts decision.This one decision by the judge usually has a lifelong impact on everyone involved.  By allowing me to represent you, you will be much more likely to be able to effectively help the court understand what you think is best for your children.  I cannot guarantee that the judge will agree with you, but you owe it to yourself and your children to give yourself the best chance you can by hiring an attorney who understands the potential issues that can arise in a custody battle, especially in a decision that will have such a tremendous impact.

How is child support determined?

In Utah, the courts will use a simple equation to determine how much child support will be paid.  This equation creates a “presumption” that the courts usually, but not always, follow.  Usually, the court will add your income to the income of the other parent.  If you earn 20% of that total income, you will pay 20% of the total child support.  If you earn 90% of that total income, you will pay 90% of the total child support, and so forth.

While the use of an equation makes the outcome seem easy to determine, there are several ways that mistakes can be made when child support is determined.  Some of these mistakes can lead to the loss of thousands of dollars, either by the party receiving the child support, or by the party paying the child support.  By allowing me to represent you, you will benefit from my learning and experience allowing you to avoid many of these mistakes.  These are important issues that you want to get right the first time.

How is property divided in a divorce?

Utah law states that property will be divided equitably, or fairly.  This also includes debt.  There are several factors that the court will use to determine what is fair, including considering who owned the property before the marriage, what personal value the property may have to one of the parties, whether one of the parties has a need for the property (for example, tools for a business, or the house to raise the kids).

The list of factors that a court can use to divide property is long, and the decision can have a serious economic impact on everyone involved.  Having an attorney to represent you will give you a much better chance of receiving your portion of the marital property.  In representing you, I will explain to you potential factors the court may consider and give you a much better chance at getting your share of the marital property.