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Family Law Questions
The big difference between a Divorce and an Annulment is that an Annulment makes it so that the State does not recognize you were ever legally married. An Annulment literally erases the fact that you were once married. For example, after obtaining an Annulment you would not have to disclose for any purpose that you were “divorced,” you would simply be considered “single.” To obtain an Annulment you do have to qualify under specific and limited requirements set by the State.
It Depends! This is the most frequent question we are asked when representing clients in a Divorce. There are so many factors that dictate how long your Divorce will lastthat make it impossible for us to predict exactly how long it will take.
Whenever a custody issue is presented to a judge in court, the judge’s duty is to uphold the “best interest of the child.” In order for a judge to determine which parent should have custody, or if custody should be split, in an attempt to do what is best for the child, the judge will consider various factors to help make this decision. These factors are specifically listed within the appropriate State statute.
Child support is the most objective issue to determine when dealing with a Divorce. Child support is calculated with a State created calculator. All attorneys must use the same calculator and thus the same calculation. Simply stated, both parties have to produce verification of their income, whether through pay stubs, bank statements or tax returns. Both parties verified income is imputed into the calculator. The calculator then “spits out” the minimum amount that must be paid for child support purposes.
Alimony is the most subjective issue to determine when dealing with a Divorce mostly because the State does not use a calculator to decide how much Alimony should be paid, if any at all. Like child custody, the judge is instructed to evaluate a specific list of factors specifically listed in a State statute to determine whether one party should be awarded alimony and in what amount. The judge’s duty when dealing with Alimony is to “equalize”the parties’ financial position.
If the parties to a Divorce cannot agree on how often and during what times the non-custodial parent can receive visitation then the decision will default to a pre-determined visitation schedule that is found within a State statute. Generally speaking, a non-custodial parent, at a minimum, will receive visitation for three hours during one weekday and every other weekend from Friday through Sunday. The parties will rotate all the major holidays.
Most of the time the parties to a Divorce have divided their personal belongings long before they actually file for a Divorce. However, if the parties have not agreed on who gets what piece of property then the judge will try to make an equitable division of any item of property in dispute. The State of Utah is a “Equitable Distribution” state, which means both husband and wife are equally entitled to any piece of property or asset that is acquired during the course of the marriage. Thus, both parties are entitled to an equitable division of all assets and property.
Being a “Equitable Distribution” state also means that in the State of Utah, in most cases, both parties are equally responsible for all debts incurred during the course of the marriage. Again, the judge’s duty is to make sure the debts are divided between the parties equitably.