Frequently Asked Questions About Getting A Divorce In Utah

FAQs 2017-07-21T13:07:10+00:00
Are there tax advantages to adopting? 2017-07-03T20:27:02+00:00

Yes. The federal government, and some states, give adoptive parents tax credits for the expenses they spent on adoption. This allows adoptive families to recoup the money spent adopting their child. The federal adoption credit is currently $13,170, which means many adoptive families will recoup most, if not all, the money spent on their adoption.

How much does adoption cost? 2017-07-03T20:25:09+00:00

That is a great question. The answer is “it depends.” If you go through an agency, some charge relatively little ($4000 to $10,000), while some charge quite a lot ($15,000 to $40,000). It also depends on where the adoptive child comes from. Domestic adoptions (i.e., adoptions of children from the U.S.) usually cost less than international adoptions (i.e., adoptions of children from outside the U.S.). International adoptions regularly costs $30,000 or more. Cost also depends on what type of child you wish to adopt. Unfortunately, minority children usually cost less to adopt than Caucasian children.

There is also a non-agency adoption route called private adoption. This route requires more work of the adoptive parents, but can prove to be significantly less expensive than agency adoptions. The usual cost of a private adoption is somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.

What happens if someone does not consent to an adoption? 2017-07-03T20:22:16+00:00

If someone does not consent to an adoption, he or she must either inform a court of an objection in writing with thirty days of receiving notice of the adoption, or must appear at the adoption hearing and tell a court his or her objection. If this happens, things become much more complicated because there are two parties arguing they have legal rights to the child. Your best course of action in a contested adoption circumstance is to hire an attorney.

Can stepparents adopt their stepchildren? 2017-07-03T20:20:54+00:00

They may. Stepparent adoptions have slightly different procedures than non stepparent adoptions (e.g., the adoptive child must have lived with the custodial parent and stepparent for at least one year), but generally follow similar rules. Once a stepparent has adopted his or her stepchild, the rights of the biological parent are terminated.

How long before you can finalize an adoption? 2017-07-03T20:20:03+00:00

For non stepparent adoptions, the time is six months. For stepparent adoptions, the time is one year.

Who must be notified of an adoption? 2017-07-03T20:19:19+00:00

That depends on the adoption, but the general rule of thumb is anyone who must give consent must be notified of adoption proceedings. Notice must be given at least thirty days before any proceeding. Here are a few examples of those who must be notified: (1) legally appointed guardian(s), (2) your spouse, (3) a parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, (4) anyone who acts as the child’s parent and lives with the child.

Is consent required to adopt? 2017-07-03T20:18:39+00:00

Yes, almost always. Usually, the birth mother gives consent to adopt more than twenty-four hours after the birth of the adoptive child. Consent may be given to a judge, or (more often) to a judge’s representative, such as an adoption agency. Consent, once given, cannot be withdrawn.

Consent may also be required from the birth father if the baby was born within a marriage, or the unwed father meets certain legal criteria (e.g. adjudicated father, filed voluntarily declaration of paternity, etc.)

A child may also give consent to an adoption if the child is more than twelve years old and mentally competent.

Consent may not be required if a child’s parents are deceased or their rights have been terminated by the State.

How much older must an adoptive parent be than an adoptive child? 2017-07-03T20:17:32+00:00

Ten years.

Who may adopt? 2017-07-03T20:15:09+00:00

Married adults who have permission from their spouse, and single adults who are not cohabitating.

What law governs Utah adoptions? 2017-07-03T20:14:16+00:00

The Utah Adoption Act governs Utah adoptions.

What if We Don’t Come to an Agreement During Mediation? 2017-06-30T18:01:57+00:00

If, on the off chance, mediation does not result in an agreement, the parties may begin or continue the litigation process. Additionally, it is often the case that even if mediation is not successful on the first attempt, parties may return to it when they realize how costly, time-consuming, and stressful the litigation process is.

What if My Situation Is Too Complicated for Mediation? 2017-06-30T18:00:51+00:00

Honestly, there are not many situations too complicated for mediation. The parties understand the dispute, and when they have educated the mediator regarding their points of view, the mediator will be able to help them negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.

Do Lawyers Have to Be Present During Mediation? 2017-06-30T18:00:15+00:00

Simply put, No. Oftentimes, couples seeking a divorce will go to a mediator instead of lawyers to negotiate the terms of their divorce. When conducted by a quality mediator, these lawyerless mediations reduce stress and produce good results at a price far less than divorces in which each party hires an attorney.

Can Lawyers Be Present During Mediation? 2017-06-30T17:59:17+00:00

Yes. People may want a lawyer present to help ensure a fair mediated agreement is reached. In fact, in many cases it is preferable to have a lawyer present during mediation to help the parties evaluate offers being made and discuss options and risk.

Note: It is almost always a good idea to have an attorney review a mediated agreement before signing it.

What if I Cannot Make it to Utah for Mediation, or the Parties Live Far Apart? 2017-06-30T17:58:44+00:00

This is only a minor inconvenience. Mediation is often done via conference calls. The success of the mediation is not dependent on being in the same room, but is dependent on the skill of the mediator and the willingness of the parties to negotiate.

Do I Have to Be in The Same Room as the Other Person During Mediation? 2017-06-30T17:56:08+00:00

This is a common question, especially in divorce and child custody situations. The answer is, “No.” If you do not get along well with the other person, then mediation can be done by what is called “caucus” where the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles between the parties.

Is Mediation Confidential? 2017-06-30T17:54:32+00:00

Yes, in Utah what happens in mediation stays in mediation. Neither party can use what is said during mediation in a subsequent court proceeding. Likewise, the mediator cannot divulge what was said during mediation.

How Long Does Mediation Take? 2017-06-30T17:53:49+00:00

Many mediations last between three to four hours. If the dispute is more complicated, then more time may be necessary. If more time is necessary, then mediation can be broken up into multiple sessions on different days, depending on the parties’ wishes and schedules.

How Does Mediation Work? 2017-06-30T17:53:04+00:00

The mediation process is actually quite simple, especially when contrasted with the litigation process. Initially, people with disputes agree to mediate, find a mediator, and schedule a mediation. Mediation usually takes place within only a few weeks of initial contact with the mediator. The mediator will usually ask for short typed summaries of the dispute and what exactly each party wants to accomplish during mediation. (If litigation has already begun, the mediator will likely ask for court documents that explain the dispute.) During mediation, each party will tell the mediator about the dispute from their point of view. The mediator will then ask the parties to identify the issues in dispute that need to be resolved. From this point, the mediator will help the parties openly negotiate until each of the issues in dispute is resolved in a way that (1) is acceptable to the parties, and (2) is mutually beneficial.

Once a mediated agreement has been reached, the mediator writes the agreement, and the parties review and sign it. When signed, the agreement becomes a contract and is enforceable in court. (If the mediated agreement is in the context of a parties seeking a divorce, the agreement can serve as the basis for a Decree of Divorce.)

How Much Does Mediation Cost? 2017-06-30T17:51:20+00:00

This is often people’s first question, so let’s address it first. While the cost of mediation depends on the complexity of the dispute, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, etc., what is without doubt is mediation is less costly and less stressful than litigation. The hourly cost of mediators themselves varies widely, depending on the mediator’s experience, skill, and education. If lawyers represent the parties during the mediation process, costs will be higher. Again though, mediation is much less costly than litigation.

Who Can Serve As A Guardian? 2017-06-30T17:50:24+00:00

Many states tend to prefer that guardians be related to the individual or that they have some established relationship whenever possible. However, this is not a requirement for serving as a guardian. It is most important that they are over the age of 18, and can make the decisions for the person they are serving as guardian for with the best interests of that person in mind.

Because of this, convicted felons and those who have been determined to need a guardian themselves should not serve as a guardian for another person. Some people serve as guardians professionally, an institution, either public or private may also be appointed as a guardian if they are not providing services where they may benefit from depending on the decisions they make for the person they are guardian for. Financial institutions sometimes act as guardians for matters related to a person’s estate.

A Limited Guardianship 2017-06-30T17:49:32+00:00

A limited guardianship looks at the individual capabilities of a person or the prospective guardian, and a court order will outline specifics where a guardian is necessary and when it is not. For example, a person may be qualified to make everyday financial decisions, such as buying groceries or personal items, but will not have the mental capability to understand making financial investments. In this case the individual may need a guardian for major financial decisions only.

What Types Of Guardianships Are Available? 2017-06-30T17:48:16+00:00

A person may need a guardian for different areas of their lives. They may be considered “incapacitated” in one area, but may be fully qualified to handle their own care in another.

Guardianship of the person oversees the physical and emotional well-being of the person they are guardian of. They will be called on to make decisions regarding health care, releasing confidential information, when necessary, and placement in a residential facility.

Guardianship of the estate oversees the person’s financial interests, including any income, inheritance, property, or real estate that they own.

When Is A Guardian Necessary? 2017-06-30T17:47:37+00:00

Different guardians are appointed by the court when parents are deceased or determined incapable of making choices for their children, or when an adult is deemed incapable of managing some or all of their own affairs. Simply being disabled does not mean an adult needs a guardian. It must be demonstrated that they lack the capacity to make decisions in a number of different areas including health care, living arrangements, education, financial matters, and care of minors they may be legally responsible for.

In order to appoint a guardian for an adult, it must be determined that the individual is incapacitated, the guardian is qualified, the guardianship itself will protect the individual and help to keep them safe.

Who Is A Guardian? 2017-06-30T17:46:55+00:00

A guardian is a person whom the court appoints to manage certain affairs for a child under age 18, or an adult who has been determined not to have the ability to manage these affairs for themselves.

Do I Need A Lawyer? 2017-06-30T17:46:17+00:00

Yes. Each party should have their own attorney to ensure their rights and specific concerns are properly addressed in the document.

What Can You Include In A Prenup? 2017-06-30T17:45:34+00:00

Most prenuptial agreements address how property, assets and debts will be divided in the event of divorce. Some may also include stipulations for spousal support, inheritance or what will happen to your business. Prenups cannot address child custody, visitation or child support issues.

How Does A Prenup Protect Individuals? 2017-06-30T17:44:53+00:00

Prenuptial agreements will protect your assets and property. They can also protect you from assuming your spouse’s debt.

What Is A Prenuptial Agreement? 2017-06-30T17:44:18+00:00

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document between two people who will be married. The document needs to be drafted and signed before marriage. A prenup is designed to protect both parties in the event of divorce.

How Long Will My Divorce Take? 2017-06-30T17:43:34+00:00

The length of the divorce process can vary depending on the individual issues surrounding the divorce. In most cases, it will take a minimum of three months from the time the petitioner files for divorce before a judge signs the divorce decree, making it final due to Utah’s 90-day waiting period. Divorces that are contested, or that have several complex issues to be resolved, will often take additional time.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Utah? 2017-06-30T17:42:51+00:00

Divorces in Utah can be no-fault divorces or fault divorces. The grounds for divorce determine which type it will be. In most cases, couples seek a no-fault divorce because the process is simpler, faster, and less expensive.

Two of the grounds that may be listed on the petition are no-fault grounds, which include irreconcilable differences and living apart for three consecutive years without cohabitation under a decree of separate maintenance by any state.

For a fault divorce, certain grounds must be proven to file a fault divorce. The grounds can include:

  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • Committing adultery
  • Willful desertion by the respondent for at least a year
  • Willful neglect by the respondent to provide petitioner common necessaries of life
  • Habitual drunkenness of respondent
  • A felony conviction
  • Cruel treatment resulting in bodily injury or mental distress
  • Incurable insanity
Are There Special Requirements To Get A Divorce In Utah? 2017-06-30T17:42:16+00:00

Special requirements apply to Utah divorces if there are unsettled or contested issues in the divorce or if the couple has minor children. Contested issues require that the couple go through the mediation process to try and work out as many of their issues as possible without asking a judge to make the decision. When the couple has minor children, they are required to take divorce education classes before a divorce can be issued.

Who Can Get Divorced In Utah? 2017-06-30T17:41:21+00:00

The law states that at least one of the people getting the divorce needs to have lived in a single county within the state for three consecutive months before filing a divorce petition. If there is a custody issue with minor children, in most cases the children need to have resided with at least one of the parents for six months before the divorce petition is filed.

Travis Jenkins
Travis Jenkins
15:53 06 Jun 17
I can't say enough good things about Marco Brown and his team from Brown law. Marco is unlike most attorneys in previous experiences (Arrogant, abrupt and lack compassion). He is kind, compassionate, very competent and willing to take the time to get an in-depth understanding of what's going on, before determining the best course. He and his team created a positive experience that is very straight forward. Instead of guessing “who” is the most qualified law firm for your case. I would highly recommend that you contact Marco Brown at Brown Law.read more
Stephanie Jorgensen
Stephanie Jorgensen
19:51 10 Mar 17
I recently received an e-mail for "clients past, present, and future" for a seminar on budgeting. I wasn't able to attend, but I wrote back and told them if they every had another one I would love to attend. Apparently my e-mail got buried, but once Marco found it he immediately sent me an e-mail and told me he would be happy to meet with me to discuss budgeting. I told him that in the interim I had found myself an attorney (a former classmate of mine,) and so I didn't feel like I could take up his time. He told me that didn't bother him a bit and to go ahead and come. So I went to his office and he took an hour of his valuable time to help me learn how to budget effectively. I greatly appreciated his selflessness. He has also been willing to cheerfully answer my follow up questions. I am grateful to him for his willingness to help me!read more
Paul Springer
Paul Springer
18:36 15 Jun 17
I highly recommend Marco Brown Law. Marco Brown, represented me in an injury case that occurred out of state. He worked tirelessly to represent me, including flying out of state to my deposition, and navigating the challenges of working with someone who lives out of state. He and his team were quick to answer any and all of my questions, and Marco would often call me after hours if we were unable to talk during the day to make sure that I was abreast of any new developments. I admire his work ethic, integrity and honesty, throughout the entire process. If you are looking for a lawyer who will fight for your interests, Marco Brown and his team will not let you down.read more
Erika
Erika
03:53 22 Jun 17
I had some simple questions regarding my parental rights when it came to issues with custody and my ex-husband. I contacted Mr. Brown himself and he didn't hesitate one second to answer my questions. Not only did he take the time, but he answered them thoroughly with a detailed response that set my mind at ease. It was obvious he was well versed in family law - specific to Utah and child custody issues. I was impressed with the professionalism and knowledge, but was also impressed with the kindness and care that was shown to me during a difficult time in my life.read more
Jeremy Thomas
Jeremy Thomas
20:00 17 Jul 17
We were well represented by Brown Law. I have had a difficult time with some other law firms that I have paid and they don't return my calls or answer e-mails, even when I was asking for the final bill! Mario responded very quickly to every question with a prompt and complete answer. When you are going through a difficult time in life it is very comforting to have reliable representation like we received from Brown Law.read more
BethAnne Swenson
BethAnne Swenson
20:50 17 Jul 17
I am just finishing up my deals with Brown Law, and not only are every attorney and person I have dealt with at this firm very good at what they do, they are kind and compassionate, and personable. I felt well cared for, by real people who cared about me as a person as well as my case. When I hired them I told them I wasn't interested in a long drawn out affair, and I feel like they stuck with their promise to move things along as well and as quickly as possible. I have recommended them to people I would again in the future.read more
Nathan Wall
Nathan Wall
04:40 21 Jul 17
Marco is an incredible attorney. I am an opposing family law attorney and have had numerous cases against him over the years. He does his clients a great service. He knows when to be aggressive & when to be reasonable. That saves his clients $. He thinks outside the box and comes up with very innovative ideas that get cases settled and clients moving on with their lives. If I ever can't take a case, I refer it to Marco. I don't respect any attorney more & couldn't agree more with him being named the Family Law attorney of the year by the Utah State Bar Family Law chapter.read more
Ur Saldana
Ur Saldana
04:35 08 Aug 17
Marco and his team of legal professionals are top-notch! The are eager to update me on my case and make sure I'm prepared for any upcoming legal situation. Marco is down-to-earth and relates well to his clients, but more importantly, he relates well to the judges and commissioners he goes before. He has a great reputation as being open and honest with them and they know that he is not pulling any stunts. Marco uses a calm, cool demeanor that is very compelling and and luring to the commissioner that we went before. He has given me excellent advice and strategies for my case, even when I wasn't sure about following his advice at first. In the courtroom, his strategies produced the results that I wanted. I can give a five-star rating with no reservations for Marco and his team. A+++++read more
Cara Journigan
Cara Journigan
20:12 10 Aug 17
Brown Law was a pleasure to work with and helped me with my case every step of the way. They made a difficult situation less stressful for me. McKenzie was fantastic and represented me and my case well in court. I look forward to working with Brown Law in the future and appreciate everything that was done for me.read more
Steven Tingey
Steven Tingey
21:44 06 Sep 17
As a tax and estate planning attorney I have relied on and referred many clients to Brown Law, LLC for family law matters. The attorneys at Brown Law are efficient, well organized, responsive and skilled in their practice of law. I recently had the privilege of working with them, as co-counsel, to resolve a matter with probate and family law issues. They were great to work with and were very effective for our client.read more
Larry Nowak
Larry Nowak
16:19 13 Sep 17
I went to Marco for some advice and instead of trying to take my money he sat me down, talked about all my options and told me that hiring an attorney for my situation was not the best way to go. He helped me with paperwork and sent me in the right direction. The most honest, reputable attorney I have ever met. Would highly recommend him to anyone and everyone I know.read more
sodany hy
sodany hy
15:22 03 Oct 17
I was a bit nervous about the whole process at first but after my consultation, I was confident that they were the team for me. It was quick and easy, nothing like I had imagined. Everyone there is friendly and they were always there to answer any questions I had.read more
Tara Reilly
Tara Reilly
16:49 03 Oct 17
As a new family law attorney, I sought out Marco's mentorship based on his reputation, expertise and innovative business model. Marco has been extremely generous with his time and resources and genuinely cares not only about his clients but his colleagues and fellow attorneys as well. Marco is all about providing value, whether it is to his individual clients through his representation, the general public through his informative blog, or to other members of the bar through his service and mentorship. Thanks, Marco!read more
Jorge Dulanto
Jorge Dulanto
01:45 05 Oct 17
I am happy with the service, this group is very good, fast, with  good work ethics and very professional ,McKenzie and Jodi kept me informed through the entire process, and I feel really comfortable with Brown Law.read more
Jon Farrington
Jon Farrington
18:20 04 Oct 17
Great law firm ran by a terrific guy. Marco is by far the most personable, genuine and intelligent lawyer I know. Won't be dissapointed.
Erica Arcangelo
Erica Arcangelo
00:30 24 Oct 17
After interviewing a few different firms in the Salt Lake area, I hired Marco and his team for a difficult interstate paternity and child support case that included some unusual legal arrangements that had previously been made from the case several years before. I was living out of state and unable to travel back and forth to UT to work face-to-face with Marco and his staff, but I was kept well-informed and received prompt responses to my emails and phone calls either from Marco, McKenzie, one of the firm's associates, or Jodi, the Office Manager. They worked together to produce a strategy that led to the case eventually being ruled in our favor, and this was no small feat, considering the numerous and questionably ethical strategies attempted from the defendant's side.While legal issues are typically something one does not look forward to, it is possible to have some peace of mind through the process if you are working with the right firm. Marco and his associates were that kind of firm for me with my case and I would hire them again should the need arise.read more
Ric Heaton
Ric Heaton
18:13 20 Nov 17
Marco is exactly the type of attorney you want to have on your side, he is level-headed, concise and driven. The legal expertise he and his team provide has been extremely beneficial for my family and me.read more
Catarino Gambino
Catarino Gambino
03:01 30 Nov 17
Marco was very helpful in my court case he did an outstanding job in representing my rights as a father thank you.
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