Family Law Services
At Pro-Say, we have focused a great deal of our legal practice on helping good people get through bad situations like divorce and custody. The following list of family law matters is a non-exclusive list of some of the types of issues we are able to help with.
Going through a divorce can be a grueling experience. Not knowing everything you might be entitled will just make it worse. Why? Because if you don’t know to ask for something, the court won’t grant it to you!
We advise our clients of all their legal rights in a divorce case, which could include getting custody orders, parenting plans, child support orders, alimony and property division orders – such as division of personal property, real property, retirement accounts, dividing up business assets, and dividing up debts.
Custody / Parentage Actions:
Having a proper custody and parent time plan for your child might be the most important court order you ever get. If your parent plan is vague or found to be unlawful, your custody orders might be held unenforceable when you need them the most. Thus, we always advise parents going through a custody matter to discuss their concerns with an attorney and ALWAYS have an experienced custody attorney review their documents before filing, if not just have an attorney draft the documents.
Often time child support is included in divorce and custody orders. However, sometimes those orders are left out, or in rare cases, sometimes parents just want child support without the attached parent plan.
If you are seeking child support, you need to be aware that calculating child support isn’t always as straight forward as it may seem. Just because your ex is unemployed, it doesn’t mean a court will treat him or her as having $0 income! However, proving what he or she is capable of earning may not always be straight forward. This is where speaking to an attorney can really help make the difference between getting a fair child support order or not
Domestic Order Enforcement / Order to Show Causes:
Already have your orders, but your ex won’t follow them? Well, then bring him or her to court and make them explain why they can’t follow the law! People often become frustrated that no one cares when people break the law. The reality is that the courts often do care. It’s just that they can’t do anything about a broken order if no one brings it to their attention.
If you are able to get into court and prove the violation occurred, courts can order financial judgments, payment of attorney’s fees, make up parent time, community service, and in extreme cases, jail time. Courts can be even more creative in their rulings.
However, before any of that happens, a motion for order to show cause needs to be filed and the case needs to be properly before the court. This is where things can get complicated and this is where you should discuss your concerns with an attorney.
Do you need to take responsibility of a child who just lost their parent? Maybe their parents are unfit? Maybe you just need to get documentation that you are the one already caring for a child? If any of these scenarios apply, you may want to file for a guardianship to get care and control of a child. Before you file though, it is important to know the rules and responsibilities of being a guardian so that you don’t have legal troubles down the road.
Registering a Foreign Decree:
Have an order from another state, but the state of Utah won’t recognize it? You may need to register the decree in Utah, which will make it an official Utah order.
Is your ex about to move out of state making your current custody and parent time order impossible to follow? If so, you may be entitled to an expedited hearing to have your custody/parent time order modified.
These often take place as part of divorce and custody actions. These hearings can get you into court relatively quickly to get orders of custody, parent time, child support, alimony, and debt divisions.
This is where most divorce and custody cases finally resolve. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to discuss their concerns and try to come to fair agreements between themselves before putting the case in front of a judge who knows very little about the case. Being unprepared for mediation can lead to wasted mediator fees, or worse, making regrettable deals that can’t be undone. While parties are free to mediate without attorneys, it is highly advised to bring one with you to make sure you don’t end up with a regrettable deal and that you have someone who can draft the stipulation exactly the way it was intended to be drafted.
Not long ago, Utah courts began allowing parties to resolve their custody and parent time issues in informal trials. The reason behind this was to reduce time and costs for parties in these types of significant matters. While attorneys are allowed to have limited participation in informal trials, they cannot speak during the trial and attorneys do not present evidence or testimony. While the lack of attorney involvement is great if you have time and cost concerns, the lack of attorneys also often means the court gets less of an opportunity to learn your facts and rule properly. Enlisting an attorney to help you prepare for your informal trial can make all the difference in the world in succeeding in your trial – especially if the other party has done the same!
If there has been domestic violence or accusations of domestic violence in your relationship, Utah courts have wide discretion on issuing protective measures when a protective order is requested. Protective orders can be of tremendous value to survivors of domestic violence, but unfortunately, they are sometimes used as tools to get an advantage in a custody / divorce case instead of a tool to get protection. Protective orders have significant consequences, oftentimes unintended and unforeseen. People also commonly misinterpret the actual value of a protective order and over-value what it will actually accomplish for them - and then not realize that until it's too late. Therefore, it's highly recommended to speak to an attorney before your actual court hearing.