Category: Divorce

divorce attorney

7 Questions to Ask In Your First Meeting With a Divorce Attorney

Choosing a divorce attorney is one of the most important divorce-related decisions you will make. Many people choose an attorney based on personal recommendations from family and friends, but it’s still wise to do your research and ask the right questions when considering who to hire.

Family law is a complex specialty and you want to make sure you are working with someone who is qualified and has the experience needed to handle your case. We’ve put together 7 questions to ask in your first meeting with a divorce attorney so you can be sure that attorney is the right one for you and your case.

Questions to Ask In Your First Meeting With a Divorce Attorney:

1. How long have you been practicing family law, and what aspect of family law do you specialize in?

2. What do you need to know from me?

3. What can I expect the divorce process to be like?

4. What is your retainer up front? What will I be charged for and how much?

5. What can I do to keep the cost of my divorce down?

6. What is your strategy for my case, and how long do you expect it will take to resolve?

7. What should my next steps be after this meeting?

There’s no question that going through divorce is challenging and stressful and taxing. When it comes to finding a divorce attorney you can trust, coming prepared for the first meeting with your divorce attorney will help make the process go more smoothly.

How We Can Help

Are you considering separation or divorce? Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney who can help guide you through the process.

property division

Property Division in Divorce–Introduction

CLASSIFICATION OF SEPARATE PROPERTY AND MARITAL PROPERTY IN A UTAH DIVORCE—Introduction: Three Circumstances Under Which Presumption of Retention of Separate Property Can Be Overcome

By: Zachary C. Lindley, Esq.
Gallian Welker & Beckstrom, L.C., St. George, Utah

Undoubtedly, property division is at the crux of all drawn-out and contentious divorces. The classification of separate and marital property raises both traditional and nuanced issues, while never arriving at a hard-and-fast rule on how to make a determination as to when otherwise separate property becomes marital property. This blog post, followed by its three corresponding segments, is intended to provide the reader with a foundation as to how courts in Utah have classified separate and marital property under a diverse set of facts.

During a property division in Utah at the dissolution of a marriage, there is an “overriding consideration…that the ultimate division be equitable—that property be fairly divided between the parties.”[i] When so dividing property, there is a general presumption that each party retain his or her separate property—“married persons have a right to separately own and enjoy property, and that right does not dissipate upon divorce.”[ii] Marital property ordinarily includes all property acquired during the marriage, while separate property typically includes premarital property, gifts, inheritances, which also includes any appreciation that may accrue during the marriage.[iii] However, Utah courts have consistently found otherwise separate property is “not totally beyond the court’s reach.”[iv]

There are three circumstances identified in Utah under which the presumption of retention of separate property can be overcome: (1) the separate property has been inextricably commingled so as to lose separate property character; (2) the other spouse has augmented, maintained, or protected the separate property; and (3) in extraordinary circumstances when equity so demands.[v] Courts are given broad discretion in dividing property upon dissolution of the marriage.[vi]

In the following three (3) segments to this introductory blog post, we will explore each of the aforementioned exceptions to presumption of retention of separate property—namely, (1) commingling, (2) augmentation or maintenance, and (3) extraordinary circumstances.

 

[i] Granger v. Granger, 2016 UT App 117, ¶15, 374 P.3d 1043 (internal citations and quotations omitted); see also Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5.

[ii] See Lindsey v. Lindsey, 2017 UT App 38, ¶32, 392 P.3d 968 (internal citations and quotations omitted).

[iii] Id. at ¶31.

[iv] See Sandusky v. Sandusky, 2018 UT App 34, ¶12, 417 P.3d 634.

[v] See Dunn v. Dunn, 802 P.2d 1314, 1320 (Utah Ct.App 1990); see also Mortensen v. Mortensen, 760 P.2d 304, 308 (Utah 1988).

[vi] See, e.g., Clarke v. Clarke, 2012 UT App 328, 292 P.3d 76; Elman v. Elman, 2002 UT App 83, 45 P.3d 176.