Bountiful Attorney Represents Clients Throughout Divorce
Bountiful attorney Victoria Cramer handles a full spectrum of family law matters on behalf of clients, including the myriad issues that go along with divorce. Going through a divorce can be one of the toughest processes you ever go through in life, and Ms. Cramer recognizes that in order to meet your needs she must intently listen to your questions and concerns. Ms. Cramer knows that no two divorce cases are alike and strives to meet the unique needs of each client and every situation. You will receive the individualized attention you need to get through the entire divorce process.
General Information on Divorce in Utah
In order to file for divorce in Utah, a residency requirement must first be met. You or your spouse are required to live in one Utah county for at least three months prior to the file of the petition for divorce. There are several “fault-based” grounds for divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion, but most divorces are “no-fault” and based on irreconcilable differences between the spouses.
Some spouses are able to complete the divorce process without disagreement over issues such as child custody, support or the division of property. If, however there are areas of dispute in your divorce, you will be required to go through mediation before trial. Issues that often need to be resolved are child custody, child support and visitation rights.
To obtain a divorce in Utah, the husband or wife must file a petition for divorce in district court.
Attorneys usually draw up these documents for the Petitioner (otherwise known as the Plaintiff
or person filing for divorce).
The initial petition often demands much more that the Petitioner expects. Do not worry if your
spouse claims that they cannot support themselves and therefore wants you to pay all attorney fees.
Attorneys often use the initial petition as a wish list.
The Respondent (also known as the defendant or the person who didn’t file the divorce) has 21
days to file an Answer if Respondent resides in Utah. The Answer does not need to be lengthy
and does not need to tell the “whole story.”
When a court order is needed to establish child support, alimony or to take care of property, I
usually file a motion for temporary orders. A hearing will be needed before the court makes a
ruling on the motion.
Discovery is the process of gathering information that will build and strengthen your case at trial.
During discovery, you will gather favorable information about yourself for your attorney to
present to the court. Both parties will need to make full income and asset disclosures. In Utah
Rule 26.1 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure requires mandatory disclosures of income and
production of two years of tax returns.
In Utah all contested cases have to be mediated before a licensed mediator. I usually select
former judges as mediators or very experienced mediators. Majority of cases get settled in
If your case has not been settled in mediation, a court will schedule a pre-trial conference.
During the conference the trial date will be set.
Although a very small percentage of all divorces go to trial, this figure varies substantially
according to certain factors, including salary level, length of marriage, and your spouse’s
occupation. The length of your trial will depend on the time the court allocates and the number
of complexity of issues to be decided. Your trial may last anywhere from a few hours to a few
The Petitioner presents evidence first by calling witnesses and presenting exhibits. Once the
Petitioner “rests,” it is the Respondent’s turn to make his or her case. After both sides have
rested, the court may permit the Petitioner to present “rebuttal” testimony by responding to the
Most lawyers do not use opening or closing arguments in divorce trials, but some courts do allow
Utah Child Custody Matters
If mediation fails to bring about a resolution, the court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. The judge considers many factors in making this determination, including the age of the child, the physical and mental health of the parents, and any history of domestic violence. The result may be the awarding of full custody to one parent or partial, joint custody between the two parties. It is important to be represented by a skilled and knowledgeable Bountiful family law attorney capable of arguing persuasively for the result you desire.
Child Support Information
Parents are required by law to support their minor children. The Utah Child Support Guidelines determine the amount of a parent’s support obligation. The three key components of the guidelines are:
- base child support;
- medical care; and
- child care expenses.
Diligent legal representation from a careful and attentive Bountiful divorce lawyer is essential to a proper determination of support. Care must be taken to ensure that both parties are accurately reporting their income, particularly in complex situations where one spouse is self-employed, owns part of a business, or has complicated assets such as stock options and profit-sharing plans.
Paying Child Support and Alimony During Covid19
Companies are laying off and furloughing employees across the country, with those furloughed
unsure that they will be employed after the stay at home order is lifted in their state. These are
common concerns many of our clients express to the Covid-19 crisis.
With these worries, they may not have jobs to return to and consequently, they will not be able to
pay their child support and/or alimony obligations.
“I was furloughed from my employer for the next few months and cannot make payments during
this time. What do I do?”
Unfortunately, your support and/or alimony obligations do not automatically stop if you can no
longer afford to pay them. Additionally, if you do not pay child support, you can be held in
contempt of court, your driver’s license can be suspended and you might be ordered to pay a
certain amount or a lump sum payment.
If you are experiencing this situation, please contact me so we can explore options together.
The courts still are open and remotely conducting hearings. A motion can be filed requesting for
a temporary abatement or hold, of your obligations during this time. You still should pay what
you can during tis time to show the court that you are making a good faith attempt to pay and not
completely avoiding your court ordered obligation. If you can pay something, do it.
“I was laid off from my hob and cannot make the support obligations. I have applied for
unemployment. What can I do?”
To change or modify your obligation you must show a substantial change in the circumstances
that were not foreseen at the time the original agreement or order was entered. If your
circumstances become permanent and you are laid off, you can seek to modify your child support
and/or alimony by filing for a modification.
Again, it is always suggested that you pay what you can, even if that means a portion of your
unemployment income. Unemployment compensation also is considered income for purposes of
calculating child support. You also should make an attempt to seek new employment and
maintain record keeping of all job applications submitted as proof of your efforts.
Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Bountiful
If divorce is a solution you are contemplating, please contact attorney Victoria Cramer to schedule a consultation. Located in Bountiful, Utah, the office serves clients in Utah, Davis, Weber & Thoele counties. Ms. Cramer will place your concerns at the forefront and provide you with knowledgeable, ethical representation.