Better understanding family law

32761117_SNavigating the legal waters of divorce can be tricky and overwhelming, especially given the sensitive nature and emotional strain that comes when two people make the decision to end their marriage.

An attorney who understands your needs is imperative to making the process as smooth as it can be under these trying circumstances. Ryan E. Simpson assists hundreds of clients each year and has a great deal of experience in family law matters.

What falls under the umbrella of family law

Utah recognizes two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on any issues encompassed in a legal dissolution, such as property division, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony. A contested divorce is one where the two involved parties cannot agree on common terms, and it is at this point a court process will begin to determine a resolution in the case.

When a couple gets a divorce in the state of Utah, the court will determine how property is divided by considering any real estate holdings, household items, retirement assets, 401k, stocks, bonds, pensions, collectibles, and any credit card debt or other liabilities incurred during the course of the marriage. Debts and assets accumulated during a marriage belong to both participants of the union. An equitable division of property is the intent of the court’s judgment and many factors come into play in the decision making process, such as length of the marriage or the specific individual needs of a spouse.

Some couples may have established a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Prenuptial agreements will clearly address any issues of property brought into the marriage, and in these such cases there will be less need for court involvement in determining who gets what in the event the marriage comes to an end.

Taking children into account in family law cases

When children are involved, divorce can be much more complex. The process will still entail all of the property arrangements as listed above, but will also include the ruling on what type of custody the parents are given. The court will award legal custody, which allows the parents to make decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, and medical choices, and physical custody which is the decision on where the child will reside.

Legal and physical custody can be sole or joint depending on what the courts rule is the best option for the child. Sole legal custody means that one parent has total authority when making decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, and medical needs, while sole physical custody means the child lives primarily with one parent. Joint legal custody means both parents are involved in the legal decisions regarding the child, and joint physical custody is when the child splits their time between the two parents’ households equitably.

If one parent has sole custody, the other parent may be granted visitation with their child as determined by the court. Visitation is usually scheduled so that children can be guaranteed time with each parent, and so that children can know what to expect with their daily schedules and adjust positively to their new situation and living arrangement.

Another item to be determined is child support, which the courts decide by determining the gross income of the parents, and what type of physical custody each parent has. If the child resides primarily with one parent, then the other parent will likely be required to pay a set amount each month as determined by the Utah court system. The main goal of the courts during a divorce involving children is to keep the children’s best interest in mind and ensure the arrangements agreed upon by all parties benefit the child above all.

Life can be challenging during a divorce, but a qualified attorney skilled in family law can make the process a little less daunting. Ryan E. Simpson P.C. is committed to helping clients directly and to facilitating family law in Sandy, Utah. If you are in need of representation, please visit our website to request a free consultation.

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