Resolving problematic family issues is a daunting task. Domestic disputes are often characterized by considerable frustration and anxiety. Many people are overwhelmed when they encounter these types of situations. As a result, most of us tend to delay addressing these difficult issues until it is too late. Our attorneys are experienced in assisting clients to navigate the complex legal and procedural issues associated with family dispute resolution in the areas mentioned below.
Adoption proceedings are often the most enjoyable proceedings of our legal system, certainly this is the case for happy couples who have been searching for a child to care for and love. Kelly & Bramwell’s lawyers have considerable experience in bringing families together through adoption proceedings.
Some adoption proceedings, however, are not welcomed by all parties involved. Certain adoption cases involve the termination of parental rights due to allegations of severe physical abuse or neglect. These proceedings seek to strip parents of the fundamental right to rear children. As such, they are frequently contested and are almost always complicated. Our lawyers have experience in helping caring family members protect children from deplorable home environments. The attorneys of Kelly & Bramwell also have significant experience in safeguarding the rights of parents who have been wrongfully accused.
For more information: Utah State Courts
The purpose of alimony is to restore the former spouse in need of support as nearly as possible to the standard of living enjoyed during marriage, See Jones v. Jones, 700 P.2d 1072, 1075 (Utah 1985), or, when appropriate, to equalize the standards of living of the respective divorced spouses. See Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5(8)(c).
When making an alimony determination, the Court considers:
(i) the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
(ii) the recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
(iii) the ability of the payor spouse to provide support;
(iv) the length of the marriage;
(v) whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children;
(vi) whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse; and
(vii) whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse’s skill.
The Court may also consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony. See Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-5(8)(b).
Kelly & Bramwell’s attorneys are seasoned in securing alimony awards for deserving former spouses. Similarly, they are highly competent in defending against unmerited alimony claims.
A child support award in Utah is determined by a formula set by the Utah Legislature. This formula may be found at Utah Code Ann. 78B-12-301. The amount of support awarded under the formula is contingent on the number of children, the custody arrangement related to those children, and the respective incomes of the parents. Consequently, to determine a child support amount a judge must do the following: (i) establish a custody arrangement; (ii) establish the relative incomes of the parents; and (iii) apply the legislative formula based upon the number of children.
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Child Support Calculator
Contempt of Court
Unfortunately, parties do not always comply with court orders. Child support and alimony payments go unpaid. Insurance and healthcare costs are not reimbursed. Child visitation is wrongfully denied. In these situations it may be necessary to initiate contempt proceedings (otherwise known as an Order to Show Cause) to seek redress from the court. Kelly & Bramwell’s lawyers have significant experience in righting the wrongs committed by parties who ignore orders of the court. We are similarly well-versed in defending parties against baseless accusations levied by a vindictive opposing party.
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The goal of custody proceedings is to ensure that the children’s best interests are met in the physical custody arrangement. In determining the children’s best interests, the Court considers the following factors:
(i) the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
(ii) which parent is most likely to act in the best interests of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent;
(iii) the extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child;
(iv) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest;
(v) whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
(vi) whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
(vii) the geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;
(viii) the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody;
(ix) the maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;
(x) the past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;
(xi) any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnaping; and
(xii) any other factors the court finds relevant.
There are three different physical custody arrangements: sole physical custody; joint physical custody; and split physical custody. Sole physical custody is the traditional custody arrangement whereby one parent is designated as the custodial parent with whom the children reside and the other parent is designated as the noncustodial parent whom the children visit during prescribed dates and times.
Joint physical custody is a custody arrangement whereby the children spend significantly more time with both parents, residing in the home of each parent for overnight stays at least thirty percent (30%) of the year. See Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-10.1. The joint legal custody arrangement is further described in Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-10.2 and in Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-10.3.
Split custody is a custody arrangement whereby some children reside with one parent while other children reside with the other parent.
Custody arrangements should not be entered into lightly following a separation. Arrangements agreed to even on a short-term basis may seriously affect the rights of the parents during court proceedings. Accordingly, it is highly advisable that you consult a legal professional before making a custody schedule.
Divorce proceedings are frequently characterized by animosity and can be emotionally taxing. Consequently, many parties are tempted to do anything to “get it over with.” In the short term, this approach may actually relieve stress. Sadly, this is often a recipe for disaster and can exponentially increase stress and anxiety for years following a divorce. Many parties to divorce proceedings come to regret the hasty decisions made in the heat of the moment. Kelly & Bramwell’s attorneys are experienced in guiding parties through divorce proceedings to help parties make the right decisions at the right time.
Divorce Decree Modification
Under certain circumstances, a divorce decree or custody order may be modified to satisfy the parties’ needs better. Kelly & Bramwell’s lawyers have assisted numerous clients in obtaining the required changes.
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Utah Divorce Decree Modifications
Under Utah law a party who has been subjected to abuse or domestic violence, or who is likely to suffer such, may seek a protective order (commonly referred to as a “restraining order”) against a domestic cohabitant. A protective order may prohibit an accused party from contacting the victim and from going to the victim’s residence, school, or place of employment. Further, a protective order may give the victim temporary custody of children and temporary possession of property.
Protective order proceedings should not be overlooked or taken lightly. Abuse victims rely on these proceedings for protection and peace of mind. Conversely, a protective order may devastate a person who is wrongfully accused of abuse. A protective order seriously affects certain constitutional rights otherwise enjoyed by the accused and may temporarily affect child custody and visitation. Kelly & Bramwell’s attorneys have extensive experience in prosecuting and defending parties in protective order proceedings. We have assisted several abuse victims secure the requisite protection. Likewise, we have assisted the wrongfully-accused to obtain their rightful vindication.
For more information:
Protective Orders Statute
In uncontested divorces Kelly & Bramwell prepares and reviews documents in consultation with the parties who amicably discuss and agree on the terms of their divorce. An uncontested divorce is the quickest and most economical means of procuring a decree of divorce. Follow the link for a free quote for the cost of your Utah Uncontested Divorce.
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Utah Divorce Forms
Following a divorce or separation of parents, it is presumed under Utah law that it is in the best interests of children to have meaningful relationships with both parents. Consequently, both parents should be afforded liberal visitation (otherwise known as parent-time) free of interference from the other parent. Parent-time schedules should not be entered into lightly following a separation. Arrangements agreed to even on a short-term basis may seriously affect the rights of the parents during court proceedings. Accordingly, it is highly advisable that you consult a legal professional before making a visitation schedule.