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Read & Read

October 29, 2020

Utah’s Mandatory Divorce Education Courses

If you are divorcing and have children together both parties are required to take Utah’s mandatory Divorce Education Course and mandatory Divorce Orientation courses.

The court requires both parties complete the divorce education and orientation courses.  If you are the petitioner in the case, you must take the course no later than 60 days after filing the petition, or if you are the respondent you will have 30 days to take the courses from the time you are served the petition. The course is provided by USU Extension provides the online courses, a link can be found on the court’s website. https://www.utcourts.gov/specproj/dived/ Additionally, it is the petitioner’s responsibility to serve notice of the requirements to the respondent. As your attorney, at Read & Read, we prepare the notice and have it properly served.
It is important to know that the courses must be taken and certificates of completions submitted to the court before the court will sign the final divorce decree, or even schedule a temporary order hearing.  They are separate courses, but can be taken at the same time and are generally offered live, through video instruction, or online. Due to COVID-19, the courses are only available online at this time. Once you have completed each course, you will be provided with a separate certificate of completion for each course, which should be downloaded and forwarded on to your attorney at Read & Read to file with the court, or if you are representing yourself, you will need to provide the certificates directly to the court.
The classes combined will take three hours, so plan accordingly. You can take the courses in one sitting, or on different dates/times. The cost for the two classes is $65.00 ($30 for Divorce Orientation, and $35 for Divorce Education).

Oftentimes people feel very frustrated with this requirement. However the courses provide great information about the divorce process including things like what happens after divorce, the positive and negative aspects of divorce, financial and legal aspects of divorce, etc. They also provide important information for parents about how children experience divorce, tips on how to discuss divorce with the children, what should be discussed with the children and what should not. Many people feel this is common sense information, but divorce is an emotional time for parents leaving it difficult to remember that is also very difficult for the children. For so many people divorce is unchartered territory, and these courses can answer questions you may worry about when it comes to children and your divorce. If you want additional resources, reach out to Read & Read, LLC. We can help.

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Read & Read

October 24, 2020

Social Media, Technology, and Your Divorce

In today’s world, it is unusual to find someone who does not have an online presence, whether through social media, blogs, professional networking, comments on electronic articles, etc. Social media has become the land of oversharing, where unintended consequences may be looming. The information you post on social media can be permanent, even with privacy settings. It is quick and easy to post the details of an entire week within minutes—leaving a time stamped, potentially permanent record online.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Fact Sheet, as of June 12, 2019, 72% of the public was using some type of social media.[1] At the time their research was published, YouTube and Facebook were the most widely used platforms with Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Reddit not far behind. These numbers were published prior to the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has become an increasingly important social outlet, and new platforms have become increasingly popular, like Tik-Tok. No doubt, they provide entertainment and keep people connected, but with so much of our lives displayed on social media and our reliance on text, email, snapchat, instant messaging, etc. to communicate, it is important to know how technology and social media might impact your case.

If you are involved in a Family Law matter, it is important to understand anything you post online, text, snapchat, email, etc., and anything you have on your electronic devices may become evidence in your case. Courts have allowed social media information in cases, where its relevance can be established. This means that even if your accounts are private, that information could be used against you in court.

First and foremost, change each of your passwords to any email and social media accounts (along with any other online accounts you have). It is a good idea to open a new email account to use for communication with your attorney, and if you have a confidential question for your attorney, contact your attorney or their assistant via telephone.

Social Media.

You should assume that every online post is being read by your spouse and your spouse’s attorney. With this in mind, we offer the following guidance when it comes to social media:

  • Do not post pictures of yourself with new significant others.
  • Do not post pictures of your children during the pendency of your action.
  • Do not change your relationship status during your case.
  • Do not post pictures of yourself partying or throwing parties at your home, at bars, at clubs, etc.
  • Do not post pictures of or about purchases you have made, and do not sell any personal property during divorce proceedings, unless you and the opposing party have agreed to it in writing. This could be used against you if alimony is an issue and for purposes of property division.
  • Do not disparage your spouse or your spouse’s family and friends online, and do not allow any of your family or friends to do the same.
  • If your privacy settings are “public” change them to “private”.
  • You may need to reach out to friends privately and ask them not to “tag” you in photos or posts, or post information about you or your children.

Email.

You should also go about your life assuming your spouse or ex-spouse’s attorney is reading every email you send and receive.

  • Emails can easily tell a story and most certainly create a paper trail to be used in court.
  • Do not name-call or make threats to the other party.
  • Remember that you cannot merely erase or “recall” an email. Once it is out there, it is out there.

Texts and Instant Messaging.

  • You can bet that your spouse’s attorney is reviewing and saving each of your texts and instant messages, meaning they also create a paper trail and will likely show up in court if needed.

Audio and Video Recordings.

  • With smart phones, any interaction or conversation can be recorded. In Utah, only one party needs to consent to the recording, so you can safely assume that your conversations and interactions are being recorded.

Internet Searches and History.

  • Your search histories and sites you access online using your phone and computer could be accessible to the other party’s attorney.
  • Even if you delete the histories, the information can be retrieved.

While this information has been provided in the context of protecting you, it can also be used in court to support your case. However, just because you can, does not always mean you should. Reach out to one of our attorneys to find out more about how to further protect yourself, what you should be keeping record of, and the best way to document information.

[1] https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/

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Read & Read

October 22, 2020

You’ve Agreed to Get a Divorce, But Your Partner Has Kept Financial Information from You. Now What?

It is critical that you are fully informed about marital property and finances before you sign anything. Pursuant to the State of Utah, parties to a divorce case must disclose all accounts and incomes to one another. If you feel as though your spouse hiding financial information from you, don’t panic, there are things that can be done to obtain this information. For example, if another party fails to disclose financial documents or information, that party may be held in contempt of court and be ordered to pay attorney fees.

If there are financial documents or records the other party claims to not have or not have access to, that is not a problem. Once a divorce case has been started, the parties have the power to obtain documents through  the discovery process. This may include submitting Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admissions or subpoenaing financial institutions directly. More in depth discovery may also include hiring a forensic accountant, private investigator, or vocational expert.

Our office can help you figure out what you need…

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Read & Read

October 19, 2020

What is the difference between sole and joint custody arrangements?

Joint legal custody means that parents share the rights, privileges, duties, and powers relating to their children. Generally, both parents have a say in schooling, religion, and medical decisions.

Joint physical custody means that your child stays overnight more than 30% of the year and both parents contribute to the child support and other expenses related to the child.

For more information regarding legal and physical custody in the state of Utah, please click on this link, http://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title30/Chapter3/30-3-S10.1.html

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Read & Read

October 16, 2020

You have been a stay-at-home parent and your marriage is over. Now what?

If you have historically been the stay-at-home parent, you may be entitled to alimony and/or child support. You are also likely entitled to half of the marital assets. Just because you didn’t bring a paycheck into marriage doesn’t mean that you’re not going to walk away empty handed. Make sure to talk to an attorney so that you can have a better idea of what a fair amount would be for alimony and child support, we offer free 30 minute consultations. Contact us, we can help.

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Read & Read

October 14, 2020

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Legal custody is the custodial responsibility to take care of the child and make decisions on behalf of the child. This often includes medical decisions, school decisions, religious decisions, and various other life decisions.

Physical custody is the custodial right to overnight parent-time with a child. A parent may have sole custody of their child or they may share joint custody with the other parent.

For more information regarding child custody in Utah visit this website.

If you need help with any child custody issue, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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Read & Read

October 12, 2020

Co-Parenting Tip: Let Them Love You Without Guilt

Do not disparage your ex to the children. This is not okay in the eyes of the court. More importantly, this puts children in the middle of grownup problems. Let them love each of you without guilt.

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Read & Read

August 24, 2020

Do I have to move out of the home if my spouse demands I leave?

This question is easier to answer than other questions about divorce.  The quick answer is that your spouse can absolutely NOT remove you from your house.  Your spouse cannot kick you out of the family home.  No one in a divorce dispute can kick the other party out of the house.  Only a family commissioner or judge can make that order.  However, it is critically important to follow certain steps and gather specific evidence in order to win on the claim of staying in the family home.  Please let us help you maximize the changes of you staying in your home during or after a divorce.

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Read & Read

August 18, 2020

How soon can I be divorced?

In Utah, the shortest amount of time to be divorced is one month after the Petition for Divorce has been filed with the court. Other states’ “waiting periods” vary.

 

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Read & Read

August 15, 2020

How do I maximize the spousal support (alimony) my spouse pay each month? How much spousal support can I get?

We have advised thousands of moms on the issue of spousal support (alimony) and we are confident that we can help you maximize the spousal support you deserve. Whether or not you have been a stay-at-home mom, working part-time, or full-time, you likely are entitled to spousal support.  The amount of spousal support is a complicated analysis; we work closely with our clients to determine how much spousal support they should get.  No blog post can help you avail yourself of your rights on this matter so please call us so we can advise you.  Utah law in the form of appellate cases and statutes have a lot to say about spousal support.  At Read & Read, we are specialist attorneys in family law and we are trained by the best in order to maximize the spousal support you should get.  You are in good hands with our knowledge of the law and the courts along with our court and mediation experience. 

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