Answers to Family Law Questions from Experienced Divorce Lawyers
The family law practice of Diumenti & Leger helps people in Bountiful and throughout Davis County with their divorce and child custody questions. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions we encounter regarding divorce, separation, and related issues such as child support or alimony. If you have other questions or need immediate help in a divorce or other family law matter, please check divorceservicesreviews.com and contact Diumenti & Leger to speak with one of our attorneys.
Q. Is my spouse entitled to one-half of my property if we divorce?
A. First of all, you must make a distinction between marital property and separate property. Separate property includes money and other property you had before you got married, as well as certain money or property that was given specifically just to you during marriage, such as through an inheritance, gift or personal injury settlement. If you kept these monies or property separate during the marriage and didn't commingle them or otherwise change them into marital property, then they are yours to keep, and your spouse may not entitled to any part of them.
As to marital property, the court will divide it in a manner which is fair, or equitable, but not necessarily equal. The judge will consider things like how long the marriage lasted, how old the spouses are and in what condition of health they are in, and the jobs and other sources of income available to each spouse. These factors, as well as which parent is to have either primary custody or sole custody of the kids, will determine how the court decides on what an equitable distribution of the marital property will be.
Q. Is it possible to modify court orders for custody or support after the divorce is final?
A. Yes, but you must be able to prove in court that there has been some change in circumstances which makes the modification necessary. You might also need to prove that the change is substantial and continuous. Common reasons for modifying custody arrangements include when the child is starting school or switching schools, or if the custodial parent changes jobs or has to relocate. Child support or alimony may sometimes be modified based on a change in the income or financial needs of either party. Where children are involved, it is usually necessary to prove that the modification is in the children's best interests or is not detrimental to their needs.
Q. Can I get child support if my spouse and I are separated but not divorced?
A. Yes, child support can be established between spouses who are "legally separated." A legal separation in Utah is done through a decree of separate maintenance. This decree, like a divorce decree, can include an order requiring one spouse to pay child support to the other. A separate maintenance decree can also include orders requiring the payment of alimony, deciding who gets the house and dividing up marital property, and making a child custody determination of either joint custody or sole custody. A legal separation may deal with many of the same issues as a divorce, but the parties remain legally married, which may be important for religious reasons or to leave open the possibility of a reconciliation.
Q. What can I do if my ex refuses to pay child support or follow the schedule for child custody and parent time?
A. People subject to court orders are legally bound to obey them and can be held in contempt of court for refusing. You may also be able to obtain a wage garnishment or wage assignment order, so that child support is withdrawn from your ex's paycheck and sent to you. Contact one of the family law attorneys in our Bountiful office for assistance in enforcement of a domestic relations order.