Misdemeanor DUI

The act of operating a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol (ethanol) or other drugs (including over the counter medications), to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired is called a DUI or driving under the influence. Whether your case is a felony or a misdemeanor will depend on several factors. You need to speak with a DUI lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Don’t wait.

Misdemeanor DUI

Know Your Rights:

• There must be legally sufficient facts to constitute “probable cause” to stop, detain and arrest you.

  • You should be advised that submission to field sobriety testing and portable field breath testing is not required by law.
  • Once arrested, you must be advised of your constitutional rights (the “Miranda Warning”) before any further questioning takes place.
  • You must be given a choice of breath or blood testing; if you refuse, you must be advised of the legal consequences (the “implied consent” advisement).
  • If a breath test is administered at the police station, since the breath sample is not saved, you must be given a chance to obtain a blood sample for later independent testing by your defense attorney.

Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

  • If you are driving under the influence with a child in the car you can be charged with “child endangerment” which is a felony.
  • It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, or to drink while in a vehicle – even if the car is parked.
  • It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol (or any other drug)
  • Your car may be impounded for up to 90 days at your own expense, or even sold with the proceeds going to the city or county.

These penalties can seen over the top, but from the perspective of protecting the public, the Utah State Congress has enacted these lawyer. At Ascent Law, our job as a DUI Lawyer Salt Lake City is to protect you and your rights.

Utah man accused of DUI-related death will stand trial

After an alleged domestic confrontation, a Utah man drove away from the situation. Allegedly, he sped up to nearly 60 mph as he approached an intersection. Police say that when he sped through the intersection against a red light, he hit another vehicle, which began a chain reaction accident that ultimately involved nine vehicles. That alleged DUI accident led the death of a 43-year-old mother and the critical injury of her 16-year-old daughter. Seven others in the other vehicles suffered minor injuries.

When police interviewed the man at the hospital, they smelled what was believed to be alcohol on his person and noted he had bloodshot eyes. At the scene, officers reportedly observed that he was slurring his speech. No further information regarding his claimed intoxication was provided.

The allegedly drunk driver faces a litany of charges relating to the accident. In an unusual move, Utah prosecutors decided to charge the man with felony murder in the first-degree. Ordinarily, an individual in his situation would be charged with vehicular homicide in either the third or second-degree. Additional charges include one felony count of DUI, seven misdemeanor counts of DUI and two counts of aggravated assault. One of two domestic violence charges was dropped.

The potential penalties associated with these DUI-related charges are significant. Under our system of law, however, he is presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty in a court of law. His criminal defense team will review all of the evidence the prosecution intends to present to the court. From this information, an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the day’s events can be conducted, which should reveal the best course of action in moving forward with his defense.

Free Consultation with a DUI Lawyer

When you need help with a felony or misdemeanor DUI in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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from Michael Anderson http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/misdemeanor-dui/


Estate Attorney

This article explains exactly why you need an estate attorney.  You really need to prepare, even if you just have a will.  Don’t wait.  Don’t think your “verbal agreement” will work – it won’t.

Estate Attorney

What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will?

Dying intestate, or without a will, or with no estate planning is very common in Utah. If you die without a will, your property will go through probate and is then distributed according to Utah’s intestacy laws.
Intestacy laws govern intestate property. They go into effect unless there is a valid will to testify to the deceased’s wishes or an established estate plan. In intestate inheritance, a spouse is first in line, then children, then their children, and so on. When there are no heirs in the direct bloodline, the heirs are the parents, then siblings, then nieces and nephews, and so on.

Here are some common events that may happen if you die intestate:

Your immediate next of kin, whoever they are, will likely inherit your property first: lock, stock, and barrel. If you die intestate, everything goes to your next of kin. Your next of kin are the people who have the closest relation to you. If you’re married, then that’s your spouse. If you’re not married, your closest blood relations or equivalent, will inherit your property.

Utah Intestacy Law

That son- or daughter-in-law you don’t like will get your property before that niece or nephew you do like. Marital property owned by your children is governed by the laws of the states they live in, not you. If they live in a communal property state, an inheritance is separate property so long as it is not commingled. While the laws are different in every state, property acquired by gift or inheritance during marriage by either spouse is separate property, but it is very easy to commingle and then become part of the community and subject to a 50/50 division.

Your heirs could be hit with inheritance taxes (that could have been avoided). The relatives who inherit from you may be subject to a large inheritance tax (both on the federal and state level), depending on the size of the estate and the state where the assets in question are held. While this won’t wipe out their inheritance completely, proper estate planning could have made this a non-issue. For example, a Salt Lake City estate lawyer could have helped you create a trust that would have minimized your loved ones’ exposure to taxes.

A little bit of money up for grabs has a very cooling effect on interfamilial relationships. In a perfect world, family members would all get along, never be jealous, and always do right by each other. This isn’t a perfect world. Intestacy laws don’t take into account the relationships the deceased had with anyone or what the deceased orally promised to someone. Even if widowed Uncle Bob told you he wanted you to have his ’65 Thunderbird, without a will, the car is going to his son…who doesn’t even have a driver’s license.

If you wish to dispute an intestacy inheritance, contact a Salt Lake City estate planning lawyer for assistance. They can counsel you on your rights and what course of action you can take, if any, to prove a valid claim to the estate.

Free Consultation with an Estate Attorney

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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from Michael Anderson http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/estate-attorney/

Bankruptcy Free Consultation

Has something been keeping you awake. Have you been worried that some negative action will occur like a lawsuit, repossession, foreclosure, or other harassing debt collection? If you’re worried that your care will be repossessed or that your home will be facing foreclosure auction in a coming day, then you need to review your options right away by calling a bankruptcy lawyer.  Our team is standing by to take your call and looking forward to the opportunity to review your case with you about filing bankruptcy and whether it is the option that will provide you the protection you need.

Bankruptcy Free Consultation

Bankruptcy Attorney in Utah

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, yet you have not had the time to contact a bankruptcy lawyer because you work long hours, or even work nights or overtime. Our bankruptcy consultants are available on weekends, and in evenings and we even pick up the phone in the middle of the night. Clients are always surprised when they call us in the middle of the night to have someone actually pick up the phone. They approach us in their position of need and we take their situation very seriously. We can help you get the answers and attorney advice from an attorney that you need in order to review your situation and find out your best options.

If you have found yourself potentially facing a devastating financial situation, you could find that bankruptcy is a good option for you. In order to find out, you can contact our bankruptcy team by calling (801) 676-5506 to receive a consultation for bankruptcy. Are you ready to get started? then call our bankruptcy office to get your own fast, courteous, and effective case review. We work in specifically in your local and you will be dealing with a local bankruptcy lawyer who is trained to help you in an efficient and effective way. Contact the team today to get your confidential case review.

Curious about how bankruptcy works and if it may be right for you?

Your first step is to set up a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. The initial bankruptcy consultation is a first meeting, usually lasting between 30-60 minutes, in which your bankruptcy attorney gets a feel for the financial issues you are confronting and how best to address them.

A good bankruptcy attorney will not try to “steer” you in the direction of bankruptcy, and the meeting may very well end with your attorney recommending that you hold off filing or that you completely forego the bankruptcy process altogether. Any good consultation will focus on your assets and how best to protect them as well the dischargeability of your debts.

Ascent Law Bankruptcy Process

The process is not uniform. Some offices will provide a questionnaire and list of required paperwork prior to the consultation; others will hand it out when you arrive. In either event, be prepared for some document collection as consumer bankruptcy post-United States Bankruptcy Code changes has become quite detailed in its production requirements.


What type of bankruptcy would I file that will enable me to keep my vehicle?


You can keep it with either 7 or 13 but you have to have an attorney work out the deal and paper work for you.

Credit Card Information:

The good news is that credit card debt is classified as unsecured debt, generally the easiest to wipe out in a bankruptcy filing. Credit card debt is a common problem we see here on a daily basis, and a Chapter 7 case can provide a nice solution.  Often, People try to pay their debts and want to pay their debts. Whether bankruptcy is the right option for you ,be sue to talk with us about the interest rate you currently pay on your credit cards and other debt.

It’s possible you’ll never be able to get out of debt in your lifetime without filing for bankruptcy.

Free Consultation with a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Annulment in West Jordan Utah

At Ascent Law, LLC, we want to provide you with some things you need to know about a Utah Annulment (sometimes called annulment of marriage) is not the same thing as divorce (sometimes called dissolution of marriage, divorce, etc). In a dissolution, the marriage is ended by agreement, but as far as the law is concerned, the parties had a legal marriage, it is just over now. In Annulment, the marriage is voided, erased. Legally, the law has erased the marriage.

Annulment in West Jordan Utah

Unlike divorce, where the parties must agree on everything and file together, an Annulment can either be agreed OR contested.  That means that the parties can either file together, or one person can file for annulment on his or her own.

Just like in divorce, there must be grounds for annulment in order for an Utah court to grant the annulment.  The grounds for divorce in Utah are NOT the same as the grounds for Annulment.  The most notable difference in the grounds is that in Annulment, the parties cannot simply agree that they are incompatible.  There has to be some defect in the marriage that is serious enough that the law will allow the marriage to be erased instead of simply ended.

Even if grounds for annulment exist in your case, it doesn’t automatically mean you can file for annulment.  Usually, it has to be the “aggrieved party”, meaning the person who was wronged, who files for the annulment.  To learn more about who is the aggrieved party, read over the Utah Code or call our office to talk.  In addition, there are time limits for annulment.  In many cases, the person who was wronged must file within two years, but there are different time limits for different grounds for annulment.

Attorney for Annulment in Utah

Utah has a separate statute dealing with changing names after an annulment.  In annulment cases, the court may, if it wants to, change the name of a person back to what it was before the parties married, even if neither of the parties requests the name change.  This differs from the Utah divorce statute about changing the party’s name, which requires the consent of the parties to change a party’s name.  This may be especially important in a case where the husband is the aggrieved party and he wants to have the court “take his name back” from the wife.

Utah law allows people to get restraining orders against the other person while an annulment case is pending, in order to prevent the other spouse from harassing or harming themselves or their children.  The restraining orders can also prevent people from leaving the state with a child, selling or hiding assets, etc.

Even though the court may ultimately find the marriage to be invalid, the court may (but is not required to) make “temporary orders” of support while the annulment is pending.  The court can also make orders regarding temporary custody while the case is pending.  Temporary orders might be issued in a contested annulment case, but are almost never ordered in annulments that are filed jointly.  This is probably because when the parties jointly file the annulment papers, they want the marriage to be over as soon as possible, and the case will not be open long enough for temporary orders to be needed.

Annulment in Utah may undo the marriage, but it does NOT undo the legitimacy of any children that were born during the marriage.  The children still have the presumption of paternity that is afforded to children born during a marriage.

A court cannot award BOTH an annulment and a divorce (or legal separation, dissolution, etc.)  If one party files for annulment and the other party counterclaims for divorce or legal separation, that does not mean that annulment is now off the table.  The court must decide if there are grounds for an annulment.  Even if there are grounds for annulment, some of the grounds for annulment are also grounds for divorce.  The best policy is for the court to allow the aggrieved party their choice of remedy, assuming that party has met his or her burden of proof.

In annulment, unlike divorce or dissolution (and sometimes legal separation), there is no property division, and no spousal support after the marriage is annulled.

Free Initial Consultation with an Annulment Lawyer

When you need an Annulment in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Dirty Utah Custody Case Tricks to Watch Out For

DIRTY TRICK NO. 1: AVOIDING SERVICE.  People will go to great lengths to delay the inevitable, and step number one is avoiding service.  This can be especially devastating if you are trying to serve a restraining order on the party to prevent them from moving your child out of the state.  An experienced Utah Custody Lawyer will know the “tricks of the trade”, so to speak, and will be able to help you serve those papers on the opposing party and get your case rolling. When it comes to child custody, be aware that sometimes it may be hard to get service effectuated.

Dirty Utah Custody Case Tricks to Watch Out For

DIRTY TRICK NO. 2: SHOWING UP AT THE FIRST HEARING AND ASKING FOR A CONTINUANCE TO GET AN ATTORNEY, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE ALREADY HAD WEEKS OR MONTHS TO DO SO.  The person who currently has the most legal rights over the child is not anxious for that to change, and is motivated to delay the proceedings.  This is one of the most common ways that they accomplish this. An experienced Child Custody Lawyer can help you keep the opposing party from abusing this trick, although they may receive one continuance to obtain an attorney.

DIRTY TRICK NO. 3: FAILING TO PAY THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE GAL FROM DOING THEIR JOB.  When a GAL begins their investigation, this represents the possibility of change.  For the party who does not want anything to change, this is a threat.  The GAL does not start work until they have been paid the fee, which is usually split in some fashion between the parties pursuant to the court’s order.  The party who sees the GAL as a threat sometimes delays or refuses to pay the GAL’s fee, with the result being the GAL does not begin work, and the process is delayed.  An experienced Utah Custody Lawyer can advise you regarding how to deal with this problem and make sure the GAL starts work despite the other party’s resistance.

DIRTY TRICK NO. 4: THREATENING THE CHILDREN.   This dirty trick is especially loathsome.  Most people do not threaten the children physically (although some do, unfortunately).  This is usually more of a psychological threat to the children, such as “if the court gives Daddy what he wants you won’t ever see Mommy again (or your dog, or your sister, etc.).  It is a terrible thing to do, for any reason, but unfortunately it happens all too often.  The threat is designed to sway what the children will say to the Guardian ad Litem or the Commissioner.  If this happens to you, your Utah Custody Lawyer will know what to do, and you should tell them immediately.

DIRTY TRICK NO. 5: HOPSCOTCH COUNSELLING.  Sometimes people put their child in counseling right around the time of litigation, in order to (hopefully) solicit some information from the child during counseling that will help their case.  This tactic is suspect if the need for counseling arose right around the time the litigation was initiated.  Then once the child has made a statement which the parent believes is detrimental to the other parent, the other parent is invited to attend counseling.  After that, with very little contact with parent B, and getting most of their information from Parent A, the parent who initiated counseling and has a litigation agenda, the counselor makes statements to the guardian ad litem, which the guardian ad litem almost always follows because the counselor is an “expert”.  Although counselors are not supposed to make recommendations regarding custody, as a treater, all to many of them do not know this, and will produce a letter supporting the agenda of the parent who sought them out and gave them most of their information (and is also pressuring the child).  Even more suspect is when the counselor is someone that the lawyer recommended.  Even more suspect than that is when Parent A did not get the desired result from the first counselor, so they move on to counselor B.

In this situation, it may be toxic for Parent B to become involved with the counselor at all. Before having any contact with the counselor, Parent B should speak to his or her experienced Utah Custody Lawyer and carefully plan his or her response to the situation.

Free Consultation with a Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or when you need a family law attorney, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Enforcing Grandparent Visitation with Contempt of Court

In Utah, when grandparents have received an order of visitation from the court, they have the right to enforce their order, just like a parent.  If grandparents experience one or more occasions where they are denied their visitation, Utah law provides them with a remedy known as  contempt of court (commonly called “filing or file for contempt charges”.

Enforcing Grandparent Visitation with Contempt of Court

Before you file for contempt of court, you must make sure that you understand your order, and what it means under Utah law.  You should also talk to a lawyer in Utah to make sure you are doing this right. Common areas of misunderstandings are:

  • Transportation: who is supposed to pick up the child and who is supposed to drop the child off?  Or are you supposed to meet at a neutral place somewhere in the middle?
  • Regular time vs. holiday or vacation time – which controls?
  • Missed time – under what circumstances do you get make up time?  How soon after do you get make-up time?
  • What happens if the child is ill?  Does the visitation still occur?  If not, is it rescheduled?

Assuming that you are NOT under any misunderstanding about your order, and the other party simply won’t obey the court’s orders, you have rights, and the parent who refused visits is subject to penalties.  Pursuant to the code if a court finds any person has denied or interfered with visitation, the court MUST award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the party who was wronged.

Sometimes, when people do not want to comply with a court’s order, they file a motion to change the order, hoping that if they win, then they won’t get in trouble for what they did while their motion was pending.  Unless the denial of visitation was necessary (in the eyes of the court, not the parent) to protect the child, this idea is wrong.    The law says that the court has jurisdiction to make a finding of contempt for a failure to comply with, or an interference with, a parenting time or visitation order or decree and to impose the penalties set forth in the Code in all cases in which the failure or interference is at issue even if the parenting time or visitation order or decree no longer is in effect.

Utah Temporary Restraining Orders in Divorce

In Utah, when a divorce case is filed, it is common for the court to put on a temporary restraining order.  Sometimes, the order is only put on if a party asks for it, and the order is one-sided (the party that asks for it gets the order agains the other party only).  This is currently the case in Franklin County.  In other counties, sometimes the domestic court’s local rules state that the temporary restraining order goes on as soon as the case is filed, against both parties.

It is important to understand the nature and limitations of these orders.  They are not domestic violence orders, although they usually instruct the parties not to harass each other.  They do not have any provisions that will require a party to give up their guns (unlike a civil protection order / domestic violence protection order).  There is no allegation of wrong doing necessary to get these orders.  These orders are simply put on to protect the status quo during the divorce, so that the parties remain relatively peaceful while they wait their turn for the court to end their marriage, divide their property and debts, and make orders regarding support and children.

Among other things, temporary restraining orders usually restrain the parties from taking funds out of any of their assets except for checking accounts.  This prohibits the parties from dipping into retirement, savings or anything else to finance their divorce.  This can seriously disadvantage the party who did not plan for the divorce.  One party has all their ducks in a row and the other is unable to afford their attorney.

There are very few good solutions for this problem.  An attorney can file a motion for attorney fees, but the attorney fees are not awarded often enough to address the problem or equalize the parties’ financial power, and when the fees are awarded, the awards are often minimal compared to the need.

When people think divorce is coming, they are often afraid to financially prepare themselves for the divorce, because they are afraid that taking the money will hasten the divorce itself.  That may or may not be true.  Each client is in the best position to judge their own spouse’s potential reaction.  However, when a client believes divorce is coming, they need to understand that a temporary restraining order is coming as well, and it may take a while to get to agreement, if agreement can be reached.  By failing to prepare for divorce, and for the temporary restraining order that will soon be limiting their access to their assets, people facing divorce are taking a risk of being the disadvantaged party throughout the entire divorce.

Free Initial Consultation with a Family Lawyer

When you need help from a Utah Lawyer, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Salt Lake County Divorce Attorney

You cannot have one attorney represent both husband and wife in a divorce.  It is a conflict of interest.  If an attorney represented two parties in a dissolution, divorce, annulment or legal separation, he or she would be subject to discipline for ethical violations.  Attorneys know this or should know this.  If you think both you and your spouse are being represented by the same attorney, think again.  Ask yourself this – who signed a fee agreement with the Attorney?  That person is the client.  That is the ONLY person an attorney is representing.

A Divorce Lawyer Knows

Attorneys generally try to be pretty clear about this, but unfortunately, sometimes people believe their spouse rather than what the attorney says.  Even though an unrepresented party in an Utah dissolution must sign an acknowledgement saying that the attorney represents only their spouse and not both parties, sometimes people believe that the acknowledgment is “just paperwork”.  It’s not just paperwork, it’s real, and I can tell you, as a Utah divorce attorney we want things done right. If there is only one attorney involved and you did not sign a fee agreement with that attorney, then you do not have an attorney and your spouse is the only person getting legal advice about his or her best interest.  You are entitled to represent yourself in a dissolution.  Each spouse can have their own attorney, each spouse can choose not to get an attorney, or one spouse can hire an attorney, but in Utah you cannot have one attorney representing both spouses in a dissolution, divorce, legal separation or annulment.  For more information about deciding whether or not you need an attorney to handle your divorce.

Salt Lake County Divorce Attorney

Grounds for Divorce. There must be grounds for dissolution, just like divorce.  Generally, people agree to the “no-fault” ground of incompatibility.  There are 8 grounds for ending a marriage in Utah, but once parties start going down the blame path things generally start to disintegrate.

Is either spouse going to pay spousal support to the other? Spousal support is a touchy subject.  Nobody likes being court ordered to pay spousal support.  But when reaching agreement on this issue, the sensible approach is to look at what a judge would decide if the parties cannot agree.  To learn more about spousal support, or alimony, in Utah.

If spousal support is going to be paid

  • How much spousal support will be paid per month?
  • Have the parties planned for the tax effect of spousal support?
  • How long will spousal support (or alimony) be paid?
  • Under what conditions will spousal support stop?
    • Death of the recipient only (payable by the estate)?
    • Death of either party?
    • Remarriage of the recipient?
    • Cohabitation of the recipient?
    • Expiration of the period of years?
  • Will spousal support obligations be insured with a life insurance policy?
  • If life insurance is to insure the obligations, who will pay for the life insurance?
  • If the parties have no children and no child support is being paid, spousal support can be paid, but is not required to be paid, directly to the recipient.  Will spousal support be paid through wage withholding or directly to the recipient?
  • Is the amount of spousal support that will be received set out in a Prenuptial Agreement (aka Antenuptial Agreement, or “prenup”)?
  • If a Prenuptial Agreement dictates how much spousal support will be paid, or how much spousal support will be paid, is that amount still fair in light of the parties’ current circumstances? (The keyword here is unconscionable – and whether the amount is unconscionable is determined based on the parties’ circumstances at the time the marriage ends, not the time the marriage begins).


  • Health Insurance:
  • If health insurance is provided through one spouse’s employer, are COBRA benefits available to allow the other spouse to keep their health insurance?
  • If COBRA is available, how much does it cost?
  • Is either spouse going to seek COBRA coverage?  If so, who will pay for it?
  • If COBRA coverage is not available, does the spouse who will be losing coverage have health insurance available through his or her employer?
  • If private health insurance is necessary for the spouse losing coverage, how much does it cost?
  • If the parties have children, who will provide health insurance for the children after the dissolution?
  • What percentage of co-pays and other costs for the children’s medical care which are not covered by insurance will each parent pay?
  • Are medical care expenses going to include dental, psychological, counseling and other expenses?

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Commingled Property

In Utah, divorce courts presume that all property is marital, unless one of the parties prove that the property is separate property, or the property of neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendant. You should always talk to a divorce lawyer before you move forward with a divorce.

Commingled Property

In the Deitz case, Husband was living with his mother and brother during the divorce.  At trial, Wife introduced an exhibit which was a list of cars, trailers, parts and tools that she asked to have classified as marital property and sold at auction.  Wife testified that she hoped to have the proceeds of the auction applied to Husband’s child support arrearages.  At trial, the Wife, the Husband, and Husband’s mother all testified regarding specific items of property that Wife asked to be classified as marital property.

The Commissioner’s decision ordered that most of the property listed on the exhibit were presumed to be marital property because husband had failed to properly trace the items as his separate property.  The Commissioner’s decision ordered the items to be sold at auction.  The Judge adopted the Commissioner’s decision the same day.

Divorce Lawyer in Utah

The Husband objected to the Commissioner’s decision stating that “some of the property listed appears to be the property of third parties.”  Shortly afterwards, the husband’s brother and mother filed motions for joinder.  The court denied the motions for joinder saying they were “too little, too late”.

Under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, you are allowed to claim an interest in property out of which a party seeks a division of marital property, a distributive award, or an award of spousal support to be made a party defendant to the case, at the discretion of the trial court.   The trial court has to believe that the person’s interest in property needs to be protected within the divorce action.

Likewise, the rules allow the Plaintiff or Defendant (a party) to a divorce case to join a person as a party to a case, even against their will, if it is necessary for the court to protect property from which the Plaintiff or Defendant are seeking a division of marital property, a distributive award, or an award of spousal support.  This can be very important when one of the parties is trying to hide assets outside of the court’s reach.

The court of appeals stated that the term “interest” as used in the code and rules usually means lien or ownership, legal or equitable.  The court said that the parties seeking to join in the divorce bore the burden of sufficiently detailing their respective property interests and the basis for their claim of ownership.  Because they had not done so, the Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying their motions to be joined as a party.

What is to be learned here is that if you have property that is joined, shared or collective in any way with the property of a couple who is being divorced, it is up to you to make sure your property is protected, early on, and with specificity.

Business partners often assume that their interests are protected, however, in reality, they are relying on their friend, partner or family member to do adequate tracing at a time when they are financially and emotionally stressed.  It may be advantageous to be asked to be joined to the case yourself if you have proof to present that the property is not marital property.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Utah Family Lawyer on Moving

In situations where court ordered parenting time has been established, and the residential parent wants to move, pursuant to Utah law, the other parent is entitled to notice of the move and, if requested or ordered by the court, a hearing.  These notice provisions apply REGARDLESS of whether the non-residential or non-moving parent contests the move. As a relocation lawyer, I’ve seen parents make mistakes in doing this before, which can require a big problem for them.

Utah Family Lawyer on Moving

A parent has a fundamental right to live where he or she wants to live, BUT they do not have a fundamental right to permanently relocate the child in violation of the Utah Revised Code or the parties’ court order.

Depending on the language of your court order and/or the language in the Local Rules of the court who issued the order, simply moving a certain distance away MAY automatically trigger a change in custody, shared parenting, school placement parent, parenting time or other provisions of  your parenting order.

Utah law, case law and the code  requires a court to consider whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state when determining the best interest of the child.

In addition, pursuant to Utah law when determining whether shared parenting is still in the best interest of the child the court must consider,

  • The geographic proximity of the parents to each other, as the proximity relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting;

Utah laws requires a court to consider

  • The geographical location of the residence of each parent and the distance between those residences, and if the person is not a parent, the geographical location of that person’s residence and the distance between that person’s residence and the child’s residence;
  • Whether either parent has established a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside this state;

Sometimes parents want to move for legitimate reasons, and sometimes they want to move to thwart the other parent’s access to the child.  Regardless of the reason for the move, if the move creates additional distance between the child and the other parent, the move IS going to have an impact on the parenting time of the non-moving parent.  The question is, how much of an impact, and does the non-moving parent object?

If the non-moving parent believes that the impact upon their parenting time and relationship with the child is significant, he or she may wish to modify custody, shared parenting, or the school placement parent in a shared parenting plan.  At a minimum, the parties will need to consider whether a new parenting time schedule is appropriate.

Can you sue for a broken heart?

Did you have a change of heart and leave your fiancé at the altar? If so, be glad that you are in Utah where “heart balm actions” have been abolished.  Many years ago there was the Heart Balm Statute, which says that no person shall be liable for civil damages in the following types of cases:

  • breach of a promise to marry
  • alienation of affections
  • criminal conversation

Later cases have generally found that the following types of actions are also abolished under the statute, at least when it relates to civil damages for a failed relationship or a person wronged in a relationship:

  • enticement
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • fraud
  • negligence

Although some states will still allow heart balm actions, Utah does not.  You cannot sue the person who stole your spouse away from you for money damages, and you cannot sue your spouse for money damages in a civil case for cheating on you.  Generally, you cannot successfully sue your fiancé for leaving you at the altar, even if you had already spent a lot of money on the wedding.

Be sure to also take a look at our article about returning the wedding ring after a broken engagement in Utah.

There is no broken heart law in Utah.

Free Consultation with Family Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to relocate to another state, call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Utah Father’s Rights Attorney

In Utah, does a father have a right to get visitation, even if paternity has not yet been established? Does the law regarding an Utah Father’s Rights include the right for the father to request temporary orders regarding visitation or custody, even if paternity has not yet been established?

Utah Father's Rights Attorney

The answer is YES.  Since the husband is presumed to be the biological father when a child is born to a couple who is married, this issue applies to Utah Father’s Rights situations where the mother and father of a child were never married.  Temporary Custody Order While Action is Pending allows the following regarding an Utah Father’s Rights to visitation and/or custody while a court case is pending, or temporary orders:

In any proceeding pertaining to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of a childwhen requested in the complaint, answer, or counterclaim, or by motion served with the pleading, upon satisfactory proof by affidavit duly filed with the clerk of the court, the court, without oral hearing and for good cause shownmay make a temporary order regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child while the action is pending.

If a parent and child relationship has not already been established pursuant to section 3111.02 of the Revised Code, the court may take into consideration when determining whether to award parenting time, visitation rights, or temporary custody to a putative father that the putative father is named on the birth record of the child, the child has the putative father’s surname, or a clear pattern of a parent and child relationship between the child and the putative father exists.

There are several things about that statute that you want to read carefully.  Every word matters.  Here is some additional information about important phrases from the statute:



  • First, this means a COURT  It does NOT apply to an administrative proceeding for child support through the ORS.  The ORS has no authority to order visitation.  Sometimes, during an administrative child support proceeding, if the parties agree, the ORS attorney or liason will give the parties a form to seek court ordered visitation, but that form is still submitted to the COURT, and is not ordered by the ORS.
  • Second, notice the phrase “parentalrights and responsibilities”.  This means that if a Father files a motion in an actions which was only filed as a grandparent visitation proceeding, the court may find that it has no authority to make temporary orders for visitation for the Father.  The Father may file a motion to be made a party to the grandparent visitation proceeding, but unless he files a Complaint for the Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities (and, if applicable, for establishment of paternity), the court may find that the action is not a “proceeding pertaining to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities), and therefore deny the Father’s request for Temporary Visitation.  (The Mother would, at that point, still have full custody of the child pursuant to Utah law and would not need temporary orders for visitation.)
  • Temporary Orders are available during the INITIAL proceeding, not in post-decree proceedings.
  • Temporary Orders of visitation are not available in a court proceeding which is merely an objection to an administrative child support order.  The court proceeding has to include a complaint, answer or counterclaim for parental rights and responsibilities.


To establish an Utah Father’s Rights to temporary visitation or custody, the Father, or his Utah Father’s Rights Attorney, should request temporary orders pursuant to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure in his Complaint, or his Answer to the Mother’s Complaint, if the Mother filed the Complaint.  In the alternative, the Father can seek his Utah Father’s Rights by filing a motion.  It is unclear from the statute whether his Motion must be served with his Complaint, Answer or Counterclaim, but it is the better practice to file the Motion at the outset of the case.  In addition, sometimes a request tucked at the end of a Complaint Answer or Counterclaim escapes the notice of the court at the initial hearing, but a Motion which is pending on the Court’s Docket is more likely to be noticed and addressed at the first hearing.

Something that is important to note is that if child support is not yet established, but paternity is established (perhaps through an Affidavit signed at the child’s birth which allows the Father’s name to be on the child’s birth certificate), Utah judges and magistrates almost always establish a temporary order of child support.  If the father, or his attorney, has not already filed a Motion for Temporary Orders or requested temporary orders in his complaint, this would be a great time to point out that Utah law allows the following:

Whenever a court issues a child support order, it shall include in the order specific provisions for regular, holiday, vacation, parenting time, and special visitation in accordance with the sections of the Utah Code or in accordance with any other applicable section of Utah law.

Free Consultation with a Utah Father’s Rights Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to protect or enforce your rights, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506