Lawyer for Domestic Violence

Lawyer for Domestic Violence

Survivors of domestic violence have several civil and criminal protection or restraining order options to protect themselves from further abuse. Although these orders won’t necessarily stop an abuser from stalking or hurting a victim, they permit the victim to call the police and have the abuser arrested if the order is violated. This article will provide the types of protection available to a victim of domestic violence.

Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

More specifically, the following types of protection will be discussed:

  • Emergency Protection Orders
  • Protection Orders
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Protection Orders

This article will also cover what happens when someone violates one of these orders and how these orders are enforced in states other than the one that the order is issued in.

Emergency Protection Order

In many states, when the police encounter a domestic violence situation, one of the two parties involved in the dispute is required (or requested) to leave the home. Often, this person is the abuser, although the police can be mistaken about who the aggressor is. In about one-third of states, police officers are also authorized or required to remove guns when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

In some states, the police can give the victim an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), which is a short-term protection order typically given to a victim by the police or magistrate when his or her abuser is arrested for domestic violence. An EPO is generally for limited period, such as three or seven days, which allows the victim time to request a longer-term protection order.

Protection Order

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have statutes for some form of protection order. However, states call this protection order different things. For example, Illinois, New York and Texas call them protection orders or orders of protection, whereas California calls the same thing a restraining order, and Florida calls it an injunction for protection against domestic violence.

A protection order is different from an EPO because it’s longer term, typically for one to five years, and in extreme circumstances, for up to a lifetime. A victim can renew the protection order if the victim still feels threatened by his or her abuser.

A protection order may include many different provisions, including:

  • No Contact Provision: Prohibiting the abuser from calling, texting, emailing, stalking, attacking, hitting, or disturbing the victim.
  • Peaceful Contact Provision: Permitting the abuser to peacefully communicate with the victim for limited reasons, including care and transfer for visitation of their child.
  • Stay Away Provision: Ordering the abuser to stay at least a certain number of yards or feet away from the victim, his or her home, job, school, and car. The stay-away distance can vary by state, judge or the lethality of the situation, but is often at least 100 yards or 300 feet.
  • Move Out Provision: Requiring the abuser to move out of a home shared with the victim.
  • Firearms Provision: Requiring the abuser to surrender any guns he or she possesses (about 2/3rds of states) and/or prohibiting the abuser from purchasing a firearm.
  • Counseling Provision: Ordering the abuser to attend counseling, such as batterer’s intervention or anger management.

Protection orders may include children, other family members, roommates, or current romantic partners of the victim. This means the same no contact and stay away rules apply to the other listed individuals, even if the direct harm was to the victim. Some states even allow pets to be protected by the same order, as abusers may harm pets to torment their victims.

Some states include as part of the protection order visitation and custody for children of the victim and abuser. These are generally temporary and can be modified by divorce or other future family court orders.

In order to obtain a protection order, you need to file the required legal papers with your local court, and follow your state law to present evidence at your hearing and to serve your abuser. The police can sometimes serve the papers for you.

Restraining Order

A restraining order is an order requiring parties to a lawsuit to do or not do certain things. It may be part of a family law case, such as a divorce, or other civil case. Although this isn’t the same as a “domestic violence restraining order,” which is summarized above, domestic violence can be a factor in the underlying family law case.

Restraining orders may be requested “ex parte” meaning that one party asks the court to do something without telling the other party. If the restraining order is granted ex parte, then the other party is later permitted a hearing to present his or her side of the story. This is often the process for protection orders as well. Since restraining orders also vary by state, it’s important to consult with an attorney familiar with the law where you live.

Criminal Protection Order

If a criminal case is pending, the district attorney may request or the judge may order a protection order for the victim of the crime. For more information on criminal domestic violence.

Violation of Protection Orders

Violation of a protection order can be treated in one of three ways: as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court. Felony charges are typically reserved for either repeat or serious violations. Sometimes violations are considered both contempt of court and a new domestic violence charge, although California found that this subjects the defendant to double jeopardy. In many states, police policy is to arrest violators of these orders automatically.

Enforcing Protection Orders in Different States

Domestic violence survivors may move as part of a plan to keep them safe from a former abuser. The Full Faith & Credit Clause of the Constitution and federal law require valid protection orders to be enforced where it’s issued and in all other U.S. states and territories as well. Therefore, if an abuser stalks a victim in his or her new state of residency, the police must uphold the protection order from another state.

Free Consultation with a Lawyer in Utah

When you need help about Domestic Violence, call <a href="https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/"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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Choosing Day Care Because of Divorce

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/lawyer-for-domestic-violence/

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Choosing Day Care Because of Divorce

Choosing Day Care Because of Divorce

For parents who have just gone through a divorce or currently going through a divorce, it can be a challenge trying to figure out what they will do to care for their young children, especially if they work long hours. Many divorced parents opt to send their young children to day care. However, when you begin looking into day care facilities, it’s important that you do your due diligence in analyzing them so you can find the best fit for your children.

Some things to look for in any day care include the following:

  • Licensing. Day care centers should be licensed by or registered with a state agency. Look for facilities that are regularly inspected by state officials for health and safety and that have workers that have specialized education and training. These are all good indicators of the kind of quality you’re getting out of a day care center.
  • Staff to child ratio. How many children are watched by caregivers at once? Will your child get the individual attention that he or she needs? Good guidelines are that there should be one adult for every three to four infants, for every four to six children under three, for every 10 children between three and five and for every 12 children five and older.
  • Policies. You should look for day care centers that fall in line with your views regarding discipline. Also investigate how the center handles sick children, and if members are trained in first aid.
  • Safety. Day care centers should be in good neighborhoods, have fire alarms and smoke detectors, perform regular fire drills, have safe playgrounds and equipment and have clean, disinfected toys. Doors should be locked at all times to prevent unwanted visitors.
  • Staff. Do the people who work at the day care center seem like people that you would trust your children with? Sometimes, this gut instinct can tell you a lot about a facility.

Divorce Papers Served Through Facebook

For years, Facebook has been used as a way to connect people, but recently it became the vehicle to sever the bonds of marriage.

While admittedly a nontraditional approach, a Brooklyn judge recently approved the use of Facebook to serve divorce summons. The summons was sent via a private message from a 26-year-old nurse’s Facebook account to the defendant who apparently does not want a divorce.

In this case, the defendant communicated with the plaintiff almost exclusively via Facebook and cell phone. He appears to have no fixed address or place of employment and was unresponsive to other attempts to contact him. According to the ruling, he used a prepaid cell phone with no address. Even the Department of Motor Vehicles had no record of the man. A private detective also unsuccessfully attempted to locate him.

The ruling underscores a sea of change in the way people communicate, with many people almost exclusively communicating through social media sites and cell phones. Allowing service process via the Internet is likely to become more common, according to legal experts. In his opinion, the judge called this type of delivery “the next frontier” and that while it’s a new approach, it accomplishes the goal of ensuring that the defendant is made aware of the fact that he is being sued.

Although this case is unusual, a precedent may already exist for serving legal documents via Facebook. A Utah family court recently approved the delivery of a child support order to an ex-spouse through social media. Before this, notices were left at the last known address or published in a newspaper with no guarantee the defendant would see them.

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

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

Recent Posts

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Durable Financial Power of Attorney

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/choosing-day-care-because-of-divorce/

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

The durable financial power of attorney is simply a way to allow someone else to manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself. The power is granted in a document, and is not only useful for you, but can really help your family in times of crisis. More precisely, it grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues. This person’s official name depends on the state you live in, but is often referred to as your agent or as an attorney-in-fact.

What Can Someone Do With a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

You can set the limits of your agent’s power, granting as much or as little power as you think is appropriate. When deciding whether to set limits, consider the kind of tasks your agent will likely be asked to perform:

  • Paying your bills
  • Paying your taxes
  • Paying medical expenses
  • Managing your real estate assets
  • Accessing your financial accounts
  • Investing on your behalf
  • Collecting any retirement benefits
  • Transferring and selling your assets
  • Buying insurance for you
  • Operating your small business
  • Hiring someone to represent you

Your agent cannot do whatever he or she wants to do, but must act in your best interests. One area of potential conflict to keep in mind is in regards to paying for medical expenses. Often, people also name a medical agent who can make medical decisions for them. If your financial and medical agent aren’t the same person or disagree on medical care, the financial agent can make receiving medical care difficult.

Creating a Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Most states have simple forms to fill out to make someone your financial agent. Most states don’t require that you use these forms, but it is always a good idea to do so.

Generally, the document must be signed, witnessed and notarized. If your agent will have to deal with real estate assets, some states require you to put the document on file in the local land records office. Finally, many banks have their own forms, and while not strictly necessary, it will make the process much easier if your bank knows who your financial agent is.

When To Begin A Power of Attorney

The first distinction to keep in mind when you are granting a financial power of attorney is whether or not to make it “durable”. Durability simply means whether the power is always there, but it has significant consequences that may not be apparent. The best way to illustrate this is by example.

For example, if you grant it but don’t make it durable, then when you are incapacitated, your agent will have the power to make financial decisions as you would expect. However, if you recover, that power is now gone. This means though, that if you are then incapacitated again, that person is no longer your financial agent since the power was given but then extinguished by your recovery. So decide whether you want to make the power durable or not.

Generally, it goes into effect the second you sign it. If you do not want this, you should create a “springing” financial power of attorney. This means that the power is not granted to your agent until you are incapacitated (and certified as such by a doctor). Springing powers can be durable or not.

When Does it Stop Working?

The financial power of attorney is automatically extinguished upon your death. That means that your agent can only make financial decisions for you while you are alive and incapacitated. To deal with financial matters after your death, you need to name an executor in your will. Other ways it can be extinguished include divorce, the event that your named agent is unavailable, or if a court invalidates your document or you revoke it. Because there are many ways for the power to end that you can’t plan on, it is helpful to name alternate agents.

Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer

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

Considering Divorce

Marriages fail for a variety of reasons. However, with the help of a tenacious attorney, you can rebuild your life. Divorce is one option. However, depending on the circumstances of your marriage, you may go through a contested or uncontested divorce.

Considering Divorce

I am Considering Divorce. Is Legal Separation an Option?

While an uncontested divorce is quick and cost effective, a contested divorce can last weeks and even months. For some people, separation is a better option. At first glance, legal separation looks a lot like divorce. You live in a different location from your spouse and you determine who gets custody of your children. However, on paper, you are still legally married. We’ve written about the different between divorce and legal separation on this page, this page, and this page.

Below are the benefits of separation:

  • Possibility of reconciliation. First, separation may be the right choice for you and your spouse if you are having problems but feel that divorce is too permanent. Separation allows you to reconcile with your spouse if after a period you are able to work things out.
  • Tax benefits. Since you are still legally married, you can continue to file your income taxes as a married couple.
  • Religious benefits. Separation is also the right choice for you if you or your spouse practices a religion that does not approve of divorce.
  • Insurance benefits. Lastly, separation is a good choice if a couple would like to retain employer-based health insurance benefits.

Legal separation may be the first step toward reconciliation or toward ending a marriage. Either way, though, you need an experienced and committed attorney who can advise you and protect your best interests throughout the process.

Alimony Tax Changes Could Make Divorces More Difficult

Figuring out alimony has never been a simple task for divorce attorneys. Alimony arrangements often become the subject of dispute during the divorce negotiation process. The new tax regulations signed into law by President Donald Trump in December could make determining alimony arrangements even more difficult.

For the past several decades, the rules with regard to alimony taxation were clear. Payers could deduct these payments from their taxes, while recipients were responsible for paying taxes on any payments received.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes significant changes to these rules. Now, in all divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, those paying alimony will no longer be able to deduct those payments on their taxes. And, individuals receiving alimony will no longer have to pay taxes on that money.

Effect of the tax changes in Divorce

It has only been a couple months since the bill was signed into law, and attorneys are still working to adjust and determine how their negotiation tactics will need to change.

The greatest expected impact of these changes is that settlement negotiations could become more complicated. Now that there is much more financial disparity at stake in alimony arrangements, those involved in a divorce may be much less willing to compromise with regard to spousal support issues.

Proponents of the changes say it levels the playing field between divorced and married couples, as some divorced individuals had benefited from tax breaks to which married couples did not have access.

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

How to Administer an Estate

Whenever a person dies, his or her estate needs to be collected, managed, and distributed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the assets that remain in the estate.

How to Administer an Estate

In recent years, state legislatures have attempted to reduce the complexity of estate administration. Currently, about 20 states have adopted some version of the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which was designed to simplify the estate administration process and provide similarity among probate laws from state to state. As we go through this information, if you have questions, be sure and speak with an an estate administration lawyer.

Which State Law Applies?

In some cases, an estate may need to be administered in more than one state. Generally, the state in which the decedent resided at the time of death will be the state where the decedent’s estate is probated. However, state law governs the transfer of real estate, so if the decedent owned real estate in another state, it may be necessary to do an ancillary proceeding to probate that one piece of property in the state where it is located. An ancillary proceeding is a scaled-down probate proceeding, which governs only the assets located in that state. In some instances, it may be necessary to consult two attorneys, one in the state where the decedent lived and another attorney in the state where the decedent owned any real estate.

Formal Probate or Informal Probate

In many states, a probate proceeding can be either formal or informal. An informal probate proceeding usually involves filing some basic paperwork, having the court appoint someone to manage the estate, paying the debts, distributing the assets, and having the court approve the distribution. The court’s role may never require a hearing, but only a review of the papers filed.

In other instances, such as when a will is disputed, a formal probate proceeding may be required. A formal proceeding involves more court oversight and usually requires one or more court hearings. In some states, a probate proceeding can be formal in parts and informal in others. For example, the matter may start out formally, with a court hearing to appoint the personal representative, but end informally, with a paper filed with the court detailing how the assets are to be distributed.

Managing the Estate: Personal Representatives

The first task in a probate proceeding is appointing a responsible party to manage the estate. This person is usually called the personal representative. In some states this position is known as the “executor.” The personal representative may be an individual or a company, such as a bank. The personal representative may have been nominated by the decedent in the will. If there was no will, the court will usually appoint the surviving spouse or another family member. There may be more than one personal representative named.

Inventorying the Estate

After being appointed, the personal representative is expected to document all of the decedent’s assets. This documentation is often referred to as the inventory. The personal representative must also inform the decedent’s creditors that the decedent has died. If the decedent’s probate assets are sufficient to pay the creditors, the personal representative will pay them from the estate. If the probate assets are insufficient, the personal representative may need to obtain court approval to determine which creditors should be paid.

Distributing the Estate

If there are any assets left after the creditors have been paid, those assets are distributed according to the will. If there is no will, the decedent is said to have died intestate. State laws vary as to how to distribute the assets of an intestate decedent.

The personal representative will also file any necessary tax returns. If the estate is owed any money, the personal representative may need to bring a lawsuit in order to collect it. If the will is contested, or if there is any other dispute over how to distribute the estate assets, the personal representative may have to “defend” the will in a probate proceeding.

Avoiding Probate Through Small Estate Administration

If the decedent owned few assets, it may be possible to avoid the probate process. In many states, a “small estate administration” is available. Usually, in order to qualify for a small estate administration, the decedent’s assets must not include real estate and must be worth less than a threshold amount determined by the state. If a small estate administration is applicable, the parties who are entitled to receive the decedent’s assets may collect those assets by way of an “affidavit,” a sworn statement that is filed with the court. Even in a small estate proceeding, though, the decedent’s creditors may need to be paid from the assets before any estate assets are distributed.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

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

Successful Divorce

Successful Divorce

For divorced parents (as with any parents), managing the children’s daily routine and long-term welfare poses an ongoing challenge. As a Long Island family law attorney, I see the sad impact that even well-meaning parents can have when the children are put in difficult or uncomfortable situations. And I see the remarkable difference it makes when both parents are on the same page, with their children’s needs at the forefront.

“Divorce in itself will not destroy your children. It is your reaction to the divorce that has the power to destroy their coping mechanisms,” advises Elinor Robin, Ph.D. in her e-zine article, “Divorce Doesn’t Have to Destroy Your Kids…” In fact, that gem is just one of 50 tips the article provides for divorced and divorcing spouses. My personal favorites range from #1, “Call a truce with your ex…” to #46, “Divorce is not an event, it is a process. Allow yourself, your ex-spouse and your children at least two years for readjustment.”

The article also features great notes for:

  • Navigating the perilous waters of being the non-custodial parent
  • Addressing how to make your time together special without spoiling the youngsters
  • Staying connected over the miles with the help of today’s technology
  • Dealing with teens who would rather spend the weekend with their friends than with the source of their child support

For the best way to handle the transition from one parent’s house to the other, see #7 – “… if possible avoid the dreaded switch by structuring your time sharing so that weekends start Friday after school and end with school drop-off on Monday morning.” Brilliant!

Second Time Around: What About a Prenuptial Agreement?

In a marriage without a prenuptial agreement, the assets and liabilities of divorcing couples are split equitably. If you’re considering a second marriage, you should consider a prenuptial agreement to protect your financial well-being.

While the divorce rate is high for first-time couples, it’s even higher for those who marry a second or third time. When you marry for the second time, you may already have children or have received an inheritance or expect one. Creating a prenuptial agreement the second time around gives you a chance to define what is yours and safeguard your wishes for the estate you have built. Think about the following:

  • Be sure both parties to a second marriage understand the need for financial stability during and after marriage. Instead of presenting your future spouse with an agreement to sign, consider using mediation to develop your prenuptial agreement that ensures both parties have equal say — and equal power — to protect assets and make fair agreements. The experience will give you insight into the financial habits of your intended and put both parties on the same page moving forward.
  • Make sure your agreement is strictly and specifically worded to protect assets you intend to bequeath to your children and others. Hold separate all property and assets you do not want to see split if the marriage does.
  • Discuss and define the present debt of both parties and how that will be managed.

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

What is an Agent for Service of Process?

Before you form a corporation or limited liability company, you’ll need to choose an agent for service of process. Serving as an Agent for service of process or “registered agent” in the State of Utah is one of our Business Law Services.

What is an Agent for Service of Process

The term sounds like complicated legal jargon, but the concept is really quite simple. An agent for service of process is a person who receives lawsuits and other documents on behalf of your business. Depending on the state where you live, the agent may also be referred to as a registered agent or statutory agent.

What Does “Service of Process” Mean?

If someone sues your business, he or she must notify the business that a lawsuit has been filed. Every state has laws that describe how that notice must occur. For example, in some states, a copy of the lawsuit must be personally delivered by process servers, while in other states it must be mailed by the court clerk. The person who delivers the lawsuit makes a record of the date of delivery, or “service,” and this determines your deadline for filing a response.

Delivery of the lawsuit is known as service of process. “Service of process” can also refer to delivery of other legal documents, such as subpoenas requiring you to testify in court.

Why Do I Need an Agent for Service of Process?

If someone sues your corporation or LLC, they need to know who to serve the lawsuit, or “process” upon. And as a business owner, you need to know that if your business is ever sued, you will actually receive notice of the lawsuit. You wouldn’t, for example, want a lawsuit delivered to a part-time teenage employee who’s about to quit.

For this reason, every state’s laws require each business entity to designate a person or company that will accept service of process for the business in that state.

You are required by law to have an agent for service of process in the state where your business was formed and in each additional state where your company is registered to do business.

What Does a Registered Agent for Service of Process Do?

The registered agent is responsible for accepting legal documents that are served on your business. The agent must then forward the documents to the appropriate person in your company.

The agent’s name and address will appear on your business entity’s public records. As a result, the agent may also receive notifications from the secretary of state and taxing authorities. The agent must also forward these notifications to you.

If the agent’s address changes, you must make sure the agent’s address information is updated with the state. Your business may be subject to penalties if it fails to maintain a registered agent.

Who Can Provide Registered Agent Services?

A registered agent must have a street address in the state where he or she is acting as agent – not just a P.O. box. Some states call this the “registered office.” The agent must be available at that address during normal business hours.

Most states allow anyone aged 18 or over to act as agent. You can choose an owner or employee of your business as your agent. You can also name an outside person such as a lawyer, or a business entity that provides registered agent services.

Why Should I Choose You as My Registered Agent?

The registered agent has an important job, so the person or entity you select should be responsible and trustworthy. Although you can save money by acting as your own agent, there are instances where you might prefer to hire someone else to do the job. Here are some things to consider:

  • The agent must be available during normal business hours. If you are not usually in your office during the day, you should choose someone else as agent.
  • If you or one of your employees act as your agent, you may suffer the embarrassment of having a process server deliver court papers in front of your customers and employees.
  • The registered agent’s name and address appear in your corporation or LLC’s public records. If you have privacy concerns, you may prefer to appoint someone else as agent.
  • If you do business in more than one state, you will need an agent in each state. For consistency, you may find it easier to hire a registered agent company to provide this service in all states.

A registered agent is a necessary part of any business entity’s operating structure. By choosing a reliable agent, you ensure that you are promptly informed about legal actions and official correspondence so you can take the proper steps to respond.

Free Consultation with a Utah Business Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business 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

Annulments

While a divorce is a legal action that officially ends a marriage, an annulment is an action in which the marriage is considered to have never been valid in the first place. This is the main reason you should talk to an annulment lawyer because an annulment may be much better from you and a divorce. Thus, a couple that has obtained an annulment would be considered to have never been legally married in the eyes of the law. We’ve also talked about annulments here.

Annulments

It is much more difficult to obtain an annulment than a divorce. To get an annulment, you must prove at least one of the following existed:

  • Bigamy: One of the parties was already married to another person at the time the marriage occurred.
  • Lack of consummation: Either party to the marriage was “incurably unable” to have sexual intercourse when the marriage began.
  • Insanity: Either spouse became incurably insane for at least five years after the marriage.
  • Lack of capacity: One of the spouses lacked the ability to understand the consequences, nature or effect of marriage because of his or her mental capacity. This could be due to drug or alcohol use or a mental disability or disorder.
  • Duress: One of the spouses only agreed to the marriage because he or she was forced or otherwise under duress at the time.
  • Fraud: The marriage consent was obtained by some form of fraud that could have reasonably deceived a typically prudent person, and that fraud was material to obtaining consent. This could involve the concealment of a person’s actual identity. This is the most common ground used to obtain annulments.

Selling Your Home in a Divorce

Selling a home in even the best circumstances can be stressful – and selling as part of a divorce settlement can be especially complicated.

One spouse may focus on maximizing profits, for instance, while the other just wants the sale over with. And combative spouses sometimes want to get their last digs in by impeding the sale. Your settlement should detail each party’s rights and responsibilities – plus the consequences of non-cooperation.

Here are a few “Dos and Don’ts” to ease the process:

  • Do specify how maintenance and repair costs – including those called for in the sales contract — are handled. This will help keep the home in good condition and prevent inspection issues from sidetracking a sale.
  • Don’t advertise that the home is part of a divorce settlement. Buyers might assume extra motivation and be willing to pay less – or simply run away from the potential complications.
  • Do keep the home in showing condition and make every effort to make it available for requested showings, if you are the custodial spouse.
  • Don’t do anything to damage the property or otherwise sabotage the sale. At the very least, it’s unfair to buyers, realtors and attorneys who are just trying to do their part. At the extreme, you could be subject to legal and financial ramifications for obstructing the court-ordered sale.
  • Do give a copy of your divorce decree to the settlement agent so the proceeds can be divided at closing.

These Tips Can Help Make for a More Successful Second Marriage

The statistics don’t lie: second and subsequent marriages are far more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. So what can people marrying for the second time do to minimize the likelihood of another divorce?

The following are a few tips from relationship experts:

  • Take it slow: Too many second marriages fail because people rush into the marriage without taking time to spend some time alone and then truly get to know their new partner. Take plenty of time to clearly identify what it is you want out of a partner.
  • Set your expectations realistically: It’s common for people in second marriages to have unrealistic expectations or views of their partner as a person who is truly “the one” who will make up for their failed marriage the first time around. You must be realistic with your expectations of any relationship.
  • Be willing to compromise: It’s easier as we get older to feel as though compromising is actually giving up what we want — or giving control of our lives to another person. In reality, no matter how old you are, compromise is a cornerstone of a strong relationship. You cannot hope to succeed in your second marriage if you do not compromise.
  • Be upfront about your baggage: Your partner should know about all the baggage you are bringing into the new relationship, and there should be realistic expectations related to how you will be able to overcome this baggage together. If both of you are coming from failed first marriages, this is especially important.
  • Don’t let your past marriage dictate your new one: When disagreements or arguments occur, it’s all too easy to react based on things that happened in your previous relationship. Instead, you must react based on present circumstances. Doing otherwise is unfair to your current partner.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, 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

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

How do I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

According to Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules, it is necessary for a debtor to attend credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. After the completion of counseling, the debtor must pay a fee and provide the bankruptcy court with information about income, debt, expenses, and creditor holdings of secured and unsecured debt. Once the court receives the appropriate paperwork, a trustee will review the case. The trustee will request information from the debtor, communicate with creditors, and hold a creditors meeting. The debtor is also responsible for filing a repayment plan with the court. Once the bankruptcy court approves the repayment plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is complete.

Does filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy stop creditors from collecting a debt?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules state that a creditor may no longer pursue collection activities when a debtor files for bankruptcy. As soon as debtor files the appropriate paperwork and pays the filing fee, an automatic stay takes effect. An automatic stay prohibits creditors from further attempts to collect a debt. This means that any lawsuit proceedings must cease, a creditor may not report the debt to credit reporting agencies, and the debtor’s property and income are safe from seizure. Collection activities may continue for spousal and child support, tax debt, and pension loans, however.

Will a Chapter 13 bankruptcy erase my student loan?

No.

A bankruptcy court will require repayment of your student loan debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules treat student loan debt similar to priority debt–it is payable in full like back taxes and child support payments. Prior to 2005, student loan debt was only dischargeable when funded by a private lender. With the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, however, privately funded student loans are now treated the same as student loans guaranteed or issued by the federal government. This means that all student loan debt is only dischargeable upon a showing of undue hardship.

Typically, it is difficult to convince a bankruptcy court to discharge student loan debt. A bankruptcy court will consider such factors as poverty, the inability to pay the loan due to a permanent disability, and a debtor’s good-faith effort to repay the loan for a long period. To have a student loan debt dismissed, a debtor must file a separate action in bankruptcy court called a Complaint to Determine Dischargeability of a Debt.

If I miss a scheduled payment under my Chapter 13 repayment plan, can a creditor sue me?

If a debtor misses a scheduled payment, Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules allow the trustee to institute an action for dismissal with the bankruptcy court. Because the debtor agreed to repay creditors according to a court-approved Chapter 13 repayment plan, a trustee may request the dismissal of the case once those creditors are no longer receiving payments. A debtor may be able to prevent the dismissal of a case by establishing their ability to repay the debt under the current plan or by requesting that the court approve a new plan.

If the bankruptcy court dismisses the case, a creditor may reinstitute collection activities against the debtor. Bankruptcy laws that prohibit collection attempts no longer protect the debtor at this point. Consequently, creditors may collect the current amount owed on the debt and any interest on the debt that accrued while the debtor was in bankruptcy.

Changes to the Bankruptcy Law

In 2005, new bankruptcy laws required potential bankruptcy individuals to be involved in courses educating and informing them of their financial options. Before an individual files for a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from an approved agency. Any Chapter 7 Lawyer will tell you that it’s required. In addition, before a bankruptcy is discharged, the individual must attain a personal finance management course known as debtor education.

Do I have to get Credit Counseling?

The purpose of credit counseling is to assist an individual’s evaluate his or her financial options and to determine if he or she can repay debts through a repayment plan without filing bankruptcy. In credit counseling, the individual will usually provide information regarding his or her income, expenses, and debts. The counselor then evaluates the information and proposes a repayment plan.

Personal Financial Management and Debtor Education

Debtor education information is meant to instruct individuals to be responsible with their finances. The education is meant for the individual to learn from his or her mistakes and never be in the postion to file bankruptcy again. A debtor education course will usually provide tips in developing a budget, managing finances, using credit responsibly, and how to deal with financial emergencies.

As part of the new bankruptcy laws, people wishing to file for bankruptcy (under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) must now complete a credit counseling program before they will be allowed to file a bankruptcy petition. In addition, bankruptcy filers must obtain debt management counseling before being allowed to complete the bankruptcy process. In order to comply with these credit counseling and post-discharge debtor education requirements, filers must work with agencies that have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program (a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice that is responsible for overseeing bankruptcy cases).

Two lists of agencies that have been approved by the Department of Justice — the first a list of agencies that provide pre-filing credit counseling to those wishing to file for bankruptcy, and the second a list of agencies that offer post-discharge debtor education to people who are completing the bankruptcy process. The third link below includes tips on choosing a credit counselor, from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

On April 15, 2013, the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) announced new policies on credit counseling and debtor education requirements. The list below is some notable new rules.

Quality – The quality of counseling must be consistent whether the debtor takes the course on the Internet, in person, and over the phone. In addition, the counseling must not be generic but individually specific to the debtor.

Use the Cheapest One – Credit counseling agencies and debtor education information providers must charge a reasonable fee that is $15 or less. An individual’s income that falls 150% below the poverty line is eligible for a fee waiver. We reccomend that you use Debtorcc.org – they are fast and the cheapest one that we could find.

Is credit card debt included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan?

To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must repay all secured creditors and priority debts in full and must repay a portion of the amount owed to unsecured creditors. “Secured debt” is a debt obligation backed by collateral such as a car or real property; “priority debt” includes child support payments and back taxes; and “unsecured debt” are those obligations that are not backed by collateral. Unsecured debt includes money owed on a credit card.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy places a filer’s debt into a repayment plan. A bankruptcy court will not approve a plan unless the arrangement requires that the debtor repay all priority and secured debt in full. The repayment plan must also require the debtor to repay unsecured creditors in an amount equal in value to the filer’s nonexempt property. Nonexempt property includes any interest held in real property, business assets, and artwork. Once a Chapter 13 repayment plan begins, a trustee will disburse the monthly payment made by the debtor to the creditors each month.

Free Consultation with 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

Estate Planning Terms

Estate Planning Terms

Terminology related to probate law can be confusing and downright archaic. No wonder. The first mentions of estate planning and probate court come from medieval times, dating back to the days when the United States didn’t exist. Our laws go all the way back to England in the year 1000! Following is an explanation of commonly used words and phrases related to estate planning and probate.

AB Trust – A trust designed to make sure the personal estate tax exemption of each spouse (currently $1.5 million) is used to the fullest extent possible, while allowing the surviving spouse to have use of the assets of the deceased spouse during the remainder of the surviving spouse’s lifetime.

Administrator – A court-appointed person who manages the estate of a deceased person who has died without a will.

Attorney-in-Fact – An individual designated in a power of attorney to act as the agent of the person who executed the document.

Basic Will – A will that distributes everything to your spouse, if living, otherwise to your children when they reach the age of majority (18 years old).

Beneficiary – A person who receives funds, property, or other benefits from a will, contract, or insurance policy.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – A written document in which an individual designates another person to make health care and health-related decisions in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney for Property – A written document in which an individual designates another person to make his or her property and property-related decisions in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so.

Estate – An individual’s property and assets — including real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property such as automobiles and jewelry.

Estate Tax – A tax that is imposed at a person’s death, on the transfers of some types of property from their estate to heirs and beneficiaries.

Executor – A person named in a will who is authorized to manage the estate of the deceased person. The executor will collect the property, pay off any debts, and distribute property and assets according to the terms of the will.

Fiduciary – A person or institution that is legally responsible for the management, investment, and distribution of funds; i.e. the trustee identified in a trust.

Grantor – A person who transfers assets to another, usually into a trust.

Guardian – An individual with the legal authority to care for another, usually a minor child.

Incapacity – A person’s inability to act on his or her own behalf, i.e. the “sound mind” requirement for drafting a valid will. A court makes a finding of incapacity.

Inter vivos trust – A trust that is created during a person’s lifetime, which holds property for the benefit of another.

Intestate – A term used when a person dies without a will.

Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship – A title that is often placed on co-owned property. At the death of one owner, the other owner will be legally entitled to sole possession of the property, regardless of what provisions are made in a will. Spouses often use this form of ownership.

Living Trust – A revocable trust established during a grantor’s lifetime that is used for the placement of some or all of the grantor’s property. In a situation involving a married couple, a basic living trust does not effectively use the personal estate tax exemption of either spouse (the amount of a deceased person’s estate that may pass to his or her heirs without estate taxes, currently $1.5 million). Because of this deficiency of a basic living trust, an AB Trust (discussed above) is often recommended instead to married couples with substantial assets.

Living Will – A binding legal document that sets forth a person’s wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatment in the event that he or she becomes terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

Marital Deduction – A federal tax deduction that allows one spouse to pass his or her estate to the other spouse without having to pay estate or gift taxes.

No Will – A decedent dies without a valid will, so that his or her estate passes to heirs based on the laws of descent and distribution of his or her state.

Pour-Over Will – A will that distributes everything to a trust.

Power of Appointment – A legal right given to a person in order to allow him or her to decide how to distribute a deceased person’s property. A “general” power of appointment places no restrictions on the named person, while a “limited” or “special” power of appointment places restrictions on who may receive distributions.

Power of Attorney – A written document that gives one person the legal authority to act on behalf of another person.

Probate – A process whereby a court reviews a will to make sure that it is authentic, and allows others to make legal challenges to the will.

QTIP Trust – A trust designed to permit a spouse to transfer assets to his/her trust while still maintaining control over the ultimate disposition of those assets at the spouse’s death. QTIP Trusts are particularly popular in situations where a person is married for a second time but has children from a first marriage for whom he/she wants to reserve assets.

State Death or Inheritance Taxes – Taxes that may be imposed by the state where a deceased person lived, or where his or her property is located after death.

Trust – A written document providing that property be held by one (the “trustee”) for the benefit of another (the “beneficiary”). A trust may be created during the grantor’s lifetime or after his or her death.

Trustee – A person named in a trust document who will manage property owned by the trust, and distribute the trust income or property according to the terms of the trust document. A trustee may be an individual or a business.

Will – A document that directs how property shall be distributed upon a deceased persons death.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate plannning or probate law 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