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King Henry is commonly connected with the start of divorce

History of Divorce

King Henry is commonly connected with the start of divorceAlthough King Henry VIII of England is often associated with the beginning of divorce in the modern world, the truth is that people had been ending their marriages long before this time. Important historical figures such as Julius Caesar and Charlemagne are known to have separated from their wives.

The history of divorce in the United States has primarily been driven by the laws that have been passed over the years. However, the first recorded divorce here happened in 1643, before the American Revolution and the formation of our country. The divorce was between Anne Clarke and her husband, Denis Clarke.

Starting in 1787, the Constitution gave all rights for divorce laws to the individual state legislatures. Divorce laws looked very different at that time than they do now.

Until the late 20th century, a spouse suing for divorce had to prove “fault.” This usually fell into categories of cruelty, abandonment, adultery, or mental illness. Even after this process, the case could still be dismissed in certain circumstances, such as guilt in the suing party.

By the 1960s, legislators and activists had become concerned that many people were using dishonest methods to get around the “fault” clause. In 1969, Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act for the state of California. This was the United States’s first “no-fault” law.

Since then, all 50 states have passed “no-fault” divorce laws. This means that someone doesn’t have to prove their spouse is at fault in any way to file for a divorce. They can divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” or a similar reason.

Although divorce has been evolving for centuries, it still isn’t a perfect science. There are many reasons why a separation can be full of stress, heartache and complications.

At The Huntsman Firm in St. George, Utah, we offer legal advice and representation that will give you the options you need, along with the assistance you are looking for. We focus on family and divorce law. We are committed to giving each case the attention it needs, and we have the experience and knowledge to help resolve your case and give you the best outcome under the circumstances. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor relationship

Divorce in the Limelight

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor relationshipTabloids are constantly turning heads in the grocery store with rumors of the next big celebrity divorce. Sometimes the rumors are true, and the famous stars split. These divorce cases are unbelievably complicated and can cost hundreds of millions of dollars; often during the process, accounts of cheating, abuse, and other scandals will surface.

The infamous relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was such a situation. They met in 1963 on the set of the film Cleopatra. They were each married to other people at the time but divorced their previous partners to be together. Unfortunately, their run at marriage only lasted 10 years. At the time, this scandal was so widely-known that the Vatican even openly condemned the union.

However, your divorce doesn’t need to be shrouded in rumor and scandal to be complex. Everyone is unique, which means every divorce case and situation is different in its own way. Even if the separation is amicable, a divorce changes the lives of everyone involved. These changes often bring stresses and weights as you make related decisions.

Most divorces have to deal with financial as well as emotional and psychological elements. Common financial issues in divorce can include the following:

  • arranging property and investments
  • dividing debts
  • outlining expenses
  • understanding tax implications
  • adjusting retirement plans
  • child support or alimony
  • creating an inventory

This maze of money and finances should be navigated by a professional and should not be taken lightly.

Contact the professionals at The Huntsman Firm in St. George, Utah, for all of your legal divorce needs and questions. R. Clayton Huntsman has been practicing law for over 37 years and focuses exclusively on Utah Divorce and Family Law. He and his associates can provide legal advice and representation for your situation. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

same name couple divorces

Same Name Couple Divorces

A couple by the name of Kelly Hildebrandt and Kelly Hildebrandt, filed for divorce after three years of marriage. Needless to say, they did not need to worry about changing their last names.

The Story of Kelly and Kelly Hildebrandt

The fact that they share the same first and last name is one of the reasons they got together in the first place, and it may likely be one of the reasons they decided to split up. Kelly Katrina, from Florida, ran into the Texan, Kelly Carl, after searching on facebook for people who shared her first and last name. Their relationship began long distance with emails and phone calls and then met face to face two months later. After some time, Kelly and Kelly became engaged and immediately their unique situation gained media attention.

Kelly Carl stated that he is unsure if his marriage was negatively affected by the media attention, but that he wouldn’t want a future spouse to deal with everything he had been through before. Ultimately, the couple stated their split was due to irreconcilable differences.

Divorce Cases in General

While this divorce case truly is one-of-a-kind, it is also true that every divorce case is unique. No two divorce cases are exactly the same, nor should they be treated that way. When it comes to getting legal advice, it is vital to seek experienced, committed and focused professional help. Getting legal advice from friends, family, or others who may have also been through a divorce is very risky. Every individual brings unique facts, history, and case circumstances to the court. Application of statutes, cases, and principles of equity requires skills and attention only a well-qualified and experienced attorney can provide.

The Huntsman Firm provides legal advice and representation in court to give you the options you need along with the assistance you are looking for. We focus exclusively on family and divorce law, and are committed to giving each case the attention it needs. We have the experience and knowledge to help resolve your case and give you the best outcome under the circumstances. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Getting Through the Holidays with Your Ex-Spouse

After a divorce, approaching the holidays becomes difficult. You probably don’t want to spend time with your ex, but it’s important for your children to spend the season with both parents. If you’ve had certain traditions for years, things are going to change after divorce. To enjoy the holidays and create a good experience for your children, be flexible and open to change.

Avoiding Conflict

If you get along well with your ex, a holiday gathering with both of you and your kids makes sense. However, any risk of conflict means it’s better for each parent to have a separate holiday celebration with the children. Another important thing to keep in mind is how much alcohol you drink at these gatherings, as too much could cause you to become argumentative or hostile.

Make Plans in Advance

Discuss your holiday plans and schedules well in advance to prevent any misunderstandings or arguments about who has the kids at what time. Keep your kids in the loop early on so they know who they’ll be with and where they’ll be going.

Let Your Kids Have Influence

Let your children have input into the holiday plans. Think about their favorite traditions as you’re planning. Children need to feel reassured and have some sense of control amidst the family changes. Maintaining traditions in both households gives children a sense that not everything is changing and some things will stay the same.

Create New Traditions

New holiday traditions will make the season special and show that you can embrace the changes in your life. Volunteer work, crafts and community activities are all good ways to celebrate the holiday season with your children.

Reach Out for Support

Take care of yourself during the holidays. Get rest; eat healthy food and exercise, as this gives you more patience to be loving and respectful. Don’t hesitate to reach out to close friends or family members. You can even visit a mental health professional if you’re having a particularly difficult time.

Financial Steps Every Woman Should Take During a Divorce

A divorce is a difficult experience no matter who asks for it. During this emotional crisis, you may want to hide, but there are important steps you need to take if you want to secure your financial future. Divorce always involves a large amount of upheaval, so it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed. If you want to save yourself grief later on, get your finances in order as you prepare for divorce.

Take inventory of financial documents

You immediately need to gather all of your financial records, including bank account information, mortgage statements, credit card bills, wills and trusts. Make copies of all these documents and find a secure place to store them. Never keep these records in your home. Leave them with a reliable friend/family member or use a safe deposit box that your husband can’t access.

Secure funds for legal and other professional fees

It’s possible that your husband controls all the access to family funds, so he can make it difficult for you hire the divorce team that you need. Many husbands often cut off the money supply and force women to sign divorce settlement agreements that are in his favor. Make sure there are secure funds available only to you to avoid this.

Open new accounts in your name

Go to a different bank than the one where you have joint accounts. Open a new checking and savings account in your name. The divorce attorney may tell you to withdraw nearly half of your joint funds and deposit them in your new accounts. Open a new credit card account in your name, but keep in mind that establishing credit on your own will be difficult if you have little or no income.

Get a copy of your credit report

If you keep an eye on your credit report you’ll know if your husband is charging purchases to your joint credit cards. He might also be dissipating marital assets in another way. This also allows you to keep tabs on your credit score.

Open your own post office box

After you hire a divorce team and open new accounts, you want to keep mail confidential. Open a post office box of your own and you’ll never have to worry about your husband reading your mail. Make sure this box is secure, locked and only accessible by you.

Divorce in the United States of America

It is common knowledge that 50 percent of all marriages in America will end in divorce, as the American divorce rate is nearly twice as large as it was in 1960. However, as of this year, studies showed that both marriage and divorce rates have significantly decreased since 2000. According to the most recent study in 2014, marriage rate in the U.S. is currently 6.8 per 1,000 people and the rate of divorce is 3.2 per 1,000 people. Keep in mind that this is a crude divorce rate and does not provide accurate information on the percentage of first marriages ending in divorce.

Reasons Why People Get Divorced

  • Whether it’s for money or to please others, people are still marrying for the wrong reasons. If one partner is wealthy, the other might grow accustomed to a certain quality life and find that difficult to abandon. In other cases, a partner may feel pressured to stay in a marriage because of others’ opinions. Whatever it is, staying in a marriage that you aren’t committed to is a surefire ticket to eventual divorce.
  • Codependency is unhealthy. All human beings need their own lives, interests, hobbies and opportunities to express themselves. If you feel completely reliant on your spouse and don’t know how to live your life alone, this is a sign that you are losing your individuality and need to get out of the marriage.
  • Many people become lost in their marriage and forget their single friends and single interests. When children come into the mix, many parents start neglecting or forgetting the fact that they are a couple. Eventually children grow up and need less care. When this happens many spouses realize that they’ve grown apart and all they have in common is their children.
  • When you and your partner have different expectations of a marriage it’s going to make things difficult. Maybe your spouse expects you to do all of the housework without contributing or you have completely different ideas about spending money. If you’re not on the same page, the marriage is likely going to fail.
  • Sometimes in a marriage, intimacy and romance fades away. Both men and women require sexual and romantic receptivity to feel wanted and fulfilled in a marriage. When these desires lessen on either side, it can cause partners to withdraw due to feeling unloved and unappreciated. When these feelings cannot be repaired it often leads to divorce.

Should I Opt for a Prenuptial Agreement?

We often associate prenuptial agreements with the short-lived marriages of Hollywood stars, but nowadays many “regular” couples are choosing to sign prenuptial agreements. In 2013, 1,600 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers were surveyed and 63 percent reported an increase in prenuptial agreements over the course of three years.

The Pros of a Prenuptial Agreement

Though, a prenup is not the most romantic thing in the world, this document can protect both parties in the event of a divorce, or the death of a spouse. Prenuptial agreements can prevent nasty, expensive court battles and protect each spouse’s premarital assets from being claimed by the other spouse. It was also protects the income and assets that are acquired during the course of the marriage. Without prenuptial agreements, a party may have to pay child support or alimony, but a prenuptial agreement can establish an agreed amount or eliminate it completely from becoming a cause for litigation in the future.

A prenuptial agreement can, of course, be difficult emotionally. However, it is nowhere near as emotionally corrosive as the pain that can be caused by an ugly divorce, especially when there are children involved. Enduring this emotional discomfort early on can prevent years of devastating later on. Prenuptial agreements have been suggested to strengthen a marriage, since it allows each spouse to become aware of where they stand financially. This benefits an individual by providing them with some protection against the unknown of the future. The rights of children from the marriage or relationship can be protected through a prenuptial agreement, and you can even decide how to handle individual financial debts like student loans or credit card bills.

The Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement

In a first marriage, a prenuptial can create permanent friction between spouses and families. Some prenuptial agreements are unnecessary, too broad and mean-spirited, often welcoming marital selfishness and creating a destructive atmosphere. Prenuptial agreements often occur on an uneven playing field, where one spouse has significantly more money or assets than the other. This can lead one spouse to feel selfish and unkind and the other to feel like the victim of an unfair agreement.

The initial prenuptial agreements can be harsh, most state the each party’s past and future assets and income belong to the party alone, except for intentional joint property. This agreement has no inheritance requirement if the couple is still married when one partner dies and there is also often an alimony waiver. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement can increase the belief that you and your spouse aren’t fully committed to making the marriage work even when things get difficult.

Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Approximately 75 percent of American marriages end in divorce, so a prenuptial agreement is a realistic decision to make rather than a romantic one. If you want to protect your assets and finances and avoid heartbreak, grief and stress, a prenuptial agreement is an extremely wise decision to make. Keep in mind that both parties must voluntarily enter into the agreement in order for it to be valid and that no prenuptial agreement can violate criminal law or public policy.

Tips for Ex-Spouses on Successfully Co-Parenting Children

Parenting your children with an ex-spouse is a challenge that involves open communication with someone you don’t get along with, and in some cases, someone you can hardly stand to be in the same room with. Even if this is the case, your children haven’t done anything wrong and they deserve to be cared for by both of their parents in equal measure.

Fortunately the legal team at The Huntsman Firm has some advice for divorced parents on how to successfully co-parent their children without argument or drama:

    • Establish a business-like relationship with your ex
    • Give your ex the benefit of the doubt
    • Do not discuss disputes or speak ill of the other parent around your children
    • Respect the other parent ‘s privacy and don’t tap your children for information about their household, life, friends, income, etc.
    • Both spouses need to acknowledge their children’s sadness, confusion, guilt and feelings of abandonment and talk to them about those feelings
    • Make sure your children know that they are not guilty of anything and both parents love them equally
    • Bury the hatchet, stop being defensive and call a truce
    • Remain a good example for your kids
    • Don’t hesitate to seek professional therapy
    • Keep open communication open with your children

Separate Feelings from Behavior

Being hurt and angry in a divorce is natural, but these feelings shouldn’t dictate your behavior. If you’re upset, don’t vent to your children. Talk to a friend, therapist or another family member if you need to get something off your chest. Always keep your child’s best interests at heart and this might help you keep calm and resist becoming overwhelmed by anger. You can also breathe deeply, practice meditation and exercise to remain stable and collected.

It’s also essential to never, ever put your children into the middle of the situation. Your resentment and bitterness towards an ex is natural, but you need to keep those feelings distanced from your children. Children should never be used as messengers or placed in a mediator position.

How Debt is Divided Up

 

When thinking about how to divide assets and property, it is easy to overlook debt, and how it will be divided between the individuals.

If both parties in the divorce are able to come to an agreement about how they will split their debt, the court will usually honor that agreement. However, if they cannot come to agreement about how to divide it, the judge will determine how it is to be divided.

Equitable division

When debt is equitably divided, the judge considers all aspects of the debt, of the divorce, of each individual and their circumstances. It is important to know that debts will most likely not be split down the middle if the judge is the one who has to divide it; it is equitable, not equal. For example, if the item or service is used exclusively by one person, generally, the other will not be forced to pay the debt for it.

Debts entered into during marriage

All debt entered into after the marriage is usually deemed marital debt. The house, a boat, or a car are all things that may have debt attributed to them, and will often  be split between the two parties. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you and your spouse bought a boat together during marriage, and then you kept it for yourself afterward, you would also be primarily responsible for the debt associated with the boat.  Medical expenses on behalf of any minor children will also be split between the couple.  If one party keeps an item with debt, such as a vehicle with a payment, then both asset and debt may be awarded accordingly.  Parties need to remember that there is usually no benefit without the accompanying burden, and visa-versa.

Debts entered into before marriage, and personal debts

Any debts either party entered into before marriage will generally stay with the individual whose debt it is, so long as it has not been commingled. The same may also apply to debts entered into for solely one person, especially if it is not used as a marital asset. For example, if (while married) you went into debt to buy an expensive personal computer for your own private use, you will likely hold onto that debt upon divorce. Proving this can be difficult sometimes, because it is not always completely clear who had sole use of a product or service.

Legal issues are not  simple.  There is not an easy, bright-line on every issue, espite what a relative or bar-buddy may tell you.  You should get excellent  representation, and you will  at the Huntsman Firm.

 

A LICENSE TO PARENT

In our society, we need a license to drive a car on a public street. We need a license to practice law or medicine, to be a professional contractor, electrician or plumber, to hunt deer or to fish a public stream. Even a dog or cat needs a license to survive these days. You need a license to marry.

But you do not need a license to have or raise our precious children.

The law generally assumes that children born into a valid marriage “belong” to the parties to that marriage. Custody, parent time and related legal rights between lawfully married parents generally do not need to be proven, unless there is a divorce or legal separation.

If you choose to sire, conceive, bear, and raise up these treasures, do it right. Love them. Take quality time with them, and lots of it. Choose their other parent with care before creating this important life. Be kind to the other parent.

Kids are damaged when parents fight. It’s not about you. It’s about them. And they know when there is undue stress or abuse of any kind in the home. They rarely, if ever, recover from it.

Children are your trust. Their needs must come before your own, despite the noise you may hear from “modern” counselors of the joys of a self-centered life.

For a better marriage, or when serious strains appear, good professional counseling from a clinical psychologist or a licensed therapist is often helpful. But if all fails, hire a good lawyer to protect yourself and your children.

See our blog “Choose Your Lawyer Well”.