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Divorcing Over Tuna

In London, a man filed for divorce due to a recurring and unpleasant dinner menu. The man declared that his wife had “maliciously and repeatedly” served him his least favorite dish, tuna casserole.

Peculiar as it may seem, cases such as this one come up all the time in England, which unlike every state in the US, does not have a no-fault divorce law. Couples can only file for divorce under five categories, which include adultery and unreasonable behavior.

The reasons for divorce can vary widely. However, a divorce will only be granted according to certain circumstances. Grounds for divorce are regulations specifying the circumstances under which a person will be granted a divorce. States have their own divorce laws. Most allow what are essentially “no – fault” as grounds, but it may be called by other names such as “irreconcilable differences.” Each state has its own unique set of other grounds as well, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion. A person must state the reason they want a divorce and be able to prove that this reason is well-founded.

When it comes to petitioning for divorce, things can become complicated. Receiving advice from friends and family can be risky, as every situation is entirely unique. It is essential to get experienced, committed and focused professional help in order to receive educated counsel and protection when going through a divorce.

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 parentage 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.

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.

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.

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.

Why Hire a Lawyer for an Amicable Divorce?

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So you are considering a divorce. But you also realize that this is an amicable situation. So why is it necessary to involve lawyers if both parties agree to the terms and conditions of the divorce?

The fact of the matter is, divorces are not usually so cut and dry. And these are the type of things that you will really want to read the small print. Lawyers study for years to be able to understand the wording and significance of different agreements and while you may not want to get anyone else involved, you will most likely be saving yourself future pain and frustration.

Like in most big decisions, you’re agreeing to the terms have some big consequences. You will need the help of someone who can advocate for you for custody rights, the division of property and assets, and other issues. Especially if either party wants to file a modification later on. In that case, you will want to have someone on your side who is familiar with your experience.

Though you may consider the divorce amicable, if it turns out to be not-as-amicable as you thought later on, you are taking some risks. The simple truth of the matter is that in order to protect yourself from being taken advantage of, you need the help of experts. Come to the Huntsman Firm and protect your future.

What is Custody?

In a divorce between two individuals who have children, custody will be determined. In Utah divorce law, there are two types of custodies. Physical and Legal.

Custody can be difficult, but is the result of what is in the child's best interest

Physical Custody

Utah defines physical custody as “where the children live”. This means essentially which parent they spend the majority of their time with, and most “overnights”. There are three distinctions of physical custody.

  1. Sole physical custody

This does not mean one parent has the child or children 100% of the time. In Utah, if you are awarded sole physical custody, you will have the them for at 255 “overnights”. This means that the other parent will still be able to have 110 “overnights” with them as well.

  1. Joint physical custody

Each parent will have the child in their home for at least 111 “overnights” every year. This usually requires that both parents live in close proximity to each other and are able to have an open communication with each other.

  1. Split physical custody

Although rare, split custody is when the court splits children up to live with different parents. For example if a couple gets divorced and they have two kids, one will go with person A, and the other will go with person B. This doesn’t mean the kids will never see each other, it just means they have different permanent addresses.

 

Legal Custody

This type of custody refers to who has the right to make important decisions about the child. Until children are 18 years of age and considered legally adults, there will be plenty of things that need to be addressed by the legal guardian with legal custody. There are two distinct types of legal custody, and they function similarly to physical custody.

  1. Sole legal custody

Sole legal custody is essentially what it sounds like. The court may award sole legal custody to a parent meaning that one parent will be completely responsible for decisions on behalf of the child, and the other parent must defer to them.

  1. Joint legal custody

In this situation, parents must share the right to legal custody. The caveat being that a judge may give one parent the right to make specific decisions for the child, but grant the other parent the right of being the primary caregiver of the child.

This decision will be made by a judge in the best interests of the child.

 

Four Reasons to Get a Divorce Lawyer

Relying on a professional attorney is a necessity

  1. Divorce is stressful enough

Deciding to handle your divorce yourself is a decision bound to bring you unnecessary stress. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional trauma you or your children experience, but you also have to think unemotionally and make sure you are getting a fair deal in the actual divorce. Let a lawyer deal with the legal headaches that come with divorce. They will try to make your experience as pain-free as possible so you can focus more on the important things like taking care of your family.

 

  1. Lawyers are experts

Imagine you are in a plane with your pilot friend who wanted to show off his new flying skills. Suddenly he faints and you are the one in charge of flying the plane. Who would you want to be talking you through landing the plane on the radio? A pilot of course. In the same way, lawyers who have studied and prepared to advocate for years are the people you want giving you advice and guidance. They know the ins and outs of the law and will help you to understand the sensitive issues of your divorce from beginning to end.

 

  1. Little mistakes can have big consequences

If you handle your divorce on your own, there are quite a few risks you are taking. For example, If you accidentally overvalue or undervalue an asset when dividing up property, you may have just unwittingly scheduled more court time in the future to take care of it. Since divorce is a legal agreement, you have to be exact on everything and when you are going through a divorce, there is so much stress attached to it that you might miss little mistakes that will cause you more problems later.

 

  1. Lawyers move the process along.

Going back to lawyers being experts at the law, there is a huge amount of paperwork associated with divorce and you may not understand all of it or be able to fill it all out correctly because of the turmoil caused by the divorce–and life in general. If you accidentally fill something out incorrectly, you will most likely have to extend the courtroom time and allow the divorce process to drag on. Let the experts handle it to insure that your divorce moves as fast as possible.

CHOOSE YOUR LAWYER WELL

In the old days, we duked out our differences. Then we hired surrogates to fight for us—Knights on white horses, perhaps. Now we hire lawyers as our surrogates.

If you are establishing parental rights, getting a divorce, seeking a modification, defending or enforcing a protective order, you will do better if you retain a competent lawyer to represent you. Downloading forms from the internet does not substitute for experienced, knowledge-based advocacy. Neither does following the “advice” of relatives, bar buddies, well-meaning friends, or other amateurs.

Here are  eight questions you should always ask a prospective lawyer before you entrust one with what is valuable to you:

  1. Are you licensed and in good standing with the state bar?
  2. Do you have any history of discipline by any state bar?
  3. Did you graduate from an accredited law school? Where?
  4. Do you carry errors and omissions (i.e. malpractice) insurance? For how much?
  5. What is your hourly rate, initial retainer, and how do you determine billings?
  6. Will you respond to my reasonable inquiries within one business day or as soon thereafter as is possible if it is impossible or impractical to so respond?
  7. Do you focus on family law, or are you a “jack of all trades”?
  8. How long have you been practicing law? How much of that time has been devoted exclusively or primarily to family law?

With these questions you can usually separate the good attorneys from the hustlers before you lose a deposit or get your case so screwed up that it will cost you extra even to get back to square one, if that is even possible.

Always:

  1. Hire an attorney with no bar discipline record.
  2. Hire an attorney who refuses to guarantee a specific outcome. Those “guarantees” don’t exist.
  3. Hire a properly licensed attorney who focuses solely on family law.
  4. Hire an attorney with at least 10 years experience in the practice of family law.
  5. Hire an attorney who is responsible enough to maintain a solid errors and omissions policy.
  6. Insist on a written contract of retention with clear and understandable terms. Don’t ever fall for the old “Give me a thousand dollars and I’ll do your case” ploy. Too often the $1,000 disappears and your case stagnates.
  7. Insist on one business day or less for response to your inquiries, and copies of everything generated or received in your case.

At THE HUNTSMAN FIRM, we strive to represent you well, effectively, and with full disclosure.