How to Divorce-Proof Your Business

It can happen to the best of entrepreneurs. While a new business owner is putting in long hours to build a business, a marriage can fray. The next thing the owner knows, his or her spouse may be filing for divorce.

This scenario is all too common. Forty percent to 50 percent of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, according to a 2010 report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The divorce rate for second marriages is even higher.

How to Divorce-Proof Your Business

For those whose marriage is in trouble or who are about to begin a divorce, a few strategies can help preserve a business. Once the divorce proceedings start, entrepreneurs won’t likely be able to implement some other legal maneuvers that, if accomplished in happier times, could keep their business from landing in a soon-to-be ex’s possession.

Businesses Can Be Destroyed By Divorce

If you’re not careful in a divorce, you could find your ex is your business partner — or you could be fighting to keep your enterprise from being sold to raise cash.

Or you might lose the business to your ex. That’s what happened to Tereson Dupuy, founder of FuzziBunz, an online cloth-diaper business based in Lafayette, La.

Dupuy launched the company three years into her marriage after seeking better diapering options for her second child. But in 2005, close to the couple’s 10-year anniversary, the marriage unraveled. Dupuy discovered FuzziBunz would be considered a joint marital asset. Louisiana is one of a handful “community property” states, including California, which assume each divorcing spouse owns half the property accumulated during the marriage.

Dupuy says the stress of the divorce drove her into a nervous collapse and within 24 hours a judge put her husband in control of the company.

It took Dupuy a year and a large lump-sum payment to her ex — plus $15,000-a-month payments to her ex over many years — to regain ownership. The payments drained cash, and bankers considered her need to pay them outstanding debt, making it hard for her to borrow needed growth capital.

Is your marriage headed toward a divorce?

Here are seven strategies to consider if a divorce is threatened or already underway and your company is considered a joint asset.

  1. Keep the family’s finances separate from those of the business. “Don’t borrow out of the house [account] to buy company trucks,” Kornitzer says.
  2. Pay yourself a good salary. If you starve the family’s cash flow to build the business, a lawyer might later make the case that your ex is entitled to more of the company’s assets.
  3. Fire your spouse. If your spouse is actively involved in your business, ease him or her out as soon as possible, says divorce lawyer Daniel Clement, principal of New York City family law firm Clement Law. The more prominent the ex’s role and the longer he or she worked in the business, the stronger the case a lawyer could make that this spouse helped build the enterprise and should profit from its growth.
  4. Sacrifice other assets. In a divorce settlement, a couple’s total assets are added up and then divided. Try to retain 100 percent ownership of the business by forfeiting other assets instead, such as retirement accounts, the family’s home, vehicles or collectibles, Clement says.
  5. Get a fair valuation. Use a neutral, court-appointed valuation professional and then arrange for another outside party to review the figure before you agree to it, Clement says. Dupuy wishes she had challenged FuzziBunz’s valuation, which was based on a projection of 10 years of future growth rather than current revenue, she says.
  6. Arrange to make any payments over time. It’s common to pay an ex for a share of a business gradually, as Dupuy did. The monthly payments can come from the business’s cash flow or a bank loan.
  7. Raise capital by selling a stake. You could sell a minority stake in your business to employees through an employee stock ownership plan, Landers says. Or find an angel investor or two who will pay cash in exchange for an ownership stake.

One bright spot for entrepreneurs: It’s rare that a business ends up being sold off to satisfy a divorce settlement, Clement reports. That’s because it would deprive the business owner of the future income needed to pay support payments.

Preventive Moves To Protect Your Business in Divorce

Take action while your relationship is still rosy and you may greatly increase your odds of surviving a divorce with your business intact.

Here are five pre-emptive strategies that can help protect you from losing your business in a divorce.

  1. Sign a prenup. If your business existed before you wed, designate it as separate property owned by only you.

 

  1. Secure an early postnup. This is much like a prenup, except the agreement is signed after the wedding. If a postnup is done long before the marriage disintegrates — ideally more than seven years before a breakup – it might be useful in defining a business as separate property. But judges often view postnups skeptically.
  1. Place the business in a trust. This keeps the business from being counted as a marital asset as you no longer personally own it. The move also protects the value of the company’s growth.

 

  1. Create a buy-sell agreement. It defines what happens to a business should any owner’s status change, as is the case in a divorce. The agreement might limit a spouse’s ability to acquire ownership, deprive a divorcing spouse of voting rights, or give you or other partners the right to buy at a low, preset price any interest awarded the ex.
  1. Have insurance. A whole-life insurance policy that builds cash value can be liquidated to provide the funds to buy out a spouse’s share of the business, if need be.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer in Utah that Can Protect Your Business

If you have a question about divorce law and how to protect your business in a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175200350046

Advertisements

Help a Loved One Make a Power of Attorney

Watching a loved one decline is hard enough by itself, but the process can become a nightmare if that loved one hasn’t set up powers of attorney for healthcare and/or finances. It’s imperative that family members and loved ones make decisions while they are healthy about whom they want to make decisions for them if and when they become incapacitated. There are two key areas where a person needs to establish a power of attorney in someone they trust: healthcare and finances.

Help a Loved One Make a Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

The power of attorney for healthcare is given to the person you want to make medical decisions for you in an emergency. Even though you may have set out your wishes in your healthcare declaration, such documents can never cover every circumstance, and the person who has a durable power of attorney for healthcare is the person who makes decisions not covered by your healthcare directive. Keep in mind that the person with a power of attorney for healthcare can never contradict the terms of your healthcare declaration. Depending on the state you live in, the person you grant a durable power of attorney for healthcare will typically be called your “agent,” “proxy,” or “attorney-in-fact”. The typical rights for this person include:

  • The power to offer or deny consent for medical treatments so long as it doesn’t disagree with anything in your living will.
  • The power to decide what medical facilities you should go to.
  • The power to decide which doctors and medical personnel you should see.
  • The power to go to court over whether to receive or withhold medical treatment.
  • The power to decide about how your body will be handled after death, often including organ donation (if you have specific feelings on these matters, write them into your living will which will always trump someone with power of attorney).
  • Access to your medical records.
  • Visitation rights.

In granting the power of attorney, you can give a person complete authority to make all decisions, or limit them significantly to make only specific decisions. Be careful when greatly limiting such power, however, since the primary reason to have such a person is because your living will cannot cover every possibility. If you want specificity, it is better to do that in your living will, which the person with a durable power of attorney can’t override anyways.

In order to create a power of attorney for healthcare, most states only require that you be an adult (typically 18) and be competent when you create the document. This document takes effect when your doctor declares that you lack the “capacity” to make your own health care decisions. The power of attorney for healthcare is generally only extinguished upon your death, revocation by you or a court, or upon divorce if the power of attorney was granted to the ex-spouse.

Power of Attorney for Finances

The power of attorney for finances is given to allow someone else to manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself. More precisely, the financial power of attorney is a document that grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues. This person’s official title depends on the state you live in, but is often referred to as your agent or as an attorney-in-fact. Just as with the power of attorney for healthcare, you can set the limits of your financial 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. 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.

To create a power of attorney for finances, most states offer simple forms to fill out. Although most states don’t require that you use these forms, it is always a good idea to do so. Generally, the document must be signed, witnessed and notarized by an adult. 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. In addition, 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. Finally, the power of attorney for finances is generally only extinguished upon your death, revocation by you or a court, or upon divorce.

Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Utah

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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175190081726

Filing for Divorce While Living Abroad

Although this article provides a basic overview of international divorce, we are by no means suggesting you should handle a foreign divorce on your own. Transnational divorce is a complex and a fairly new field of the law. You should speak with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through this process and ensure your divorce is valid.

Filing for Divorce While Living Abroad

When the Filing Spouse Lives Overseas

Filing for a divorce while living abroad often presents complex legal questions. First of all, you may need to abide by local law in order to get a divorce. If so, you should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area to obtain a list of local attorneys that can help you get the divorce process started.

Check the U.S. Department of State’s website for a list of all U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions and a link to their websites.

Will the United States recognize a foreign divorce decree?

The short answer is yes, but only to a certain extent and not in all circumstances. Most states recognize divorce decrees from foreign countries as long as the foreign country ensures certain procedural requirements have been met (such as proper notice to the parties). To find out if a foreign divorce decree is considered valid or is recognized in your state, contact your state’s Attorney General. You could also contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Although a United States court is likely to recognize a foreign divorce decree as having terminated your status of being “married,” foreign divorce orders may not be effective for dealing with all of the issues in your divorce. For example, if your children are U.S. citizens residing in the United States and you file for divorce while living abroad, the foreign court is not likely to issue orders regarding custody of the children, because it will not have jurisdiction (authority) to make child custody orders over U.S. citizens living in the United States. And, even if the foreign court issues orders that purport to deal with the custody of your minor children, a United States court is not required to honor such foreign custody orders. The United States court (the local state court) will have jurisdiction over the children and will issue its own custody orders.

Finally, a foreign divorce decree may not be effective to divide property, such as retirement benefits, located in the United States.

When the Filing Spouse Lives in the United States

If you are living in the United States and want to file for divorce from a spouse that’s living abroad, you’ll want to talk to an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and make sure you are taking all necessary steps.

First, you’ll need to file a petition (paperwork) for divorce in your local court, and make sure you meet state and local residency requirements. You’ll also need to have a copy of the divorce petition and a summons “served” (meaning personally delivered) on your spouse, unless your spouse agrees to waive (forgo) the process requirements. If your spouse agrees to waive personal service of process, then he or she can sign an affidavit stating they have been served, and you can file that with the local court and move on to the next phase of the divorce.

If not, and your spouse insists on service of process or tries to avoid service, things will be more complicated. You may need to comply with the laws regarding service of process for the foreign country where your spouse lives. If the country where your spouse lives is a member of the Hague Service Convention, it will govern the international service of process. If not, you’ll have to figure out how service can be completed. In some countries, you may serve the summons by a letter request or “Letters Rogatory,” while in others you must have the paperwork served on a central government authority or an overseas agent who will then guarantee delivery of the papers on your spouse. In all cases, you’ll probably want to speak with an attorney here in the United States andan attorney in the foreign country who can make sure service is being handled correctly on that end.

Next, the local state court will need to determine if it has jurisdiction (authority) to make orders over your spouse. This will depend, at least in part, on the extent of your spouse’s contacts with the state. Whether or not the local state court can issue orders over your spouse in the divorce proceeding will also depend on a variety of other factors, including whether or not you seek orders regarding custody of the children or division of property. Your attorney(s) will need to perform a careful analysis of the facts of your case and the laws regarding your spouse’s country of residence.

Overseas Divorce in the Military

The divorce process for U.S. military spouses can be a bit trickier than civilian matters, as the U.S. military has its own codes and processes that govern divorce-related matters. In this situation, you should consult a lawyer with experience in military divorce to ensure that the filing, processing, and serving of divorce papers are all handled correctly.

Free Consultation with a Utah Divorce Lawyer

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175167572301

Who Can Challenge a Will?

Not everyone can challenge a will. For instance, you cannot challenge your cousin’s will just because you believe his estate would be better off in the hands of another relative. In addition, you cannot contest a will just because you do not believe you received a fair share.

Who Can Challenge a Will

According to Utah probate law, only “interested persons” may challenge a will – and even still only for valid legal reasons. The Probate Code identifies “interested persons” to include children, heirs, devisees, spouses, creditors, or any others having a property right, or claim against, the estate being administered. Therefore, those who may challenge a will generally fall into one of three main categories: (1) beneficiaries of a prior will, (2) beneficiaries of a subsequent will, and (3) intestate heirs.

You Must Have Standing to Challege a Will

While state laws vary from state to state, all states have laws that must be met before a will contest may take place. The first requirement is “standing”. A person who has “standing” to challenge a will is typically someone who is named on the face of the will (such as the beneficiary) or someone who is not the beneficiary, but who would inherit (or lose) under the will if the will was deemed invalid. Standing is the first requirement to overcome to contest a will. You must either show that you were named on the will (or should have been), or show that you would have received something of value (typically money) if the person had died without a will.

Are you a Beneficiary of the Will?

Beneficiaries have standing to challenge a will, whether or not they are relatives of the deceased. Beneficiaries are those who are named in a will and can include your spouse, children, grandchildren, or other relatives, but can also include friends, charitable organization (like churches, synagogues, and universities), charities, and even pets.

Are You one of the Deceased Heirs?

Heirs have standing to challenge a will because if a testator dies without having a will, heirs would receive a share of the estate through the laws of intestate. Heirs are the most commonly named beneficiaries to a will. Heirs are relatives who inherit under a will when a decedent dies “intestate”, or without a will. This typically includes spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. Heirs can challenge a will if they believe there were omitted or left with a disproportionate share in the will.

Are you a Minor?

Under some laws, minors who would like to challenge a will may do so, but only after they reach the age of majority (typically age 18). This is because minors are not legally able to initiate legal proceedings, except under the guidelines of an executor or court representative.

Does the Will have a ‘No Contest’ Clause?

Wills sometimes have what is known as a “no contest” clause as a condition of the will. A “no contest” clause has the effect of disinheriting someone out of a will. If a beneficiary losses a challenge under the will, the beneficiary may be left out from inheriting under the will, thus disinheriting the will. Because a “no contest” clause often forces a contesting beneficiary to make a “take it or leave it” decision or risks losing everything, “no contest” clauses are generally not enforceable and, in most states, anyone with standing can challenge a will if they have valid reasons to challenge it.

Free Consultation with a Probate Lawyer in Utah

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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175158922166

AB Trusts

AB Trusts

Normally, when one spouse dies passing on his/her assets in a last will and testament, the estate will be taxed heavily before the beneficiaries receive it. To avoid this steep estate tax, spouses can set up an AB trust, where each spouse leaves their property to an irrevocable trust. When it comes to estate planning, an AB trust is a trust created by married couples to maximize their federal estate tax exemptions. A lot of people believe that AB trusts only benefit those with large estates. The truth is anyone who may owe estate tax can benefit from an AB trust.

 How the AB Trust System Works

When the first spouse dies, the beneficiaries (usually the couple’s children) named in the trust receive that spouse’s property. However, this irrevocable trust is to be used for the benefit of the surviving spouse, who does not technically own the property. There is a crucial condition that the property can be used by the surviving spouse and that the surviving spouse may even spend principal in certain instances. Once the surviving spouse dies, all the property rights and benefits of the irrevocable trust pass to the surviving beneficiaries of the trust. Because the surviving spouse does not own the property, it is not subject to estate tax. Setting up an AB trust this way keeps the portion of the surviving spouse’s estate that is taxable half of what it would be without an AB trust.

Surviving Spouse’s Rights Over the Assets

As mentioned, the AB trust is left with the condition that it is to benefit the surviving spouse. This gives the surviving spouse some power over the assets, depending on the provisions of the trust. This is a part of probate law that some people struggle with.

The surviving spouse’s rights and benefits include receiving all income from the trust property, including:

  • Interest
  • Using the property
  • Spending to benefit his or her health, support and maintenance, standard of living, and education

The surviving spouse maintains these rights until her death, at which time all of the property is distributed to the beneficiaries of the original trust, and all of the surviving spouse’s property is distributed to his or her beneficiaries.

Disadvantages of an AB trust

The AB trust is irrevocable. Once one spouse dies, there cannot be any changes made to the trust. This can create some issues and has even caused friction between the surviving spouse and the named beneficiaries of the trust. As mentioned, the surviving spouse’s rights to use the property are limited. Where at one time this used to be the property he or she shared with his or her spouse, to do with as they pleased, this property is now restricted to certain uses and rights.

Settling and distributing property in an AB trust can be expensive and often requires a lawyer and accountant. Furthermore, these tax laws are always changing. You’ll need to keep current, or hire a professional to keep you current, on these changes and what they mean for you and your trust. These changes may even encourage you to change or even revoke your trust.

There is a lot of paperwork and bookkeeping required in an AB trust. The surviving spouse needs a tax ID number for the irrevocable trust and must file annual income tax returns on the trust. He or she must also keep records of all the AB trust property.

Is an AB trust is Right for You?

An AB trust is best suited for those married couples who are both over the age of 60 and do not have children from previous marriages. Often times when there are children from previous marriages conflicts arise between the surviving spouse and the deceased spouse’s children about who should share in the assets. If you think an AB trust might be for you or you have more questions, you should consult an attorney who can advise you based on your specific circumstances and your specific needs.

Free Consultation with a Utah 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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175136257521

Emancipation of Minors

It seems like every child wonders when he or she can be treated like an adult. The answer usually varies depending on whether they are asking their parents or the legal system. In family law cases, emancipation of a minor (also called “divorce from parents”) refers to a court process through which a minor can become legally recognized as an independent adult. Through emancipation, a minor can take responsibility for his or her own welfare, and make the major decisions that parents typically would handle. Therefore, minors will generally need to establish their ability to independently live and support themselves before a court will grant emancipation.

Emancipation of Minors

This section provides information on the emancipation process, from the basics of emancipation law and age restrictions to the rights and responsibilities that come with it. In addition, some states have unique minor emancipation laws, which are listed in this section. There are also resources for parents, including a guide to when and if their legal obligations to emancipated children continue.

Benefits and Limitations of Emancipation

The benefits of emancipation are apparent to the minor: the ability to enter into contracts (including automobile and housing agreements), the ability to make their own education and medical decisions, and the ability to keep all of their income and determine how it is spent. For parents, they no longer need to support the child, financially or otherwise, and most child support will cease when the child is emancipated. However, emancipation does not make a minor an adult in terms of every law. Even an emancipated minor will have to wait until they reach the age of majority (usually 18) before they have the right to vote or get married. It should be noted that not every state provides the legal means for emancipation.

Requirements for Emancipation

Even though most emancipations are an effort to circumvent age requirements, there are still minimum ages that must be attained before a court will grant emancipation. These vary depending on the state, with some setting them as low as 14 and as high as 18 (where the age of majority is 19). There may also be notification requirements for the filing, and information that must be included in the emancipation filing, which can also vary depending on the jurisdiction. In most every case, a court will make a determination based on what it sees as the child’s best interests. Some factors would include the child’s financial and living situation, their maturity and decision-making ability, and any family history of abuse or neglect.

Procedure for Emancipation

In certain circumstances, emancipation is automatic. For example, once a minor joins the armed forces or gets married, they are generally considered legally emancipated. In all other cases, the minor will have to petition the court for emancipation. The threshold of evidence a minor must show in order to be granted emancipation will vary, but normally the minor must prove financial independence, adequate living arrangements, and sufficient maturity. As noted above, the court will look to the minor’s best interest when making an emancipation ruling.

Legal Assistance for Emancipation

While it may be possible to petition the court for emancipation on your own, it never hurts to have some expertise on your side. A qualified family attorney or a local legal aid office can provide more specific guidance regarding the local requirements and emancipation procedures.

Free Initial Consultation with Family Lawyer in Utah

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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175126236921

Child Visitation

Biological parents have a right to seek child visitation or child custody. This is true regardless of whether the child’s parents were married when the child was born. Like other child custody decisions, courts use the best interest of the child to decide disputed child visitation or custody cases involving unmarried fathers. Unless evidence indicates otherwise, courts making child visitation decisions presume that involvement of both parents benefits the child.

Child Visitation

You Need to Establish Paternity if You’re Not Married

Fathers who were not married when their child was born must legally establish paternity in order to gain access to father’s rights. Often, this simply means both parents signing and filing an acknowledgment of paternity with the appropriate state agency or court, either at the time of the child’s birth or afterward. In disputed paternity cases, a legal process including DNA testing will conclude with a court order stating whether the man in question is the child’s biological father.

Once paternity is established, a father may pursue child visitation or other child custody rights. Many states offer simultaneous filing for recognition of paternity and for visitation or custody rights.

Child Visitation and Child Custody Agreements

Either before or after a legal process has begun, many parents negotiate a parenting agreement (also called a parenting plan). A parenting agreement can include a wide variety of details including which parent will have primary custody, specifics on the other parents visitation periods, particulars on which parent will make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care or religion, as well as procedures for the handling of potential changes to the arrangement.

Court Orders on Child Visitation or Custody

Either after securing a parenting agreement, or if unable to agree, either parent may petition the court for child visitation or custody help. Parents who can agree to a parenting plan may file it with a court, asking the judge to approve and incorporate it into a court order on visitation and/or custody. Having the agreement become part of a court order allows either parent a direct way to enforce his or her parental rights.

If the parents cannot agree on visitation or custody arrangements, either one may ask the court to grant his or her request through a contested hearing. Courts deciding visitation and other custody issues focus on the best interest of the child. Generally, courts presume that children benefits from having both parents involved in their upbringing. This presumption can be overcome if one parent can show that visitation or custody by the other parent would likely cause harm to the child. For example, evidence of domestic violence or drug problems could be used to argue against a parent having custody or visitation with a child.

It is rare for fathers to win sole custody of a child already being raised by the mother. To do so, an unmarried father would likely need to show that the mother is unfit to raise the child and/or that he has been the child’s primary caregiver. Child visitation or shared custody rights, however, allow many unmarried fathers to play a consistent role in their children’s’ lives.

Should arrangements need to change, the court can modify the child visitation or custody order, either after both parents agree to the change, or after one parent petitions the court to make the change. Some states allow parents to agree on modification to visitation arrangements without a courts approval, however, a modified updated court orders allow easier enforcement of agreed arrangements.

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Child Custody and Child Visitation Concerns

Each state has their own laws surrounding child custody, child visitation, and the role of unmarried fathers. In Utah, the quicker you act the better off you are. While unmarried fathers do have parental rights, understanding the boundaries and limitations of those rights is important moving forward. You should
contact a Utah child custody lawyer right away to protect your rights or you will lose your rights. A local family law attorney with experience in these matters can help you avoid problems and give you peace of mind. Get started today with a free legal evaluation of your case.

Free Consultation with a Utah Child Custody Lawyer

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175104202721

10 Reasons to Have a Will

Having a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.

10 Reasons to Have a Will

While each person’s situation varies, here are the top ten reasons to have a will.

1) You decide how your estate will be distributed. A will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. Having a will helps minimize any family fights about your estate that may arise, and also determines the “who, what, and when” of your estate.

2) You decide who will take care of your minor children. A will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.

3) To avoid a lengthy probate process. Contrary to common belief, all estates must go through the probate process, with or without a will. Having a will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of “administering your estate”, and when you die without a will (known as dying “intestate”), the court will decide how to divide estate without your input, which can also cause long, unnecessary delays.

4) Minimize estate taxes. Another reason to have a will is because it allows you to minimize your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

5) You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized (which may or may not always be a family member).

6) You can disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit. Most people do not realize they can disinherit individuals out of their will. Yes, you may wish to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate if you die without a will. Because wills specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed, absent a will your estate may end up on the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend (such as an ex-spouse with whom you had a bitter divorce).

7) Make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests. In addition, gifts up to $13,000 are excluded from estate tax, so you’re also increasing the value of your estate for your heirs and beneficiaries to enjoy. Be sure to check the current laws for your year to learn the most up-to-date gift tax exclusions.

8) Avoid greater legal challenges. If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. For example, one case involved the estate of a deceased son who was awarded over $1 million from a wrongful death lawsuit. When the son died, the son’s father – who had not been a part of his son’s life for over 32 years – stood to inherit the entire estate, leaving close relatives and siblings out of the picture!

9) Because you can change your mind if your life circumstances change. A good reason for having a will is that you can change it at any time while you’re still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your will are necessary.

10) Because tomorrow is not promised. Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a will. Sometimes the realization that wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, it may be wise to meet with an estate planning lawyer to help you draw up a basic estate plan at the minimum, before it’s too late. Be sure to read What Not To Include When Making a Will for more wills information.

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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175094337096

Living Will

Living Will

The term “living will” is a bit of a misnomer, as living wills are not wills in the traditional sense. A typical will takes effect upon a person’s death, providing instructions such as for the distribution of his or her property and other assets. A living will, on the other hand, allows a person to specify medical treatment and care instructions that take effect while he or she is still living. This is a part of estate planning. For example, if a person becomes mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to make or communicate health care decisions, a living will provides family members and hospital personnel with the person’s medical care instructions and preferences. This section provides information and resources related to living wills and other health care directives. You’ll also find an overview of state living will laws, a sample living will form, and a discussion of a health care power of attorney.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that contains a person’s medical care and treatment instructions. The purpose of a living will is to allow a person to express health care decisions while he or she is mentally able to do so. In general, health care providers are required to obey the instructions contained in a person’s living will.

What Types of Procedures Are Covered in a Living Will?

States have passed laws covering living wills and other forms of health care estate plans. Because there are differences in these laws, it’s important to be fully informed of applicable regulations and requirements as you begin to plan your living will. In many states, a living will allows a person to express instructions concerning the use of a respirator to maintain breathing, the use of procedures such as blood transfusions and dialysis, and the injection of intravenous fluids and nutrients to sustain life. Keep in mind that a living will allows you to both refuse and to accept certain forms of treatment. For example, a person can refuse to undergo blood transfusions while stating an intent to receive intravenous drugs.

Benefits of Creating a Living Will Now

A person who creates a valid living will can feel secure in knowing that his or her medical care instructions will be honored. By creating a living will or other similar plan, you can avoid unwanted medical treatments and their associated costs. As an added benefit, your family members and friends will have advance knowledge of your medical and end-of-life care preferences. This can prevent emotional and harmful disputes from occurring.

Health Care Power of Attorney or a Living Will?

An alternative to drafting a living will is creating a health care power of attorney. This is a legal document that allows one person to grant another person the authority to make medical care and treatment decisions on the first person’s behalf. If you have a trusted family member or close friend who is a medical care professional, a health care power of attorney relationship can be a good idea. In Utah, you really should use the Advanced Health Care Directive that the Utah Legislature has put into place. A Utah lawyer can help you with this.

How an Attorney Can Help with your Living Will

If you have questions about living wills and other types of health care estate plans, an attorney can answer them. He or she can also help you to create a living will that reflects your intentions and wishes. This section provides a link for consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer in your area.

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

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175071148916

20 Secrets to Building a Great Marriage

20 Secrets to Building a Great Marriage

Too often, at Ascent Law, we talk about divorce, child custody and other marital issues. Sometimes we foget to talk about good things – things that’ll help in a marriage. So, here is some advice. Many couples could avoid divorce if they got some good advice (and remembered it) when their marriage started having serious trouble. Here are some tips that should benefit most couples.

  1. Think before you speak.Couples tend to develop hot button issues that cause frequent arguments. You can reduce bickering by waiting before responding to something that has made you angry. Count to ten. It may be better to discuss difficult issues once emotions are not so high.
  2. Don’t give up.Any married person will tell you that marriages wax and wane. There are good times, bad times, and so-so times. A marriage is viable if the good outweighs the bad, even by a little bit. The more you appreciate the good and try to let the bad roll off, the easier it will get, and the more fondness and connection you will feel towards your spouse.
  3. Give your marriage at least as much attention as you give your hobbies.People spend huge amounts of time, money, and effort on their off-work interests. But when a marriage is making them feel bad, some throw up their hands and decide that it’s useless to try anymore. Reading books on marriage, conflict resolution, and communication techniques will help your marriage. Getting your spouse to read them is even better.
  4. Treat your spouse better than you treat anyone else.Have you heard the expression “familiarity breeds contempt?” The unfortunate truth is that people tend to treat their spouses worse than they treat strangers. Retrain yourself to give your spouse the utmost respect.
  5. Have separate interests.Make sure you have some private space, and give your spouse some, too. Marriage entails a lot of togetherness, but you don’t need to be joined at the hip.
  6. Encourage your spouse’s dreams and goals.In a successful marriage, one spouse is happy for the other’s successes. Good spouses foster the other in achieving goals. Sometimes goals, such as a career change, are scary and need to be carefully evaluated. Do the work together.
  7. Find things you enjoy doing together.A marriage is a partnership. If you both have totally separate interests, you will eventually grow apart. Find shared interests, pursuits, and enjoyment, recognizing that these activities will probably change over time.
  8. Don’t think the grass is always greener on the other side.Most people who leave their marriages for someone else find the same problems in the new relationship, and many regret not having worked things out in their first marriage.
  9. Don’t sweat the little things.As in the world of work, it is important to have priorities. Carefully pick your battles, and let the other stuff slide.
  10. Compliment your spouse at least once every day.This leads to a healthy relationship, and it is the right thing to do, because your spouse is probably doing many good things every day.
  11. Work hard with your spouse to create financial security.One of the benefits of marriage is the creation of a strong economic joint venture. As your financial security builds up, it will be one of the things that lets you feel good about each other and the world. It will also be a measure of the good work you’ve both done during your marriage.
  12. Be your spouse’s partner.Keep each other informed about activities you are engaged in, including your work days and what you do at home. The time you spend separately outside in the world every day is very significant. Always talk to each other at the end of the day about how your day went.
  13. Always assume the best of your spouse.Everyone has misunderstandings and miscommunications. If your spouse’s actions displease you, wait a bit and, then, try to find out the motivation. You might well find that your spouse meant to be constructive and not negative and that you made the wrong interpretation or assumption.
  14. Give your spouse a treat occasionally.If there’s something your spouse likes, offer itwithout being asked sometimes, even if you don’t care for it. It can be a small thing: a date to the movies, a ride to a place your spouse likes to go, or maybe a favorite food from the grocery store.
  15. Don’t fight with your spouse about the kids.Disagreements about children can be very corrosive to a marriage. Have your discussions off-line so that your children do not know you disagree. Get professional advice, if needed, to help you coordinate and respect your different views.
  16. Don’t complain about your spouse to your friends and family.One complaint at a low time in your marriage will resonate with the listener long after the problem or spat was resolved. If you need to talk with someone about your marriage, find an independent professional.
  17. Be faithful.Affairs destroy many marriages. If you can’t resist someone outside of your marriage, be honest with everyone and end the marriage first.
  18. Spend time with mutual friends.Pursuing outside friendships together, with single people or other couples, is often very good for a marriage.
  19. Forgive each other.Marriage is very long, and bad things are bound to happen. Every spouse (even you!) makes mistakes and treats the other poorly at times. You must be able to forgive your spouse for the wrongs done to you and move on. Remember that the next time it may be you who needs to be forgiven.
  20. Appreciate each other’s contributions to the marital venture.Marriages often fail because of perceived differences in the level of contribution of each party. Try to appreciate the other person’s contributions, whether they are financial or emotional.

Marriage isn’t easy. Building a strong marriage takes time, effort, and maturity. But it’s worth it.

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 fhelp you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175062433871