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Documents to Bring to Divorce Lawyer

Your divorce lawyer is there to help you through the divorce process. To assist you, your attorney needs to obtain a full picture of your situation. Why you want a divorce, what you expect out of one, and a snapshot of your financial situation are key to helping your lawyer understand how best to advise you on moving forward with your divorce. Before you meet with your lawyer, ask yourself some questions and examine your situation.

Documents to Bring to Divorce Lawyer

Your first meeting with your attorney will serve to flesh out your situation. Your lawyer will ask questions to obtain an understanding of your case. You need to express your intentions and answer honestly.

You should bring the following with you to help your lawyer understand and prepare your case:

  • Your contact information, including home and work addresses and phone numbers
  • Certificate of marriage
  • Pay stubs
  • Loan information, including any car loans
  • Tax returns
  • Information on mortgages
  • Any prenuptial agreement
  • Bank account numbers and statements
  • Adoption decrees, if any children are adopted
  • Credit card statements
  • Deeds of properties
  • Pension information
  • Trust information
  • A list of extremely valuable assets, such as art or jewelry

Your lawyer may request you bring other documentation, depending on your circumstances. Gathering this information and providing it to your attorney saves time in preparing your case and is a cost-effective measure.

Does Utah Still Have Lifetime Alimony?

Utah State recently reformed many aspects of its Domestic Relations Law, including rules for permanent alimony. The new law creates an advisory schedule for the duration of permanent alimony based on the length of the marriage:

  • From 0 up to and including 15 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 15 percent to 30 percent of the marriage’s length.
  • More than 15 up to and including 20 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the marriage’s length.
  • More than 20 years — Alimony may last anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of the marriage’s length.

The court is not required to follow this schedule and may consider other factors, listed elsewhere in the law, as the bases for deciding the alimony amount. A judge who declines to use the schedule must present a written decision citing the factors considered. When setting the duration of alimony, the court must also consider the impact that retirement might have on the available assets and benefits. Alimony of any duration terminates upon the passing of one of the spouses.

The new law seems to favor very short terms of spousal maintenance for marriages of short duration, while setting a maximum recommended term of 10 years. Since the law is new, it’s impossible to say how heavily judges will rely on the new schedule. However, the law does leave open the possibility of lifetime alimony in cases the court finds appropriate.

When Assets Go to Waste in Divorce

Which of these examples would be considered marital waste?

  • Upon being asked for a divorce, a spouse goes on a spending spree, running up the balance on jointly held credit cards.
  • Throughout the marriage, a spouse drinks to excess and gambles away the proceeds of an investment account held by the couple.
  • A couple separates when one spouse learns the other has been having an affair for several years, using marital monies to fund the relationship.

The answer is all of them. The marital estate comprises the possessions, assets, goods and liabilities a couple brings to the table during a divorce. In Utah, property is divided equitably. Reaching an agreement with your spouse during divorce that divides assets fairly benefits you both. Failing to do so means the court will divide your assets.

Sometimes a spouse unfairly uses, loses or wastes value of the marital estate. The court looks at marital waste as wasteful dissipation of marital assets and takes the unjust use of assets into account when making decisions about the division of property.

While some cases of marital waste seem obvious, others are less so. If one spouse takes out a business loan, struggles to make the enterprise work and loses the business in the end, the marital estate is diminished and possibly saddled with debt. Nevertheless, the undertaking was done in good faith with the idea of improving the economic condition of the couple.

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 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