Many types of legal matters are difficult to navigate, but familial disputes add another layer of complexity and emotion to legal proceedings. This is in large part due to the fact that many family law issues involve children, which means that extra care should be taken to shield them from any of the negative effects of domestic litigation. If you live in the Holladay area and are considering a divorce or grappling with a custody matter, it is imperative to contact experienced family law attorney Jill L. Coil who can ensure that the interests of all parties, especially any children, are protected.

Practice Areas

Our firm handles a variety of legal matters related to family disputes, including:

  • Adoptions
  • Annulments
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Criminal Defense (Adult and Juvenile)
  • Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Actions
  • Domestic Litigation
  • Domestic Partnership
  • Domestic Violence (Protective Orders)
  • Family Law Proceedings
  • Juvenile Defense
  • Paternity/Paternity Suits
  • Post-Judgment Modifications
  • Pre & Postnuptial Agreements
  • Spousal Support

Adoptions

In Utah, family members, step-parents, foster parents, and other approved families are all potential candidates for adopting a child. However, families who wish to become adoptive families must meet a series of requirements, including:

  • Completion of an approved adoption training program;
  • Assessment and approval after the completion of a home study by a licensed child placement agency;
  • Obtainment of a foster care license, meeting the same standards, or receiving a waiver; and
  • Approval by Child and Family Services, stating that no conflict of interests exists in the adoption process.

Home studies require that caseworkers conduct specific assessments, including:

  • Criminal background checks;
  • Child abuse screening;
  • Behavioral assessment of parents and children living in the home;
  • Health status verification;
  • Financial status verification;
  • Home safety assessment; and
  • Assessment of parenting skills.

Acquiring the necessary assessments and adhering to any filing deadlines can be a confusing and time-consuming process. Fortunately, an experienced family law attorney can help prospective adoptive families navigate the legal system successfully.

Establishing Paternity

Another important aspect of family law is the establishment of paternity. Once paternity is confirmed, fathers owe certain duties to their children, including:

  • Financial support through child support payments;
  • Inclusion on any medical insurance policies;
  • Rights to inheritance;
  • Physical and legal custody;
  • Visitation; and
  • Establishing citizenship.

Because establishing paternity can have such important and far-reaching consequences for both parents and children, it is vital to obtain the advice of an attorney if you or a loved one are disputing or attempting to establish paternity.

DCFS Actions

When DCFS receives information alleging child abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse, it will undertake an investigation in order to substantiate or dismiss the claims. This often requires a home visit and the collection of witness statements from children in the home, neighbors, and family members. Many claims are unfounded, but DCFS is required to investigate, which can be an intimidating and emotional experience.

If DCFS finds evidence of abuse, it can take a number of actions, including:

  • Removing any children from the home;
  • Filing criminal charges;
  • Conducting in-depth questioning and interviews; and
  • Initiating custody proceedings to permanently remove the child from his or her guardian’s care.

DCFS actions should always be taken seriously, as they can have devastating repercussions on a family’s well-being, as well as on employment, finances, and custody determinations.

If you live in Holladay and have been charged with abuse or neglect, are in the process of adoption, are attempting to establish or dispute paternity, or are involved in another family law matter, please contact Jill L. Coil at Coil Law, LLC by calling (801) 884-3775 to schedule an initial consultation.