Legal matters involving families can be emotional and painful for all parties. Whether the issue involves child custody, spousal support, or paternity suits, family law is fraught with difficult questions that must be handled with sensitivity. If you live in Sandy, Utah, and are considering a divorce or are involved in another family law matter, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help ensure that your interests are protected, especially if the resolution of the dispute requires domestic litigation.
Our legal team handles a variety of family-related legal disputes, including:
- 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
One of the more difficult aspects of family law involves determining child custody. Ideally, a couple choosing to separate would work together to come up with a joint parenting plan outlining who would have physical as well as legal custody of a child. However, when a couple is unable to reach an amicable agreement, a court will step in and design a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.
This involves the analysis of a number of factors, including:
- The geographic proximity of the parties’ homes;
- The child’s preferences (which is taken at greater weight when the child is 14 years and older);
- Whether there is any history of child abuse or domestic violence;
- The physical, psychological, and emotional needs of the child;
- Which parent is most likely to act in the child’s best interests, which includes allowing the child to have frequent contact with the non-custodial parent;
- Whether a pattern of missing, canceling, or denying scheduled parenting time exists;
- The financial abilities of both parties; and
- Each parent’s ability to prioritize the child’s welfare.
Depending on the judge’s determination, the court will assign one of the following types of custody arrangements:
- Sole legal and sole physical custody;
- Joint legal and joint physical custody;
- Joint legal and sole physical custody; or
- Split custody.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is another important legal issue that often stems from divorce proceedings. Either partner may ask the court for alimony, which may be awarded temporarily or for a longer period of time after the divorce is granted. In determining the amount of alimony to be awarded, the court considers a series of factors, including:
- The financial status of the party who would receive alimony, including any debts;
- The recipient’s earning capacity, which includes a review of past employment history and ability to work;
- The ability of the other spouse to provide support;
- The length of the marriage;
- Which party has custody of any minor children;
- Whether the recipient worked in a business owned by his or her spouse;
- Whether one spouse contributed to increase the other’s skill by paying for his or her education; and
- The fault of the parties in the marriage’s dissolution.
When setting the amount of alimony, the court considers the couple’s standard of living at the time of separation. The award will at a maximum be ordered for a length of time equal to the duration of the marriage, unless special circumstances dictate otherwise.
Family law matters can be complex and emotional, so if you live in the Sandy area and are involved in a legal dispute concerning child custody, spousal support, or another family law-related matter, it is vital to retain the services of an experienced attorney. Please contact Jill L. Coil at Coil Law, LLC by calling (801) 884-3775 to schedule an initial consultation.