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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

Mediation can save time, money and headache in a divorce

Utah couples have the option not to take their issues to court when they divorce. If a couple ends up in divorce court, they could spend copious amounts of time and money fighting a losing battle. Mediation can provide an alternative to that fate. 

One of the main reasons that couples end up in court is because their emotions are overruling their better judgment. When emotion is taken out of the equation, the parties might be in a better position to negotiate their own settlement. Fortunately, they do not have to do it alone. A mediator and each party's attorney can help.

Grieving mother Susan Hunt is under investigation for DUI

Shortly before 11 p.m. on a recent Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol received information about a vehicle on State Route 73 that appeared to be driving recklessly. When the trooper caught up with the vehicle believed to be the one in question and stopped the car, it was on Route 36. It was suspected that the driver could be impaired, and the trooper initiated DUI charges when he filed a citation with the court. Those charges were recently dismissed until all of the evidence is gathered and prosecutors can review the case for other charges in addition to a possible DUI.

The trooper's dash camera shows a vehicle approaching him in the oncoming lane of travel. He pursued the vehicle and used his patrol car to get the vehicle to stop, which it did not do until it bumped into the patrol car. The trooper is then seen approaching the vehicle and talking to the driver.

Infidelity can affect several aspects of your divorce

Couples divorce for many reasons, but infidelity is one cause of divorce from which few couples can recover. That act of betrayal does not only affect the couple but the children as well. Even though grounds for divorce are not necessary here in Utah, the fact that one spouse was unfaithful could affect certain issues in the divorce such as parenting time, alimony and custody.

Proving grounds for divorce can be time-consuming and expensive, which is why simply saying that the couple has irreconcilable differences is the most often cited reason for divorce. However, Utah law does allow for certain concessions if it is proved that one spouse cheated on the other. For example, if the unfaithful spouse spent marital funds on the affair (i.e. for hotel rooms, gifts or other related expenditures), the court has some discretion when it comes to awarding alimony to the other spouse.

Social Security benefits after divorce

Many Utah residents might not realize that they could receive a portion of their ex-spouses' Social Security benefits when they are eligible to collect them. Even if they are aware that it is possible, they might think they are not eligible based on how long ago the divorce happened. In fact, it does not matter how many years have passed since the divorce, the important question is how long the marriage lasted.

In many cases, one partner in the marriage made more money than the other, or one person stayed home to raise the children. In either case, he or she will not receive the same amount of Social Security benefits as the other. If the marriage lasted 10 or more years, it is possible to receive up to 50 percent of the amount of an ex-spouse's benefits, which could mean thousands of dollars a year in income for the recipient.

Utah man sentenced after plea deal reached in DUI-related death

According to police reports, a man died after he fell from the hood of an accelerating vehicle back in May 2015. His friend, who was driving at the time, was arrested on numerous charges, including vehicular homicide. In Oct. 2015, the Utah man pleaded guilty to certain crimes in connection with this DUI-related death as part of a plea bargain. Recently, he was sentenced in accordance with that deal.

Starting at around 10 p.m. on the night of May 18, 2015, the Utah man and his friend began drinking. The 25-year-old man admitted to police that he had approximately 12 beers prior to 5:10 a.m. It was then that he got behind the wheel of a car with his 52-year-old friend riding on the hood.

Any good DUI defense starts by examining the traffic stop

When an individual is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she has the right to review all of the evidence and records in the possession of Utah prosecutors that pertain to the arrest. Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, law enforcement officials must have probable cause to conduct a search and/or to seize property. This means that any good DUI defense starts by examining the traffic stop.

If the alleged probable cause for the stop was not valid, any evidence derived from the stop may not be used against you in court, which means that the DUI charge could be dismissed. What constitutes probable cause for a traffic stop? An officer must have reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law. For instance, an officer might find it suspicious if you were speeding, weaving or driving too slowly for the road and weather conditions. Furthermore, if you were not using your headlights at night or you committed some other moving violation, the officer might have reasonable suspicion.

How parents handle their divorce will affect the children

As the new year begins, so does "divorce season," which runs from January through March. There is a marked increase in divorce filings during these first three months of the year. How Utah parents handle their divorce will have an effect on the children.

Fortunately, it is not necessary for couples to go to court and have a judge make decisions for them regarding custody and visitation. Parents can resolve their issues peacefully using an alternative method of resolution, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. The theory is that the more amicable the divorce process is, the better the children will adjust to the situation. In addition, they might learn that resolving conflict does not have to be bitter and contentious.

Child custody across state lines can come down to jurisdiction

Not all Utah couples who are going through a divorce will end up living in the same state. This means that jurisdictional issues can complicate child custody matters. Making sure that the right court has jurisdiction over the matter from the beginning is crucial. Otherwise, there could come a point in the process where the judge rules that the case is not being heard in the proper venue, which would mean having to start over in another court.

Not only will this end up costing both parents more time and money, but it could also require significant changes to any decisions that were already made. For these and other reasons, it would be beneficial to enlist the help of an attorney who is familiar with multi-state custody issues and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA provides family law courts with guidelines regarding the determination of jurisdiction along with other custody matters.

Numerous issues need to be resolved during a divorce

When a Utah couple decides to end their marriage, that is only the beginning of a process that can take weeks, if not months. Depending on a couple's circumstances, there are a multitude of issues that need to be resolved before the divorce is officially finalized. Making sure that all of the relevant issues are dealt with could take some planning and patience.

If a couple has children, issues surrounding custody, visitation and child support will be a priority. Once the parties come to an agreement, they can turn to the task of dividing their assets. Often, this is where the majority of the parties' time is spent.

Driver in wrong-way crash suspected of DUI

According to the Utah Highway Patrol, a three-car accident occurred at around 4:20 p.m. on Dec. 2. One of the drivers somehow ended up heading south in the northbound lanes. Troopers believe that driver was impaired at the time and expect he will be investigated for DUI and driving the wrong direction on the roadway.

The accident occurred on Interstate 215. Somehow, the driver, who was heading south, ended up entering onto the northbound side of the highway off Parley's Canyon. It did not take long before the wrong-way vehicle collided nearly head-on with another vehicle. It then hit one more vehicle before coming to rest.

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