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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

New bill could affect alimony for Utah's stay-at-home parents

Many Utah couples make the determination that one parent will stay home to raise the children while the other works. This arrangement may work well while the parties are married, but, in the event of a divorce, it could become problematic -- particularly for the parent who stayed at home. The stay-at-home parent could find him or herself at a financial disadvantage without receiving alimony.

A bill that just passed through the Utah legislature's House Judiciary Committee recognizes this fact. HB 244 would make it mandatory for the state's family law judges to consider the fact that a parent stayed at home with the children when deciding whether to award alimony. Moreover, it could affect the amount of alimony a party receives.

Dividing the family business in a Utah divorce

The U.S. Census Bureau's data indicates that somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.7 million business across the nation are owned by a husband and wife together. Those couples here in Utah who are part of that statistic most likely understand all too well that when the marriage is working, the business usually is as well. However, when a couple decides to divorce, the fate of the business is uncertain.

What happens to the business during and after the divorce could largely depend on each partner's role in the company. For example, if both parties are doctors, the business might need to be divided. However, if one party is a doctor and the other is the office manager, the business may continue since a new office manager can be hired.

Not all child custody matters involve divorcing parents

Thousands of couples across the country and here in Utah have children together without being married. If the relationship ends, dealing with child custody issues can quickly become complicated. Just because a man is listed on the birth certificate, it does not mean that he has any parental rights or responsibilities when it comes to his child.

In order to obtain a court order for custody and child support, paternity will need to be established first. If both parents executed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP), along with the birth certificate, this constitutes a legal acknowledgement that the man listed on the birth certificate is the father. In the absence of a VDP, paternity will need to be established through a court proceeeding.

Police assume man was driving under the influence of alcohol

Accidents happen for a variety of reasons, many of which are not related to the use of alcohol or drugs. Despite this fact, a man is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol after a bizarre accident in a Utah neighborhood. Authorities are awaiting the results of a blood alcohol test to determine whether their suspicions were correct.

The man and his wife were driving through the neighborhood when, for an as yet unknown reason, the 52-year-old driver suddenly accelerated. He then lost control of the minivan he was driving, and it ended up crashing into a house. The minivan hit, and then bounced off, a load-bearing wall of the home.

Infidelity can affect the outcome of a Utah divorce

Many people would consider one of the biggest betrayals in any marriage to be infidelity. Adultery often destroys not only the marriage, but the family as well, and one party often files for divorce. Most divorces in Utah are considered to be due to irreconcilable differences, but the fact that one spouse broke the couple's wedding vows can still affect the outcome of the proceedings.

You may list infidelity as a grounds for divorce when you file. However, doing so puts a burden on you to prove that your spouse cheated on you in order to obtain a divorce. This is why many attorneys will recommend listing irreconcilable differences as the cause for your divorce. However, that does not mean that the fact that your spouse committed adultery will not play a factor in your divorce.

FedEx driver arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol

Utah employers frown on drinking on-the-job -- especially if a person's job involves driving. In addition to possibly facing criminal charges, the mere accusation of driving under the influence of alcohol can put an individual's livelihood in jeopardy. It is usually critical to enlist the assistance of criminal defense counsel as soon as possible.

It is not yet known whether a Utah driver for Federal Express has retained defense counsel after a single vehicle accident in which he was involved recently. Preliminary reports indicate that he lost control of the FedEx truck he was driving as he attempted to make a turn. The truck then crossed over into the oncoming lane of traffic and flipped onto its side in a creek on the left side of the road.

Do you have to submit to a breath test during a DUI stop?

Here in Utah, prosecutors have two options in their attempts to secure a conviction for driving under the influence. The first is to provide the court with conclusive proof that a driver's blood alcohol level was above the state's legal limit of .08. Failing that, a DUI conviction could only be obtained by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was unable to operate his or her vehicle safely.

Proving that someone was not able to drive safely is difficult, which is why law enforcement officials rely on breath and blood tests to prove intoxication. During a traffic stop, officers will most likely not warn you that you are not required to submit to a portable breath test or field sobriety tests -- especially if you have not been placed under arrest. You are also not required to speak to the officer or officers.

Jeremy Renner's divorce is taking unexpected turns

Utah fans of Jeremy Renner, whose claim to fame includes the hit movies "The Avengers" and "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol," might be aware that he and his wife of 10 months are parting ways. The couple has a prenuptial agreement, but Sonni Pacheco, a model who recently started in "The Wingman," asserts in court documents that it is fraudulent. This is only the beginning of the twists and turns that could make their divorce contentious.

A primary reason that couples execute prenuptial agreements is to avoid costly and contentious court battles. If Renner and Pacheco's prenup is rendered null and void by a court, the parties could find themselves facing a long battle. Pacheco is acting as if the court has already ruled.

Utah man accused of DUI-related death will stand trial

After an alleged domestic confrontation, a Utah man drove away from the situation. Allegedly, he sped up to nearly 60 mph as he approached an intersection. Police say that when he sped through the intersection against a red light, he hit another vehicle, which began a chain reaction accident that ultimately involved nine vehicles. That alleged DUI accident led the death of a 43-year-old mother and the critical injury of her 16-year-old daughter. Seven others in the other vehicles suffered minor injuries.

When police interviewed the man at the hospital, they smelled what was believed to be alcohol on his person and noted he had bloodshot eyes. At the scene, officers reportedly observed that he was slurring his speech. No further information regarding his claimed intoxication was provided.

Prenups are insurance policies against a contentious divorce

Admittedly, prenuptial agreements are not typically considered romantic. However, they do serve a practical purpose in a time when divorce rates are high and people are getting married later in life. Taking the time to give each other peace of mind that, if something does goes wrong, a contentious Utah divorce can be avoided.

Many newly engaged couples are often already established in their careers, have acquired their own assets and may even have inheritances to protect. Delineating each party's separate assets -- and debts -- prior to marriage can help avoid any confusion later if the marriage ends. In addition, how any marital assets and debts will be divided can also be determined. Of course, prenuptial agreements can contain any provisions the couples desire, so long as they are not against public police or in violation of current laws.

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