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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

Divorce does not have to be a courtroom battle -- ask Brangelina

Utah movie fans more than likely already know that the days of "Brangelina" are coming to a close. At first, it looked like the couple was going to end up in a public and contentious divorce that would be fodder for the media for quite some time. However, the couple recently decided to resolve their issues in a more private manner by moving out of the public eye and using a private judge.

Few Utah couples have the assets and public attention that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do, but that does not mean that a courtroom battle is inevitable or preferable. Giving in to the traditional adversarial system often causes more harm than good for divorcing couples. Choosing to stay out of the courtroom allows more privacy and the chance to tailor an agreement to the family's specific circumstances.

Intellectual property inventory and valuation in Utah divorce

The division of property in divorce can have enormous impact on each spouse's future portfolio of assets and therefore, on his or her individual standard of living as the marriage is left behind. For an equitable division of property to take place, an accurate inventory of assets and proper assignment of values are especially important when assets include intellectual property like copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets.

The nature of intellectual property

Intellectual property is considered intangible property, meaning property less concrete than an object, account, house or piece of real estate. Things classified as intellectual property could include a formula, brand, song, design, invention, website, marketing strategy, piece of writing, computer program, software and similar items. Ownership or the right to use intellectual property is generally exclusive.

Can I modify my divorce agreement?

The short answer is that changes can be made. While the divorce may have become final, there are many reasons for requesting a change to the decree. Of course there may have been a clerical error in the judgment or some other technical issue that the court needs to clean up. But there may be a certain decision made by the court that you feel was unfair, or perhaps there needs to be a change in certain obligations set forth in the divorce agreement.


An appeal of the trial judge's ruling is done taking the case to the higher court called the appellate or appeals court. While this is possible to do, it's unlikely in the case of divorce that the higher judge would overturn the original court judge's decision. To do this, both sides must file a brief that supports their side of the argument with appropriate laws and statutes. While the two sides file their briefs in writing, the court may allow an oral argument.

Will controversial proposal for DUI law by Utah legislator pass?

Like the rest of the country, Utah's legal blood alcohol limit is currently .08 percent. One state legislator believes that is too high, and proposes a decrease of the legal limit to .05 in 2017 in accordance with the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board. If it passes, many more people could face DUI charges.

To put it in practical terms, a man weighing approximately 170 pounds would reach a .05 blood alcohol content (BAC) after approximately three drinks in an hour. It translates to approximately two drinks in an hour for a woman weighing around 130 pounds. The wine a Utah resident has with dinner could result in an arrest.

Thinking of filing for divorce this January? So are many others

The holidays are over and a new year has begun. For many couples here in Utah and across the nation that means filing for divorce. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce filings increase up to 30 percent in January of every year.

Some speculate that this rise is due to the financial and emotional stress of the holidays. Another possibility is that couples do not want to "ruin" the holidays for their children and families, so they wait until January to file. However, rushing to the courthouse could be a mistake.

You could be charged with DUI even if you are not impaired

Few Utah residents would argue with the necessity of keeping impaired drivers off the roads. However, here in Utah, the legislature might have taken this need a bit too far. You might not be aware of the fact that you could be charged with DUI even if you are not impaired.

Yes, you read that correctly. Here in Utah, if a urinalysis or blood test indicates any trace of certain prescription drugs, or metabolites from those drugs, in your system, you could face a DUI charge. After you take a medication, your body breaks it down into other compounds called metabolites. You might have taken the medication yesterday or a couple of days ago, but metabolites could still be present in your system.

Utah is ahead of the curve in serving divorce papers online

When most Utah residents think of being served in a lawsuit, they think of the process server coming to the door, handing over papers and letting the person who answered the door know that he or she was served. As technologies improved, however, more courts began allowing electronic service as an alternate method. This applies to serving divorce papers as well.

Here in Utah, the legislature began to see the writing on the computer screen and changed its rules of civil procedure to allow for service through electronic formats. That was back in 2001, before social media even existed, legislators specifically mentioned email in the law. However, lawmakers were more forward thinking than that, and they included the language "other possible electronic means" in the change.

Has Facebook changed the face of divorce?

People are connected today in a way that has never before been seen. Social media sites like Facebook allow Utah residents to remain in touch with friends and family that they would otherwise not be able to share their lives with in another way. The downside is that Facebook seems to have also changed the face of divorce -- both being blamed for the demise of marriages and for providing evidence that would otherwise only be gathered through investigation.

Any Utah resident that is contemplating or already engaged in a divorce is cautioned regarding the use of social media, including Facebook. Posts and photographs on the site are not as private as people might believe, and they could be used against an individual in court. Even if he or she is careful about what information is on his or her page, that does not mean that those they are connected to are doing the same.

Why focus on the traffic stop when you're facing charges for DUI?

When you come into contact with law enforcement officials here in Utah or anywhere else in the country, you have certain constitutional rights that govern their contact with you. If those rights are violated, any evidence gathered from that point forward might not be admissible in court. This is why reviewing the circumstances surrounding the initial traffic stop when you are facing charges for DUI is so important.

A police officer's opinion that you are acting suspicious is not enough to initiate a traffic stop. Traffic stops must be predicated on some reasonable suspicion. Some actions that can provide an officer with reasonable suspicion are speeding, reckless driving or weaving. Even driving too slowly or not using your turn signal can give an officer a reason to stop you.

Witnesses describe stop of suspected DUI driver on I-15

Two men traveling northbound on Interstate 15 had no idea why a Utah Highway Patrol vehicle was slowing down traffic. It was not until they came around a bend that they saw headlights heading toward them in their lane. The wrong-way vehicle was eventually stopped, and its driver was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI.

Reports indicate that the UHP received several calls concerning a car heading south in the northbound lanes of the highway. A trooper managed to catch up to unsuspecting northbound vehicles just in time to avert a tragedy. He then sped toward the oncoming vehicle and clipped it on the rear. The trooper's vehicle then hit the concrete barrier dividing the highway, and the wrong-way vehicle spun out and came to a stop.

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