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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

New child custody law passes in Utah

Keeping in line with traditional thinking and, what some would say, are outdated laws, courts have predominantly awarded custody of a couple's children to one parent -- the mother in the majority of cases. However, a significant amount of research done in recent years shows that children tend to do better when the parents share custody. This belief is behind a new child custody law that was recently passed in Utah that encourages the courts to award shared custody to divorcing or separating parents.

Of course, if awarding sole custody to one parent is in the best interests of the children, a Utah court can still do so. However, there is now an option to divide parenting time more evenly. The recommended schedule would give the non-custodial parent at least 145 overnights. Holidays would also be divided, and the non-custodial parent would be able to make specific elections.

Utah man sentenced in DUI-related crash that killed 3

Driving under the influence of alcohol can result in an individual making bad choices. When the alcohol is coupled with drugs, a driver's capacity to think clearly is even further degraded. A Utah man arguably made the wrong choices on the day that he caused a DUI-related crash that killed three people -- his girlfriend and two of his younger relatives.

The ordeal began when a police officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on May 17, 2014. The vehicle involved was being driven by the now 24-year-old man and was traveling at a reported 60 mph despite the fact that the posted speed limit was only 35. The driver failed to pull over and instead fled the scene.

Facebook is being blamed for numerous divorce filings

Most Utah residents would agree that Facebook brings people together in a way that nothing else can. On the other hand, data indicates that it is also separating people as well. The number of divorce filings blamed on Facebook and other popular social media sites is currently one out of seven and could increase. 

Some spouses are complaining of their partners rekindling old relationships online. Others are discovering evidence of infidelity through Facebook posts and photographs. In some cases, a person becomes so obsessed with the social media site that they spend more time online than with their families.

Police suspect driving under the influence of alcohol in crash

Sometime after 7:21 p.m., police were called to the scene of an accident. When they arrived, it was discovered that a minivan and a passenger car were involved in a head-on collision. The Utah driver of the car is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to a witness who had just come out of the business the accident occurred in front of, the driver of the passenger car was responsible for the crash. In his statement, he says the minivan was sitting in the center turn lane, facing southbound and waiting to make a left turn. The car came from the opposite direction in the left lane and suddenly veered into the turn lane.

An amicable divorce can turn contentious over child custody

Like other couples around the country, many Utah residents sign prenuptial agreements in order to set the stage for an amicable divorce should one occur in the future. Prenups are often effective at dividing up a couple's property, but, when it comes to child custody matters, the parties' hopes for friendly ends to their marriages could be dashed. This appears to be the case for actress Hilary Duff and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Mike Comrie, who reports indicate are unable to agree on a custody arrangement for their 3-year-old son.

When Duff filed for divorce, she asked the court for primary physical custody with visitation rights for Comrie. She feels that his social life, which Duff says is filled with partying, makes him an unfit father. She does not believe that he should be involved in the day-to-day raising of their son. Comrie, however, disagrees. In his response to her court filings, he requested joint custody.

Car wreck ends in arrest for driving under the influence of drugs

Police received a report that a Utah woman was passed out in a vehicle. When they arrived at the location reported, no car was present. A search of the area led them to discover a single-car accident. The woman behind the wheel was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

The driver was unconscious when emergency responders pulled her from the car. Police claim that when she regained consciousness, she admitted to huffing compressed air. When searching the vehicle, officers claim to have found cans of compressed air, along with evidence of purchasing them within 90 minutes of the woman appearing for a court ordered drug test.

Woman gets permission to serve divorce petition via Facebook

From the time they were married in 2009, an out-of-state couple had issues. The marriage quickly fell apart, and the woman wanted a divorce. However, as some Utah residents may have experienced during their divorce proceedings, her soon-to-be ex-husband did not make it easy for her to serve him with the divorce papers.

He continuously claimed that he did not have a permanent address or a job. He also denied requests to make himself available to be served. Therefore, the woman went to the court seeking an alternative method of fulfilling the legal service requirement, and the method she asked to use was a bit unorthodox.

Proving DUI is difficult for prosecutors in hit-and-run crashes

Drivers fail to remain at the scenes of accidents for a variety of reasons even though leaving the scene is against the law. Utah lawmakers made this a crime so that individuals would feel obliged to take responsibility for their actions. Often, drunk drivers leave the scenes of accidents, and proving a DUI in a hit-and-run accident is nearly impossible for prosecutors.

If law enforcement officials locate an individual suspected of being involved in a hit-and-run accident within hours of the crash, the fact that he or she is intoxicated does not mean that was the case at the time of the accident. The suspected driver could have started drinking at home. Witnesses at the crash site may tell officers that they think the person might have been impaired, but there may be no way to prove that in court.

How do Utah judges determine alimony?

When a Utah couple divorces, one party may make less money than the other, which puts that individual at a financial disadvantage as they each set up separate households. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are able to amicably negotiate a large portion of the divorce settlement, the issue of alimony can be contentious. As a result, you might end up taking the issue before a judge if you are unable to come to an agreement.

A Utah judge will first review your family's current situation and each individual's financial situation to decide whether alimony is appropriate. If it is, the next step would be to determine how much support is needed and for how long. Absent any extenuating circumstances such as a disability that would hinder one party's ability to support his or herself, all judges typically consider similar factors.

Substitute school bus driver accused of DUI

At approximately 7 a.m. on a recent Thursday, a school bus in Utah was involved in an accident. At the time, only the unidentified driver, a school bus aide and one student, age 13, were on board. The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI.

Reports regarding the crash indicate that the bus driver lost control in a roundabout. The bus hit a tree, a street sign and then another tree before coming to rest in the yard of a residence. Fortunately, no one suffered any injuries.

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