Subscribe: Virginia Dollinger
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Virginia Dollinger

Spent a year developing Virgin Mary figurines in Minneapolis, MN. Spent high school summers consulting about circus clowns in Prescott, AZ. In 2008 I was training banjos in Pensacola, FL. 

Updated: 2018-03-22T03:46:20.123-07:00


Annulment in West Jordan Utah


At Ascent Law, LLC, we want to provide you with some things you need to know about a Utah Annulment (sometimes called annulment of marriage) is not the same thing as divorce (sometimes called dissolution of marriage, divorce, etc). In a dissolution, the marriage is ended by agreement, but as far as the law is concerned, the parties had a legal marriage, it is just over now. In Annulment, the marriage is voided, erased. Legally, the law has erased the marriage.Unlike divorce, where the parties must agree on everything and file together, an Annulment can either be agreed OR contested.  That means that the parties can either file together, or one person can file for annulment on his or her own.Just like in divorce, there must be grounds for annulment in order for an Utah court to grant the annulment.  The grounds for divorce in Utah are NOT the same as the grounds for Annulment.  The most notable difference in the grounds is that in Annulment, the parties cannot simply agree that they are incompatible.  There has to be some defect in the marriage that is serious enough that the law will allow the marriage to be erased instead of simply ended. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Even if grounds for annulment exist in your case, it doesn’t automatically mean you can file for annulment.  Usually, it has to be the “aggrieved party”, meaning the person who was wronged, who files for the annulment.  To learn more about who is the aggrieved party, read over the Utah Code or call our office to talk.  In addition, there are time limits for annulment.  In many cases, the person who was wronged must file within two years, but there are different time limits for different grounds for annulment.Attorney for Annulment in UtahUtah has a separate statute dealing with changing names after an annulment.  In annulment cases, the court may, if it wants to, change the name of a person back to what it was before the parties married, even if neither of the parties requests the name change.  This differs from the Utah divorce statute about changing the party’s name, which requires the consent of the parties to change a party’s name.  This may be especially important in a case where the husband is the aggrieved party and he wants to have the court “take his name back” from the wife.Utah law allows people to get restraining orders against the other person while an annulment case is pending, in order to prevent the other spouse from harassing or harming themselves or their children.  The restraining orders can also prevent people from leaving the state with a child, selling or hiding assets, etc. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Even though the court may ultimately find the marriage to be invalid, the court may (but is not required to) make “temporary orders” of support while the annulment is pending.  The court can also make orders regarding temporary custody while the case is pending.  Temporary orders might be issued in a contested annulment case, but are almost never ordered in annulments that are filed jointly.  This is probably because when the parties jointly file the annulment papers, they want the marriage to be over as soon as possible, and the case will not be open long enough for temporary orders to be needed.Annulment in Utah may undo the marriage, but it does NOT undo the legitimacy of any children that were born during the marriage.  The children still have the presumption of paternity that is afforded to childre[...]

Enforcing Grandparent Visitation with Contempt of Court


In Utah, when grandparents have received an order of visitation from the court, they have the right to enforce their order, just like a parent.  If grandparents experience one or more occasions where they are denied their visitation, Utah law provides them with a remedy known as  contempt of court (commonly called “filing or file for contempt charges”.Before you file for contempt of court, you must make sure that you understand your order, and what it means under Utah law.  You should also talk to a lawyer in Utah to make sure you are doing this right. Common areas of misunderstandings are:Transportation: who is supposed to pick up the child and who is supposed to drop the child off?  Or are you supposed to meet at a neutral place somewhere in the middle?Regular time vs. holiday or vacation time – which controls?Missed time – under what circumstances do you get make up time?  How soon after do you get make-up time?What happens if the child is ill?  Does the visitation still occur?  If not, is it rescheduled?Assuming that you are NOT under any misunderstanding about your order, and the other party simply won’t obey the court’s orders, you have rights, and the parent who refused visits is subject to penalties.  Pursuant to the code if a court finds any person has denied or interfered with visitation, the court MUST award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the party who was wronged. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Sometimes, when people do not want to comply with a court’s order, they file a motion to change the order, hoping that if they win, then they won’t get in trouble for what they did while their motion was pending.  Unless the denial of visitation was necessary (in the eyes of the court, not the parent) to protect the child, this idea is wrong.    The law says that the court has jurisdiction to make a finding of contempt for a failure to comply with, or an interference with, a parenting time or visitation order or decree and to impose the penalties set forth in the Code in all cases in which the failure or interference is at issue even if the parenting time or visitation order or decree no longer is in effect.Utah Temporary Restraining Orders in DivorceIn Utah, when a divorce case is filed, it is common for the court to put on a temporary restraining order.  Sometimes, the order is only put on if a party asks for it, and the order is one-sided (the party that asks for it gets the order agains the other party only).  This is currently the case in Franklin County.  In other counties, sometimes the domestic court’s local rules state that the temporary restraining order goes on as soon as the case is filed, against both parties. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>It is important to understand the nature and limitations of these orders.  They are not domestic violence orders, although they usually instruct the parties not to harass each other.  They do not have any provisions that will require a party to give up their guns (unlike a civil protection order / domestic violence protection order).  There is no allegation of wrong doing necessary to get these orders.  These orders are simply put on to protect the status quo during the divorce, so that the parties remain relatively peaceful while they wait their turn for the court to end their marriage, divide their property and debts, and make orders regarding support and children.Among other things, temporary restraining orders usually re[...]

Commingled Property


In Utah, divorce courts presume that all property is marital, unless one of the parties prove that the property is separate property, or the property of neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendant. You should always talk to a divorce lawyer before you move forward with a divorce.In the Deitz case, Husband was living with his mother and brother during the divorce.  At trial, Wife introduced an exhibit which was a list of cars, trailers, parts and tools that she asked to have classified as marital property and sold at auction.  Wife testified that she hoped to have the proceeds of the auction applied to Husband’s child support arrearages.  At trial, the Wife, the Husband, and Husband’s mother all testified regarding specific items of property that Wife asked to be classified as marital property.The Commissioner’s decision ordered that most of the property listed on the exhibit were presumed to be marital property because husband had failed to properly trace the items as his separate property.  The Commissioner’s decision ordered the items to be sold at auction.  The Judge adopted the Commissioner’s decision the same day.Divorce Lawyer in UtahThe Husband objected to the Commissioner’s decision stating that “some of the property listed appears to be the property of third parties.”  Shortly afterwards, the husband’s brother and mother filed motions for joinder.  The court denied the motions for joinder saying they were “too little, too late”.Under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, you are allowed to claim an interest in property out of which a party seeks a division of marital property, a distributive award, or an award of spousal support to be made a party defendant to the case, at the discretion of the trial court.   The trial court has to believe that the person’s interest in property needs to be protected within the divorce action. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Likewise, the rules allow the Plaintiff or Defendant (a party) to a divorce case to join a person as a party to a case, even against their will, if it is necessary for the court to protect property from which the Plaintiff or Defendant are seeking a division of marital property, a distributive award, or an award of spousal support.  This can be very important when one of the parties is trying to hide assets outside of the court’s reach.The court of appeals stated that the term “interest” as used in the code and rules usually means lien or ownership, legal or equitable.  The court said that the parties seeking to join in the divorce bore the burden of sufficiently detailing their respective property interests and the basis for their claim of ownership.  Because they had not done so, the Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying their motions to be joined as a party. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>What is to be learned here is that if you have property that is joined, shared or collective in any way with the property of a couple who is being divorced, it is up to you to make sure your property is protected, early on, and with specificity.Business partners often assume that their interests are protected, however, in reality, they are relying on their friend, partner or family member to do adequate tracing at a time when they are financially and emotionally stressed.  It may be advantageous to be asked to be joined to the case yourself if you have proof to present that the property is[...]

Business Lawyers in Utah for Gold and Silver


In Utah, does a father have a right to get visitation, even if paternity has not yet been established? Does the law regarding an Utah Father’s Rights include the right for the father to request temporary orders regarding visitation or custody, even if paternity has not yet been established?The answer is YES.  Since the husband is presumed to be the biological father when a child is born to a couple who is married, this issue applies to Utah Father’s Rights situations where the mother and father of a child were never married.  Temporary Custody Order While Action is Pending allows the following regarding an Utah Father’s Rights to visitation and/or custody while a court case is pending, or temporary orders:In any proceeding pertaining to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of a child, when requested in the complaint, answer, or counterclaim, or by motion served with the pleading, upon satisfactory proof by affidavit duly filed with the clerk of the court, the court, without oral hearing and for good cause shown, may make a temporary order regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child while the action is pending. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>If a parent and child relationship has not already been established pursuant to section 3111.02 of the Revised Code, the court may take into consideration when determining whether to award parenting time, visitation rights, or temporary custody to a putative father that the putative father is named on the birth record of the child, the child has the putative father’s surname, or a clear pattern of a parent and child relationship between the child and the putative father exists.There are several things about that statute that you want to read carefully.  Every word matters.  Here is some additional information about important phrases from the statute:PROCEEDING PERTAINING TO THE ALLOCATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES :First, this means a COURT  It does NOT apply to an administrative proceeding for child support through the ORS.  The ORS has no authority to order visitation.  Sometimes, during an administrative child support proceeding, if the parties agree, the ORS attorney or liason will give the parties a form to seek court ordered visitation, but that form is still submitted to the COURT, and is not ordered by the ORS.Second, notice the phrase “parentalrights and responsibilities”.  This means that if a Father files a motion in an actions which was only filed as a grandparent visitation proceeding, the court may find that it has no authority to make temporary orders for visitation for the Father.  The Father may file a motion to be made a party to the grandparent visitation proceeding, but unless he files a Complaint for the Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities (and, if applicable, for establishment of paternity), the court may find that the action is not a “proceeding pertaining to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities), and therefore deny the Father’s request for Temporary Visitation.  (The Mother would, at that point, still have full custody of the child pursuant to Utah law and would not need temporary orders for visitation.)Temporary Orders are available during the INITIAL proceeding, not in post-decree proceedings.Temporary Orders of visitation are not available in a court proceeding which is merely an objection to an administrative child support order.  The court proceeding has to include a complaint, answer or counte[...]

Financial Misconduct in Utah Divorce Cases


What is financial misconduct?  In Utah, it is a basis upon which an Utah divorce court can make a distributive award.  Consider this:If a spouse has engaged in financial misconduct, including, but not limited to, the dissipation, destruction, concealment, nondisclosure, or fraudulent disposition of assets, the court may compensate the offended spouse with a distributive award or with a greater award of marital property.So what does this mean in plain English?  It means if you are getting divorced and your spouse is destroying, ruining, hiding, or getting rid of assets in a sneaky way, the court can give you some of their separate property to punish them.  When a court does this, it is called a distributive award.  class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>So what is separate property?(a) “Separate property” means all real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following:(i) An inheritance by one spouse by bequest, devise, or descent during the course of the marriage;(ii) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the date of the marriage;(iii) Passive income and appreciation acquired from separate property by one spouse during the marriage;(iv) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property acquired by one spouse after a decree of legal separation issued under section 3105.17 of the Revised Code;(v) Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that is excluded by a valid antenuptial agreement; class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>(vi) Compensation to a spouse for the spouse’s personal injury, except for loss of marital earnings and compensation for expenses paid from marital assets;(vii) Any gift of any real or personal property or of an interest in real or personal property that is made after the date of the marriage and that is proven by clear and convincing evidence to have been given to only one spouse.So what does this all mean?  It means if your spouse has separate property, and they are playing games with the marital property, the court can remedy this by giving you some of their separate property.Retroactive Arrearage Modification Not ProhibitedThe Supreme Court has decided that parties to a support order may modify child support by agreement.  In Byrd v. Knuckles the Supreme Court held that nothing prohibits a juvenile court from adjusting an existing arrearage in child support if the parties agree to do so.In this case, as part of an agreement to consent to a step-parent adoption, the Mother agreed that the Father’s child support arrearage would be reduced by 50%.  After the adoption was completed, the Father attempted to have his child support arrearage reduced pursuant to this agreement, and the Court found that it had no authority to reduce this arrearage under the Law.  This matter was appealed, and then brought before Supreme Court.The Supreme Court noted that this decision does not mean that a court MUST accept a parties’ agreement to reduce a prior arrearage, but that a court is not prohibited from doing so pursuant to the Law.  As in this case, this issue is particularly relevant where one party is willing to sign away their legal rights in order to be released from future, and possibly past child support obligations.Free Consultation with a Utah[...]

Child Sexual Abuse Investigation


In rape and sexual abuse of child investigations, the detective will usually call the suspect to get her “side of the story.”  After charges are filed, a defendant calls to ask me if the interview can be thrown out because the officer did not read her Miranda warnings. This is important for you to think about because as a child sexual abuse defense lawyer, you want to do everything you can to protect yourself before, during, and after the investigation phase.Most people, because of crime shows, are very familiar with the Miranda warnings.  But most do not realize that an officer does not have to read a suspect her Miranda warnings unless she is in custody.  So, if the officer is questioning the suspect at her home, it is not likely that the officer needs to give any Miranda warnings.If you are being questioned and are unsure if you are in custody or not, ask the officer if you are “free to leave.” If you are questioned without being Mirandized, but you were not in police custody, your interview is still admissible at trial. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>If a suspect is in the back of a police car or at the police station, she is in custody fo purposes of Miranda and the warnings must be given before an interrogation begins.  If the officer fails to issue Miranda warnings, the interview will likely be tossed at a motion to suppress hearing, meaning the prosecutor cannot use the interview at trial.If, however, the defendant testifies at her trial and she says something different than she said in the police interview, the prosecutor will be allowed to use the interview to impeach her.  By talking to police, a suspect is potentially compromising her case.  Don’t talk to the police.  The police are not your friend, even if they are acting like they are.  The prosecutor won’t deal with your case more leniently if you talk, even though the police will tell you this.  You can always talk later –with the assistance of an attorney– if there is something you’d like the prosecutor to know.If you are ever contacted by a detective for an interview, ask for a lawyer.  The police have to stop questioning you until a lawyer is provided to you.  Don’t compromise your rape or sexual abuse of a child case because of something you say.Rape And Child Sex Cases At The Investigation Phase In UtahBeing investigated for rape or sexual abuse of a child?  Too many make the mistake of waiting to hiring a lawyer.  This is the most critical portion of the case sometimes.  Police officers often tell suspects they don’t need a lawyer and that telling their side of the story will curry favor with the prosecutor. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Nothing could be further from the truth.  Giving a statement to the police locks you into a specific defense if they case goes to trial.  You provide the prosecutor ammunition on cross-examination if you have spoken before.  If your testimony varies at all from your interview with the police, the prosecutor will impeach you with the prior interview and tell the jurors that you are lying.  And, the inconsistencies don’t have to be on major points.  Something that you may think is insignificant may become significant at trial.  Make sure that you ask for an attorney before giving an interview.  You have a right to remain silent and the prosecutor cannot use that silence a[...]

Change of Circumstances and Grandparent Custody


The concept of “change of circumstances” is an important on in the context of child custody, but it’s complicated concept in family law.  When a person wants to change the court’s custody orders, there has to be a change in circumstances.The first important question is “Whose circumstances have to have changed?”  The answer to that depends on whether the order is a shared parenting decree (two residential parents), joint custody (one parent and one non-parent) or whether a person (or persons) have legal custody (aka residential parent or sole custody).  In a nutshell, the question is “Shared Parenting, Joint Custody or Sole Custody?”When a person has sole custody of a child (aka “legal custody” or sole residential parent), then the change of circumstances must be a change in the circumstances of the child or legal custodian.  It does not matter if the parent who has visitation only, (or has no visitation but simply retains his or her residual parental rights) has changed his or her circumstances, even if his or her circumstances have changed substantially.In Alexander v. Alexander, the court of appeals for found that the trial court did not abuse it’s discretion when it overruled the Mother’s Motion to Change Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities regarding her three children.  The children were in the custody of their paternal grandmother as a result of the agreement of the Mother and Father during their divorce.  The Mother had visitation (parenting time). class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>During the trial on the Mother’s Motion to Reallocate, Mother testified that she had been working for some time to make a more stable home for the children.  Among other things, Mother testified that she was employed and had lived in her apartment for a year and a half.  The trial court found that the change of circumstances must have occurred “in the circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree“.  In this case, the changes were in the Mother’s circumstances.  In addition, the trial court found that the children have become more stable in the grandparents’ home, and so the “harm of a change in environment for the children outweighs any advantages that may have now arisen to justify a change.”Even if there HAS been a change in circumstances of the RIGHT person, the court should not change custody unless the change is in the child’s best interest AND one of the following is true:(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Free Consultation with Child Custody LawyerIf you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CWest Jordan, Utah84088 United StatesTe[...]

SEC Charges Pastor with Defrauding Retirees


The Securities and Exchange Commission announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze obtained against a Michigan-based pastor accused of exploiting church members, retirees, and laid-off auto workers who were misled to believe they were investing in a successful real estate business.The SEC alleges that Larry Holley, the pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Flint, Mich., cloaked his solicitations in faith-based rhetoric, replete with references to scripture and biblical figures.  Holley allegedly told prospective investors that as a person who “prayed for your children,” he was more trustworthy than a “banker” with their money.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Holley held financial presentations masked as “Blessed Life Conferences” at churches nationwide during which he asked congregants to fill out cards detailing their financial holdings, and he promised to pray over the cards and invited attendees to have one-on-one consultations with his team.  He allegedly called his investors “millionaires in the making.”According to the SEC’s complaint, which also charges Holley’s company Treasure Enterprise LLC and his business associate Patricia Enright Gray, approximately $6.7 million was raised from more than 80 investors who were guaranteed high returns and told they were investing in a profitable real estate company with hundreds of residential and commercial properties. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>According to the complaint, Gray advertised on a religious radio station based in Flint and singled out recently laid-off auto workers with severance packages to consult her for a “financial increase.”  Gray allegedly promised to roll over investors’ retirement funds into tax-advantaged Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and invest them in Treasure Enterprise.  The SEC alleges that no investor funds were deposited into IRAs, and Treasure Enterprise struggled to generate enough revenue from its real estate investments to support the business and make payments owed to investors.  Treasure Enterprise owes investors an estimated $1.9 million in past due payments, according to the SEC’s complaint.“As alleged in our complaint, Holley and Gray targeted the retirement savings of churchgoers, building a bond of trust purportedly based on faith but actually based on false promises,” said David Glockner.According to the SEC’s complaint, Holley, Gray, and Treasure Enterprise were not registered to sell investments.  The SEC encourages investors to check the background of anyone offering to sell them investments by doing a quick search on the SEC’s investor website.The SEC has obtained a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Utah that freezes the assets of Holley, Gray, and Treasure Enterprise.  The court’s order also appoints a receiver and imposes other emergency relief.The SEC’s complaint alleges violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, and permanent injunctions. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by Ana P. Doncic, Delia L. Helpingstine, and Sruthi Koneru of the Utah office. [...]

Government Liability and Immunity in Utah


In its infancy, the United States had sovereign immunity for federal and state governments and their employees. It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that a trend developed that held the government accountable for any cases, including wrongful death or other legal actions.Today the State Tort Claims Act provides a waiver of immunity with expectations that apply to certain claims against the government. This probably seems like a mouthful, but having the right lawyer on your side that knows government laws can help you with a case in Salt Lake City, Utah or elsewhere. Because I’m a West Jordan injury lawyer, I’ve seen all sorts of injuries and accidents and ones against the State of Utah can be difficult.State Claims ActThis act limits immunity to the state, and sets up a procedure for claims against the state. The board or commission will determine whether the claims are valid, and may also limit damages for certain liability. At least 33 state acts — including Utah’s — limit the damages that are recovered from judgments against the state. This is why it’s important for residents of Salt Lake City to have a lawyer that knows what actions to pursue against the state. If you plan to pursue a claim against the state, there are certain facts and assertions that need to be sent in. The government then has 60 days to inform the claimant if the claim has been approved or denied. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>If immunity is waived against the government, then the department or entity will be considered as if it were a private person. This would be the case if a wrongful death occurred on government property, but again this can be a tough call against the government. According to Utah Code Ann. 63-30d-301 (5)(a), “immunity is not waived if the injury resulted from an exercise of discretionary function.” This case would determine whether a lawyer could successfully sue the Salt Lake City or Utah government for negligent acts.There are different parts of the government that function outside the Act, including 911 emergency medical services, government volunteers and hazardous materials. All of these could lead to a wrongful death case, in which you might require a wrongful death lawyer.Make sure you hire a lawyer that knows the law well, and what they can do to help your case against government officials in Salt Lake City or elsewhere throughout the state of Utah.PROPERLY PREPARING FOR NATIONAL BIKE MONTHThere are many great reasons to ride bikes. Bicycling saves money and helps preserve your health and the environment. If you are going to ride your bike to celebrate National Bike Month, make sure you and your children wear a helmet. Many people think helmets are just for children, but most cyclist casualties are adults (88 percent) as opposed to children (12 percent). In 2014, 21,827 cyclists were injured in reported accidents. This can often be grounds for an auto accident lawsuit. Consider speaking to a lawyer today if you are a victim.According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, each year two percent of car accident crash deaths are cyclists. Driver/rider error is the most frequent reason for car accidents with cyclists involving 73% of cases. The most serious injuries are to the head and neck. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='[...]

Tips for Effectively Using Your Business Lawyer


Savvy business people understand that lawyers play an indispensable role in the successful execution of a business plan. Here are seven keys to get the most from lawyers for your business.Call sooner rather than later. Problems are more expensive to solve than avoid. Call your lawyers before you get served with a lawsuit. Call them before you sign a lease or a loan or any other contract vitally important to your business. An hour or two of your lawyer’s time to review a document could save multiple hours down the road trying to unwind or modify a bad deal. Understand the fees upfront. When hiring a lawyer, you should ask for a document (sometimes called an engagement letter or retainer agreement) to describe how your lawyer will charge for their work. Not all projects need be billed by the hour. If you are looking for more certainty as to cost, ask for an alternative, such as a cap on fees or a hard quote on the total cost. Alternative fee structures don’t automatically lower total legal fees. Getting certainty in your fees may come at a cost.Be prepared and do your homework. Prior to meeting with your lawyer in person or on the phone, spend time getting prepared. Read in advance any documents or contracts you would like the lawyer to review and have specific questions. Spend time to get a clear understanding of the deal you want to do and the goals you hope to accomplish. In short, use your lawyer’s time as efficiently as possible. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Keep your lawyer in the loop. As your business plan unfolds and new developments arise, touch base with your lawyer through a quick email or phone call to apprise them of what’s going on. They may see issues that you haven’t thought about, and it could end up saving you thousands of dollars in legal fees down the road.Don’t hide the ball. Be totally honest with your lawyer. Your discussions will be protected by the attorney-client privilege and kept in strict confidence (assuming you don’t plan to commit a crime). Legal issues are driven by facts, and the more detail you provide your lawyer, the better they will be able to serve you.Get the right lawyer. Don’t ask a patent lawyer to review a loan agreement. The legal system is complicated. Like most professions, law has become incredibly specialized in the last few decades. Before your hire a lawyer, make sure they have experience handling your type of project. The lawyers at Ascent Law have deep expertise in business litigation and all aspects of business transactions. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Treat your lawyer like a business partner. Unlike the caricatures in lawyer jokes, most lawyers are dedicated professionals with the knowledge and experience to safely guide you through the legal risks of running a business. Treat them as you would a business partner. You’ll find the value they add to your business far exceeds the cost. Free Consultation with a Utah Business LawyerIf you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CWest Jordan, Utah84088 United StatesTelephone: (801) 676-5506Ascent Law LLC4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwid[...]

Moves and Relocation in Divorce


In situations where court ordered parenting time has already been established, and the residential parent or the school placement parent intends to move, the first issue that must be addressed is notice to the other parent. For information regarding notice of a move.Once issues of notice have been properly taken care of, the next question becomes – what does this mean for your parenting order?  Are changes needed?  If so, what are they?If the parents can agree regarding the appropriate changes to their parenting plan, if any, then the parties can submit appropriate paperwork to the Court to modify their parenting orders.  But what if the parties cannot agree?  If parties cannot reach an agreement on their own, if they wish, they may request the help of a mediator to reach agreement.  In addition, the Local Rules of your court or the terms of your parenting order or shared parenting plan may require you to attempt mediation before filing a motion with the Court.If the move is imminent, and you believe time is of the essence to make sure that your Child is not permanently removed from the State, you may need to seek an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>If the non-moving parent is unable to reach agreement with the moving parent regarding moving the Child and/or the revised terms that should be in the parenting order, then the non-moving parent is left with two choices:Do nothing and hope that the other party will allow you reasonable access to your Child from the new location.  If you do this, your court ordered access remains the same as your prior order, although it may now be difficult and expensive to follow it.  Or,File a motion with the Court to change your custody, shared parenting, school placement parent, or parenting time.  In addition, you may wish to file a motion to modify child support to accommodate the travel expenses that are now involved in visitation.Before an Utah court can modify custody, terminate shared parenting, or change the school placement parent, Utah law requires that the Court must first find there has been a change incircumstances. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Moving or Relocation in Utah Custody, Shared Parenting and Visitation CasesFor purposes of this article, assume that moving parent and the non-moving parent have gone through the stages in the first three articles on this topic, and one or both parents have decided to go to court to seek a change of custody, shared parenting,  or the school placement parent in a shared parenting plan.  Utah law requires a court find that there has been a change in circumstances before making this modification.  In addition, the change cannot be a slight change; it must be a change of substance.The court must find that:…a change has occurred in the circumstances of the Child, the Child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the Child. In applying these standards, the Court shall retain the residential parent designated by the prior decree or the prior shared parenting decree, unless a modification is in the best interest of the Chil[...]

Environmental Lawyer in Salt Lake City


Research is indicating more and more everyday that the harmful effects of putrid and toxic air can extend further into our health than thoughts in years prior. As these discoveries have been made our nation has implemented several laws to ensure that the effects that may occur from hazardous products does not affect the innocent air breathed by many, especially children. Josh Freeman, an attorney in Salt Lake City says that environmental laws are some of the most revamped laws in recent years, as further study reveals more about how our bodies react to bad air.Due to the mountains and dry air, many assume that Salt Lake City is an ideal place for health, but that isn’t true. Salt Lake City has for some time now, been on the top ten lists of the most polluted cities in American, due to many factors, but mainly the inversion that is created within and throughout the Happy Valley. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency has geared up in light of recent research to penalize and further punish companies that do not adhere to the certain codes and restrictions put into place for cleaner air. Once, again, Salt Lake City is no exception. Chevron, is one of the largest refineries in Salt Lake City and vastly lucrative, however recent findings indicate that they violated several parts of the Clean Air Act. They recently settled the matter with close to $400,000. On the one hand, this may indicate a rougher year for Chevron, but a better one for local residents. According to studies, women are far more likely to have autistic children if they are exposed to polluted air while pregnant. Men and women alike have been known to develop lung problems, crippling asthma and possibly cancer, depending on the carcinogens in the air. Any lawyer in Utah can tell you that environmental law and business development law are coinciding now more than ever.Salt Lake City is working tirelessly towards a cleaner environment with the help of local officials and many are welcoming the slight bump on the city’s economy as a necessary evil. Now that these new rules are set into place, new business owners and builders have a unique opportunity to make Salt Lake City a new and improved part of Utah and the country. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>As marijuana business industry grows, Utah business attorneys warn would-be entreprenuersRecently Reporter Jonathan Fahey gained attention from newspapers and online news sources around the country for his in-depth piece about marijuana business where he analyzed multiple perspectives – including that of entrepreneurs, consumers, and investors – and discussed the wacky world of making a profit of weed. Fahey drew attention to the fact that the dubious legal status of weed in some states, and its varying legal status in others, makes a successful business model somewhat difficult to implement. Utah business attorneys watching the climate of their own state agree, but will they be ready to handle the task at hand? Or will it fall to opportunistic consultants with little legal background who happen to be in the right place at the right time?Part of the problem is that “it’s a gray market industry,” and the nation “hasn’t decided whether marijuana is a dangerous illegal drug or not much worse than tobacco or alcohol.” Federal law still classifies it as an illegal narcotic on par with heroin, while 23 states have legalized it for medical use, and two regulate and tax it for the general adult public. Even Utah, one of the most meticulously conservative states, allows th[...]

Divorce News


Finding a good attorney for your family law needs can be a challenge.  Just as every attorney is unique, so is every client and every case. Almost every case has one or more weaknesses. Even if you are fortunate enough to have the rare situation where all of the law and all of the facts line up, that does not mean that you will be happy with the process, and the pace that things move through the courts.  Even if you have all the time in the world, you probably don’t have all the money in the world.So what’s the point we’re getting at?  Here it is, plain and simple –  almost every family law case has some bad news.  The only exception is a case where the parties all agree regarding what should happen, and they simply need an attorney to represent one of the parties, (it would be a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent all of the parties) draft the paperwork and get the court order or child support enforcement agency (CSEA) order they need.   When you meet with an attorney, if you aren’t hearing any bad news, and your case is contested, then maybe you need to discuss the matter a little more.  Your case is the sum of the good news and the bad news.  You should talk about both before you begin, and make a decision with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  You cannot help your attorney with your case if you don’t understand the strengths and weaknesses.You may have a situation where your children’s life has become intolerable, but the financial cost and legal risk of going back to court seems unbearable too.  In that case, you need to sit down with an attorney that will answer your questions, in plain English, and give you the information you need to choose between a rock and a hard place.  A good attorney will give you that information, and then it’s up to you to take that information regarding the law, the discretion the court has in your situation, and work with your attorney to make the best decision.  At the end of the day, it’s your life, and you are going to have to live with it. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Beyond just getting the straight skinny on the good and bad news, you need to pick an attorney that you can talk to, and one that talks to you.  Clients have a right to know what is going on in their case and be involved in the decisions.  If you feel like your attorney is not treating you with respect, you either need to discuss it with your attorney and solve the problem, or find another attorney.  If your family law attorney cannot treat other attorneys with some respect as well, then you are more likely to pay higher legal fees and less likely to achieve what you want without an expensive trial and the risk of letting a judge decide your case without your participation.  If your attorney’s approach is keeping you from settling your case, it might be time for you to deliver some bad news of your own.  If you’re concerned, talk to your attorney about it.Is every all or nothing with your lawyer?  Is that attitude coming from you as well?  That can be a risky and expensive approach.  Sometimes, with the help of your attorneys, you and the other party can agree on a few small issues, but the larger issues remain contested.  Guess what?  You can put on an Agreed Entry regarding the one or two things, and save both parties a bunch of money.  Guess what else?  Agreeing on l[...]

Which Visitation Schedule is Right?


Which visitation schedule is the right one for you and your child?Visitation schedules are not “one size fits all”.While each county has a local rule visitation schedule, these local rules are more of a guideline than a rule.  What this means is that each county must have a default schedule that the court considers as the least amount of time that the court generally awards to a fit parent.  This gives parents an idea regarding what to expect, and perhaps this will guide the parents toward agreement.The schedule the court orders must be in best interest of the child.    Generally, Utah courts favor schedules that allow the child to see each parent frequently, especially when the child is very young.  The idea is that the child needs frequent contact with each parent to promote bonding. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>So what if the local visitation schedule is not the ideal schedule for your child?  Although Ohio courts often rely on the county’s local visitation schedule as a “jumping off point” so to speak, the court (or the parents, by agreement) may alter the schedule in any way which is in the best interest of the child.  The term “local rule” is sometimes misleading – there is NO RULE which REQUIRES a court to order the local rule visitation schedule as your visitation schedule.  It is simply a guideline.  Usually Utah Code 30-3-33 is used.  You should review that law.So if the local rule visitation schedule does not work for you, then what schedule should you ask for?  What schedule would work best for you and your child, and be fair to both parents?  In other States, Supreme Courts have posted publications on about how to handle parent time and living apart.  You read the fine print (under “Limitations of this Guide”, it says that the guide only represents the opinions of the authors, and is does not represent the legal opinion of the Courts of any lawyers.  The Introduction to the guide presents the guide as a “resource for the creation of sensible parenting time schedules”.  The Introduction goes on to say that the guide “fosters fair and creative parenting time schedules based on children’s developmental milestones and best interests”. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>That guide has 14 parenting schedules to choose from.  The guide also discusses the author’s opinions regarding parenting time needs of children at different ages.It is better to think of local rule visitation schedules as a floor, rather than a ceiling.  A fit parent is going to get AT LEAST that much parenting time, probably more.  It may not be that exact schedule – not every family has the same work schedule.  Some families work second or third shift, some families live several states apart.Is my spouse entitled to 1/2 of my retirement when we divorce?Retirement plans are often the most significant asset of a marriage, often worth even more than the couple’s house.  Therefore, people are naturally worried about what is going to happen to that asset when the couple divorces.In Utah, all assets are presumed to be marital, and therefore subject to divis[...]

Divorce and Domestic Violence


Divоrсе саn sometimes be a ѕсаrу and confusing time fоr anybody, but what about if dоmеѕtiс viоlеnсе iѕ involved on tор оf it? Abuse hарреnѕ to реорlе оn mаnу different levels, such as рhуѕiсаl, еmоtiоnаl, and psychological abuse. Mаnу fасtоrѕ will help determine what should hарреn in your divоrсе. Luckily we саn hеlр уоu understand the divorce process when dоmеѕtiс violence iѕ involved and what tо еxресt from it.Understanding DivorceDivоrсе is a separation where mаnу fасtоrѕ аrе determined. This саn include important matters like custody оf the children , child ѕuрроrt, parenting and viѕitаtiоn time, division of аѕѕеtѕ, alimony, and what hарреnѕ tо реrѕоnаl рrореrtу and the marital home. If your marriage involved dоmеѕtiс аbuѕе, уоu mау even be able tо receive an оrdеr fоr protection from аbuѕе from the judge. The court wants tо keep уоu frоm further hаrm еvеn though your marriage will be dissolved frоm hеrе оn out.There аrе many tуреѕ оf аbuѕе that саn happen during a marriage. This саn include threatening to dеѕtrоу or hаrm ѕоmеthing that is valuable tо уоu, the victim. It саn аlѕо include causing harm or threatening tо hаrm the children оr аnу animals in the household to “get bасk at уоu.” If your marriage involves your children witness аbuѕе, prevent уоu from having thingѕ оf your own, оr obsessive соntrоl, уоu may be in a dоmеѕtiс viоlеnсе situation and need hеlр thrоugh уоur divоrсе, whеrе уоur spouse саn become еvеn more аgitаtеd аnd bе mоrе likеlу to play abuse tасtiсѕ. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>VALUING YOUR BUSINESS WHEN GОING THROUGH A DIVОRСЕWhеn you аrе gоing thrоugh a divorce, there are ѕоmе mаin things that уоu рrоbаblу think about: сuѕtоdу, house аnd property division, and mоrе. Whаt happens if there iѕ a buѕinеѕѕ between you аnd уоur spouse? Then you рrоbаblу know thаt thеrе will соmе timе tо divide your business аnd thiѕ iѕ nоt аlwауѕ аѕ easy аѕ it ѕоundѕ. Eѕресiаllу in саѕеѕ where thе соurt determines thаt the business iѕ marital рrореrtу, you mау hаvе some ԛuеѕtiоnѕ. In Utаh, whiсh is a соmmunitу рrореrtу ѕtаtе, the vаluе mау bе ѕubjесt tо a 50-50 ѕрlit.Vаluаtiоn of the BuѕinеѕѕValuing the buѕinеѕѕ is thе first ѕtер in dеtеrmining how it should bе dividеd. In many саѕеѕ, your attorney will рrоbаblу tеll уоu to rеtаin a business valuation еxреrt, аnd in оthеr cases уоu and уоur ѕроuѕе may decide tо ѕрlit thе соѕt and аgrее tо ѕhаrе an expert. Hоwеvеr, if уоur spouse gоеѕ thrоugh with a buѕinеѕѕ vаluаtiоn оf their own, уоu don’t want tо entirely truѕt that оn уоur оwn because you nеvеr knоw if уоu аrе bеing dесеivеd, which iѕ ѕоmеthing уоu should tаlk to уоur attorney about.There are many aspects thаt gо into business vаluаtiоn. Thе expert will lооk at thе finаnсiаl rесоrdѕ оf the business, which include рrоfit аnd lоѕѕ ѕtаtеmеntѕ over timе, аѕѕеtѕ, liabilities, саѕh flоw, оvеrhеаd, аnd customer gооd will. Many external fасtоrѕ will bе looked аt as well, including thе tуре аnd[...]

Wrongful Incarceration


The criminal justice system is complex. On one hand, it aims to hold those who have committed criminal acts accountable for their behavior. On the other hand, it aims to hold ill-behaved law enforcement agencies and prosecutors accountable for their behavior. By ensuring that the rights of accused persons are respected, the system strives to achieve justice through fair and predictable means.Unfortunately, even a skillful criminal defense does not always lead to the acquittal of wrongfully accused and wrongfully convicted persons. Sometimes law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are not held accountable for illegal practices on their part and individuals who should otherwise be released are incarcerated.In fact, data compiled by the highly esteemed advocacy group the Innocence Project indicates that as many as 110,000 individuals are currently wrongfully incarcerated. That translates practically to nearly 5 percent of the current prison population. Some of these individuals are completely innocent of wrongdoing and even more should have had their charges dropped due to having certain rights infringed upon during the investigation and prosecution of their cases. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>It is critical that the justice system operates in a fair and predictable way. Otherwise, similarly situated individuals will have no idea whether or not they will be prosecuted or granted their rightful release at any given time. Judges, lawmakers and concerned advocacy groups should give the problem of wrongful incarceration in America the urgent attention it deserves. Such attention will benefit both those directly affected by the trend and the health of the system as a whole.Woman Accused Of DUI Forms Criminal Defense Against More ChargesA woman who was initially pursued by Enoch police on suspicion of DUI has been arrested relating to additional charges. Upon her arrest, Utah police discovered that she had a warrant from another state relating to theft charges. The woman must now begin forming her criminal defense against the various charges that she faces.According to the report, at around 6:15 p.m., Utah police responded to a call about a potentially impaired driver on Midvalley Road. The caller claimed that a Ford Ranger was driving on the wrong side of the road, and the vehicle’s headlights were not on. When police attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver supposedly initiated a brief chase before running into a light pole and coming to a halt.During her arrest, officers learned that the woman was missing from California, and she was noted as suicidal. When the officers contacted California to report that the woman had been found and is in police custody, they learned that she also had a warrant out for her arrest on theft allegations. Utah police claim that they searched the car and found approximately $60,000, which they believe to have been stolen.The woman was arrested on charges of DUI, attempting to evade police and failing to stop at a stop sign. She was also accused of failure to maintain the proper lane and driving on revocation. Utah police are working with law officials in California investigating her theft charges. Since the woman is from another state, it would be advisable for her to learn about our policies and procedures to strengthen her criminal defense as her proceedings move forward.Free Consultation with a Criminal LawyerWhen you need a criminal defense at[...]

Grandparents Rights in Utah for Custody and Visitation


What makes a parent unsuitable?  Well, a court must find by sufficient evidence, that the parent:Abandoned the child, orContractually relinquished custody of the child, orThat the parent has become totally incapable of supporting or caring for the child, orThat an award of custody to the parent would be detrimental to the child.In addition, if the court makes a finding of unsuitability it must be based upon adverse impact upon the child.  The court’s finding cannot be based on society’s judgment of the parent.  In other words, if the parent is doing something that society does not approve of, but has no impact on the child, then a court cannot use that as a basis for awarding custodial rights a non-parent.So what is the difference between what is detrimental to the child, and what is simply a matter of societal norms?  Essentially, the difference lies with the child, the perceptions of the child, the witnesses, the guardian ad litem and the Judge or Magistrate.  It is a fine line, but the starting point should be an objective look at the child – what does the child perceive as being detrimental?  The child’s perception alone is not determinative, and but it is significant.  The actions, behavior, preferences and well-being of the child will be closely scrutinized.  The child’s physical and mental health and behavior in both environments will be considered.  A good discussion of the fine line between adverse impact / harmful effect and societal norms can be find in the case In re Z.A.P. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>In cases between a parent and a non-parent filed under Utah Code that says which Court has jurisdiction over children not already the ward of another court, except in Richland and Fairfield Counties – where matters are heard in the domestic relations court), a court may not award custodial rights to a non-parent without first finding that the parent is unsuitable to raise the child.UNSUITABILITY (UNFIT) AND GUARDIANSHIP IN COURTFor example, the Hockstock court discussed a prior case,  Masitto, in which the natural father of the child, prior to divorcing the mother, had consented to the grandparents receiving guardianship of the child through the probate court.  The natural father and mother later divorced, and made no provision for parental rights in the divorce, but instead incorporated the guardianship order of the probate court.  The Supreme Court noted that in Masitto, the father had contractually agreed to the appointment of the grandparents as legal guardians, and that the Code requires unsuitability as a prerequisite for guardianship.  This means that any parent who gives guardianship of their children to grandparents (or someone else) in probate court has, by their own consent, established their unsuitability and has opened the door for custody to the person who received guardianship.TEMPORARY VS. LEGAL CUSTODY, AND UNSUITABILE (UNFIT) PARENTSIn the Supreme Court case, In re Hockstock, which arose out of state, the Court noted that there is a distinct difference between a parent granting temporary custody to a grandparent, and a parent granting legal custody to a grandparent.  Specifically, the Hockstock court found that a grant of temporary custody was not a “contractu[...]

Deal With Your Debt


For many, debt can be insidious. It sneaks into your budget before you realize what’s happening. It may have started innocently, or unforeseeably. Whatever the intentions that led to the debt, hoping for your situation to miraculously change isn’t going to solve the problem. In some cases, interest can accumulate so quickly it increases your balance faster than you’re able to pay it off. Delays in getting out of debt can be devastating, leading to legal action and loss of property. It’s important to deal with your debt before the situation spirals out of control. If you feel out of control, call a bankruptcy lawyer to help you right away.Self HelpTake the first step to recovery by acknowledging there’s a problem. The immediate step to follow is to figure out what you can do about it. Gather your bills – everything you have to pay each month. Think about what you spend on groceries, dining, entertainment, clothes, and anything else you purchase each month. This will help clarify your financial picture. Getting out of debt could be as simple as rearranging your budget and prioritizing your lifestyle – even if it’s a temporary fix. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>GuidanceThe solutions to financial struggles can be complex and overwhelming. Without knowing your options it’s easy to feel helpless and stuck. Financial solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all, the same solution doesn’t work for everyone. We will evaluate your income, assets, payments and debts, as well as your personal and financial goals. This will help us to gain a true understanding what you face and the best way to overcome your financial struggle.Whether it’s budgeting advice, debt consolidation, credit counseling, or bankruptcy, we can recommended a solution and ultimately provide you with financial peace of mind. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>You Are Not AloneWhen struggling with debt, you may feel alone in your fears and frustrations—but you’re not. We have helped thousands of clients facing financial difficulties much like your own. There are programs available to help hard-working Americans find a fresh financial start, without losing everything (or anything) they own. We can lead you to and through those solutions.5 Reasons to Look Forward to Your 341 MeetingOne of the most unnecessary stressors for a bankruptcy client is anxiety about the 341 meeting.  Here are five reasons to be excited about the 341 meeting.It won’t take long.Most 341 Meetings will only last 3-5 minutes. The trustee will usually ask a few (yes, only a few) questions regarding your case, most of which are routine.There’s only one of them.In chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is only one meeting that you will need to attend and after that, it will be a waiting process until you receive your discharge papers and say goodbye to your debts.Odds are,your creditors won’t show up.  They will miss their last chance toever talk to you about your debts. This meeting is a chance for creditors to ask any questions regarding your debt with them, but the good news is, they usually don’t show up. In the very rare [...]

Salt Lake City Probate Lawyer


As a probate lawyer I’m frequently asked estate law questions in Utah. Here are some of those questions and their answers.The Person Who Provides for You Suddenly Dies. What Happens to You?When the primary breadwinner dies, his or her surviving spouse, domestic partner and minor children can find themselves without the necessary resources to maintain their current lifestyle. If you find yourself in this position, you do have options.Under Utah laws, you have entitlements in regard to a place to live, use of personal property, and a family allowance. A family allowance is a court-authorized payment to dependent loved ones of the person who has passed. To receive the allowance, the person must have been dependent on the resources of the deceased prior to his or her death. This can include parents and adult children of the deceased. The allowance can be paid during the Salt Lake City probate process, and it can be paid from any asset within the estate. If you are in need of a family allowance, contact a qualified Salt Lake City probate lawyer today for help.Here are a few things you should know about the Family Allowance Benefit:A spouse, minor children, or an adult dependent child or a dependent parent of the deceased may be eligible.• There is often a set time period for the allowance; typically, 12 months.• Known creditors must be notified of the petition for family allowance.• Any petition more than $1,000 per month must include an itemized estimate of anticipated monthly expenses.• The petition must also include the estimated gross and net estate and an estimate of unpaid claims.• Unless the person named in the petition is incapacitated, the petition must list income from all sources outside of the estate as well as the person’s personal property.Can Beneficiaries Demand a Formal Accounting of an Estate?An estate administrator has a duty to manage the estate and do so in the best interest of the beneficiaries. However, not every administrator acts in good faith, and even when they do, disputes and discrepancies can make a beneficiary want to know exactly where the assets are and where they’re going.What duty does an administrator owe to the beneficiaries of an estate?An administrator of an estate in Salt Lake City has what’s called a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries. To have a fiduciary duty means to have a duty to act in good faith at all times when it comes to administering something on behalf of another person. Fiduciary duty requires the administrator to act according to a set of rules or laws, and a person with a fiduciary duty may not break those rules even if the beneficiaries ask them to do so. In Salt Lake City, an administrator of an estate must only spend or reallocate assets for the benefit of the estate. There may be civil consequences for breaching fiduciary duty. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>However, if an administrator is suspected of acting in bad faith, as in acting against the interests of the beneficiaries, or suspected of being negligent, the beneficiaries have a right to ask for an accounting.Salt Lake City Probate Lawyer on AccountingAn accounting is a detailed explanation of how the assets in an estate are controlled, how money is spent, why money has been spent, and what assets remain. An accounting shows who the estate’s creditors may be,[...]

File Your Claim Before the Statute of Limitations Expires


Many times, after a tragic car accident or other accidental injury or death, claimants delay on filing a lawsuit because they are busy focusing on the chaos and turmoil the accident has happened.   While immediate medical attention, comforting of family and friends, and getting your life back into some semblance of order must be first priorities, you shouldn’t delay too long on contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer after a Utah accident.Utah Statutes of LimitationsIn Utah, as in all other U.S. states, there is a specific time period in which a claim must be filed for various types of accidental property damage, injury, or death. These rules vary from state to state, so it is important to hire a lawyer fully familiar with the way the system works in Utah.Here is the statute of limitations breakdown relevant to possible tort actions in Utah:For medical malpractice injuries, product liability lawsuits, and wrongful death suits the statute of limitations is 2 years.For property damage lawsuits, the statute of limitations is 3 years.For personal injury actions, your claim must be filed within 4 years of the date of injury.In most cases, the clock starts running from the date of the injury, but there are times when it will begin on the date of discovery of the injury or could be delayed (“tolled”) for other reasons. A good injury lawyer will know all of these details and will also know how to go through the legal process of properly filing your lawsuit with speed.Note that when the liable party for an injury is the Utah state government or a state of Utah employee, you only have 1 year to file your claim or lose that right forever.  If the claim is initially declined, you have 1 more year to file an appeal. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Other Factors in Utah Personal Injury SuitsIn addition to the statute of limitations, there are other important legal matters that will affect your ability to be fairly compensated for your injury.Utah is a no-fault auto insurance state.  This means there are limitations placed on filing claims for auto insurance. If the cost of the injury is low or the injury not very serious, your own insurance must cover the claim regardless of who was at fault. This would force you to pay a portion of your medical expenses and lost income out of pocket and not collect for pain and suffering (“non-economic”) damages.But a good Utah injury lawyer can help you get past the no-fault rule in many cases by showing that your injury was serious, debilitating, or permanent and by showing the true costs inflicted on you were sufficiently high.You should also be aware that Utah is a “modified comparative fault state.”  This means your claim will be reduced by the percentage of fault for the accident/injury that is assigned to you (if any). If your fault is deemed at 50% or higher, you cannot collect anything.Not that non-economic damages in Utah are capped at $450,000 in cases of medical malpractice, but not for car accidents or any other cause of injury. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='[...]

Commercial Real Estate Lawyer


Commercial real estate transactions are often complicated and can involve many moving parts, which makes commission disputes a challenge. Even when a listing agreement is written out in detail, legal disputes can arise during or after the sale of a property. This is why it is always a good idea to have a commercial real estate lawyer in your back pocket when issues arise. The confusion around procuring cause is a common source of disputes in real estate sales, and commercial brokers can easily find themselves embroiled in contentious litigation as a result.Commercial Real Estate MattersProcuring cause is a party that is responsible for successfully securing the sale. This concept is often at the heart of real estate disputes involving brokers and property owners.The Utah Supreme Court has explained that to earn a commission as the procuring cause of a transaction, a broker must perform two essential tasks:The broker must initiate negotiations by doing some affirmative act to bring buyer and seller together.The broker must remain involved in the continuing negotiations between the seller and the buyer, unless the seller and buyer intentionally exclude the broker from the negotiations.Unless the broker has failed to uphold their end of the deal, a property owner who refuses to pay commissions upon the sale of the property is usually found to be in the wrong. Even so, property owners or buyers may use the issue of procuring cause to claim that the broker is not owed any commissions.Real Estate Commission Disputes Involving Oral AgreementsThough most real estate contacts involve written listing agreements, verbal agreements are still utilized in some circumstances, often in conjunction with a written contract.Whether oral real estate commission agreements can be upheld in court or arbitration depends in part on the laws of each state; in Utah, these types of contracts are considered legal and binding.It can be difficult, however, to prove the terms of an oral contract.Having witnesses other than the two contracted parties can be helpful in demonstrating the validity of these agreements. Any informal correspondence such as emails, faxes, and letters can also prove critical in supporting a broker’s claims to unpaid commissions. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Don’t Wait to Hire a Real Estate LawyerWhether your contract was in writing or simply a hand shake agreement, it’s important to have qualified legal representation before entering the litigation or arbitration process.First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that you have the necessary legal protections in place so that you and your attorney can figure out the best way to approach your case.For many clients, that involves initiating a broker’s lien. This is a process whereby the commercial broker can place a lien on the proceeds of the sale, and sometimes the property itself, until any owed commissions are paid. It is possible to file liens for the full value of those commissions.Acting quickly to find representation will give you the best opportunity to recover what you’re owed under your listing agreement.If you are involved in a commission dispute, you should contact an attorney with experience in commercial real estate litigation who will make sure[...]

What is a Change of Circumstances?


A “Change of Circumstances” in Utah Child Custody Cases requires that the court shall not modify a prior decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children unless it finds, based on facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. In applying these standards, the court shall retain the residential parent designated by the prior decree or the prior shared parenting decree, unless a modification is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.Utah law has several hurdles for a parent that wants to change custody, and the burden of proof is on the parent who wants the change.  As a custody lawyer, I can tell you, that this means you have to not only tell the court, but provide substantial evidence to the court to get what you want. The first step of these complicated requirements is generally that there must have been a change or circumstances based on facts that did not exist at the time of last custody order.  For the most part, the Utah Revised Code is silent about what is or is not a “change of circumstances”, and the answer is found in case law. Sounds simple, right?  Nope.  Case law varies among the appellate districts.  The best you can do is look at the case law, and which trends last over time.  The bottom line is that unless a court is directly violating a case precedent that has authority over that court, the court has a LOT of latitude to decide whether or not there has been a change in circumstances.Military Parents and Change of CircumstancesOne exception to this is that The court shall not find past, present, or possible future active military service in the uniformed services to constitute a change in circumstances justifying modification of a prior decree.  For more information about Utah active military members being deployed and custody, click this link to read our article about this subject. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>So What is a Change of Circumstances?What about non-military parents?  For those parents, what constitutes a change of circumstances is mostly a matter of case law.  There are a few issues that have gone to the supreme court of Utah, and those rulings apply to the whole state, but there are other issues that vary from one appellate district to another.Moving and Change of CircumstancesThere is a case where a trial court a[...]

SEC Proposed Inline XBRL Filing


As a lawyer in Utah, we regularly go over new developments in the law. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently voted to propose amendments intended to improve the quality and accessibility of data submitted by public companies and mutual funds using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).SEC PROPOSES INLINE XBRL FILING OF TAGGED DATAThe proposals would require the use of Inline XBRL, which has the potential to benefit investors and other market participants while decreasing, over time, the cost of preparing information for submission to the SEC.  The recommendations are part of the SEC’s disclosure modernization initiative.“While XBRL technology has made disclosures easier to access for investors, there are legitimate concerns about the burdens smaller companies face when preparing their filings,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “Today, the SEC is asking comment on a way to streamline this process to ensure usability for the public while keeping compliance costs down.”The SEC will seek public comment on the proposed rules for 60 days.FACT SHEET (SEC Open Meeting)HighlightsThe proposed amendments would require the use of Inline XBRL format for the submission of operating company financial statement information and mutual fund risk/return summaries.  The proposal would also eliminate the requirement for filers to post XBRL data on their websites.Among additional potential benefits:Inline XBRL allows filers to embed XBRL data directly into their filings instead of as attachments, reducing the likelihood of inconsistencies.Inline XBRL would give the preparer full control over the presentation of XBRL disclosures within the HTML filing.  In addition, tools like the open source Inline XBRL Viewer on can be used to review the XBRL data more efficiently.For mutual funds, the proposed amendments would facilitate efficiencies in the filing process by permitting the concurrent submission of XBRL data files with certain post-effective amendment filings.  The proposed amendments also would improve the timeliness of the availability of risk/return summaries in XBRL by eliminating the current 15 business day filing period accorded to all filings containing risk/return summaries.Under the proposals, requirements for operating company financial statements would be phased in over a three-year period.  Requirements for mutual funds risk/return summaries would be phased in over a two-year period. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>BackgroundIn 2009, the Commission adopted rules requiring operating companies to provide financial statement information in registration statements and periodic and current reports in XBRL by submitting it to the Commission in an Interactive Data File as an exhibit to these filings and posting it on their corporate websites, if any.In 2009, the Commission also adopted rules requiring mutual funds to provide risk/return summaries in XBRL by submitting them to the Commission in Interactive Data Files as exhibits and posting them on their websites, if any.There is a wide range of users of XBRL data, including investors, financial analysts, economic research firms, data aggregators, academic researchers, filers, and Commission s[...]

Loan Modification Scam


Maybe they thought they were going to get away with it; maybe their judgment was only as good as their foresight; or maybe the six individuals indicted for fraud and money laundering, among other charges, had their eyeballs replaced with dollar signs, like in cartoons. Whatever the reasoning, money was the motive, but now the five Utahns and the one Californian face up to 30 years in prison for their actions, and no attorney in Salt Lake City can save them from their own mistakes.Not even the best attorney in Salt Lake City could save these scammers from themselvesIt’s possible the cadre saw the housing market crash of 2008 as a business opportunity, but there is no way they didn’t understand that their actions turned opportunistic and even illegal when they devised “a scheme to market and sell home loan modification services to distressed homeowners trying to save their homes from foreclosure.” Also—to the presumed dismay of nearly every attorney in Salt Lake City—they pretended to be a law firm, too. I think it’s fair to say that all Utah Lawyers will tell you – it’s never a good idea to say you’re a law firm when you aren’t a lawyer. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='315' src='' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>Their “mortgage law offices” were searched nearly three years ago, and now the conspirators behind the CC Brown operation are feeling the full force of the blow of the federal indictment. All 40-counts of it. The U.S. Attorney’s office is less than pleased about CC Brown’s actions during the market crisis, with its claims that the group is responsible for the “deplorable act” of “taking advantage of desperate homeowners” to the tune of nearly $33 million in losses. That’s quite a bit a money for small band of white collar criminals to rack up in less than five years. But gleaning money from “more than 10,000 victims in nearly every state in the country” is no small time operation.A savvy real estate attorney in Salt Lake City could explain how they did it, but the gist of the scam was that the group would sell home modification loans to customers with looming defaults and sit back with their heels up, watching ruthlessly while “customers lost their homes to foreclosure while still waiting for word on the loan modification from CC Brown.”And maybe the defendants felt themselves to be so distant from their crime they rationalized it away as simple business strategy. As a white collar criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City might know, in several psychological accounts of white collar criminal motive analyses, this can be the case: handling phone calls, faxes, emails, and money that appears only as numbers on a screen can be more easily justified as “not wrong” in the human psyche than physically harming another human being with our own hands, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office won’t let these guys off that easy.These guys did bad things, including “raise false hopes with phony promises of legal representation, take advantage of struggling homeowners willing to do almost anything to save their homes,” and then pocket the funds that flowed from their desperation is nothing short of despicable, according to Mary Rook, the special agent in charge[...]