“My goal is to protect the security and assets of my clients and their children. ”
Jason M. White, Family Law Attorney
Family Law Attorneys Serving Provo
Family law courts have a very different goal from the rest of the civil and legal court system: to protect children and ensure proper parenting by dissolving disputes between parents and divorced or separated spouses. In Orem, Spanish Fork, American Fork and Provo, family law attorneys need expert-level understanding of family law.
Where Will My Child Custody And Child Support Be Decided?
The end of marriage in divorce or separation is when most child custody, parentage and child support issues are decided, at least initially. In Utah County, including cities such as Spanish Fork, American Fork, and Orem, these family law attorneys argue these cases under the jurisdiction of Utah’s Fourth District court in Provo.
Generally, these cases and related topics such as spousal support payments and division of assets occur prior to a decree of divorce. If parents are separating but are not married, legal issues about children and the establishment of parentage are heard independently but also decided in the Fourth District court. If you or your partner parent has moved from Utah County and you have questions about jurisdiction issues, consult with one of the family lawyers from Jason White & Associates to understand the complicated rules you need to follow.
Mediation and Required Classes for Divorcing Families
In addition to a required 90-day waiting period for almost any divorce in Utah and at least one session of out-of-court mediation, state law requires divorcing parents who have minor children to attend mandatory domestic mediation programs. Your sessions will give you a chance to communicate directly with the other parent and are intended to assist you in reaching parenting agreements before the divorce goes before a judge. The Utah Courts website also lists mediation benefits such as quick resolution, lower cost and stress and promotion of constructive relationships. Family law rules require you to find a mediator on your own, but the attorneys from Jason White & Associates in Provo can help. They will refer you to the best providers close to your Orem, American Fork or Spanish Fork home.
How is Child Support Granted?
Payments for child support are decided based on who has physical custody of the children and who, therefore, bears most of the costs of raising the child. Individual cases are decided based on gross income, not including government assistance. As part of your divorce or legal separation, you will need a proposed parenting plan for solving future conflicts, granting decision-making rights and planning for the possibility of relocation by you or your co-parent. You will need a child support worksheet, identification documents, financial substantiation and a written statement about your case in relation to standard child support guidelines for the parenting plan to be approved by a judge.
Standard Custody Agreements and Visitation
Unless you make a separate agreement, judges usually adhere to a standard custody and visitation schedule for divorced or separated parents. These standards are based on the age of the child and on which parent has primary custody, meaning which parent lives with the child. In the first few months of life, the custodial parent has to offer six hours of parent time on weekends plus time on holidays and phone contact. Parent time, also known as visitation, increases as the child gets older. By the time the child is three years old, standard visitation means one weekday evening, alternative weekends and two one-week periods for vacations. For children ages 5-18, the standard arrangement is alternative weekends and holidays, regular phone calls, two-week periods for each parent for vacations and one half of summer break. Parents who violate their custody agreements face contempt charges.
Legal guardianship is a separate issue from custody. If you are granted guardianship or legal custody, you are allowed to make legal decisions for your child even if he or she doesn’t live with you. Obtaining this also allows you access to school and medical records and medical care, and grants you power to act in your child’s behalf.
If you and the other parent were not married at the time that your child was born, you need to establish paternity through the courts. Even if you are the biological father, the court does not recognize your parentage until an Order to Establish Paternity has been signed by the judge.
What If My Children And I Were Abused?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, the need to take legal action to protect yourself is critical. As many cases of spousal abuse or child abuse continue to escalate, the danger increases. Jason White & Associates can assist you in getting a restraining order and will move forward immediately to help you get this protection. For your safety, call today for immediate consultation and help filing court documents.
Why Choose Jason White & Associates?
- Our ability to navigate sensitive family disputes and complex legal issues in order to reach settlement agreements.
- Our efforts to prevent expensive legal battles and excessive legal fees.
- Our concern and empathy for every client.
- Our local knowledge of resources and judges in the Fourth District Court system in Utah County.