Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Salt Lake City Family Law Blog

Understand the difference between open and closed adoptions

Not that long ago, many adoptions occurred as closed legal proceedings. This is to say that when a Utah couple elected to adopt a child, they did so without learning the identities of the child's birth parents or any other identifying information about them. Closed adoptions involve closed files that often cannot be opened, even if the children subject to the adoptions wish to view their contents. Today, many international adoptions are still managed as closed processes.

Now, in the United States, it is much more common for an adoption to be open. Birth parents who choose to place their children in other homes and who decide to relinquish their parental rights are often involved in the decision of where their kids will go. They may interview prospective adoptive parents before their babies come into the world and may, after giving up their parental rights, stay involved in the lives of the children.

Reality star separates from husband

Utah fans of the TLC program, "Long Island Medium" may be sad to learn that the show's star, Theresa Caputo, has filed for legal separation from her husband. Caputo and her husband have been married for 28 years and share two children. It is unknown if the pair will eventually file for divorce.

In Salt Lake City, individuals also have the option to file for legal separation, instead of divorce. A legal separation leaves a couple still married, but allows them to work on the custodial and financial matters that they would need to address in divorce. When a resident files for legal separation, the separation order is good for one year, and it may either expire on its own, or the couple may terminate when the couple secures a divorce.

How do I start the stepparent adoption process?

It is important that readers of this Salt Lake City family law blog know that every case, whether it concerns a divorce, prenuptial agreement or adoption, will follow its own course based on the facts related to its occurrence. For this reason individuals with questions about the stepparent adoption process are asked to speak with their legal advisers about how the procedure will proceed for them.

However, there are several basic requirements for stepparent adoption that apply in practically all cases, and those general issues will be discussed herein. First, in order for a stepparent adoption to occur a child's noncustodial biological parent must terminate their parental rights to the child.

Discuss divorce options with a dedicated attorney

During the holidays, it is common for Utah residents to spend their time with their families. It is a chance for adults to take time away from their professional responsibilities and for kids to enjoy a few weeks of uninterrupted time away from school. For many families, the holidays offer an opportunity for individuals to reflect on the joys of the past year and to look forward to the future.

Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for individuals to feel the burdens of relationship struggles acutely during the winter holiday season. It can be difficult to celebrate with the ones they love when people cannot work through conflicts and challenges with their marital partners. For some, the holidays are a time when marital discord becomes evident and options for resolving familial strife must be investigated.

A review of Utah's grounds for divorce

Any person who chooses to end their marriage may have their own rationale for why they believe that their life will be better as a single person. However, to secure a divorce, a person must alleged that their grounds for divorce fit into those accepted by the courts. In Utah, a person may base their divorce on one of two no fault grounds, or one of eight separate fault-based grounds.

The first no fault grounds for divorce is a claim of irreconcilable differences. This is the broadest basis for ending a marriage that courts recognize and may be used by individuals who do not have a fault grounds or who prefer not to allege fault. The second no fault grounds for divorce is a legal separation between two people who have not lived in the same home for at least three years.

Understanding when a child support modification may be possible

Parents may find over the course of their child's childhood that they need to modify a child custody or child support order. Parents should be aware that just because they have changed jobs, their child support does not also immediately change based on their new salary. The family law process provides resources to help parents seek a child support modification when needed.

Both the paying parent and the custodial parent receiving child support can request a child support modification. If the paying parent changes jobs and has substantially less earnings, they may request a child support modification. Likewise, if the parent begins earning a higher salary, the custodial parent may request a child support modification to increase the amount of child support received. A change in income may warrant a child support modification.

Utah girl overjoyed when she learns of her adoption

Adoption can be a long and challenging process for all of the parties involved. It can also be a tremendously rewarding process. An 11-year old girl in Utah was recently overjoyed when she learned of her adoption. The girl, along with her two younger siblings, were recently adopted by their foster parents. After the family law court judge approved the foster parents' adoption of the 11-year old girl and her two siblings, the girl noted it was the best thing that had ever happened to her.

Adoption is an important aspect of the family law system and family law resources are available to help children and families regardless of what type of adoption process they are considering. The process can sometimes feel complex, confusing and emotional which is why family law resources are available to help guide potential parents considering adoption, and children, through the adoption process in Utah.

What can a prenuptial agreement do?

Sometimes prenuptial agreements are regarded as something for the wealthy or for those marrying for the second time or with children. While it is true prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for individuals and couples in those circumstances, prenuptial agreements can offer benefits for individuals in any circumstances. Couples considering one may wonder what prenuptial agreements do. Prenuptial agreements provide legal protections in circumstances of death and divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can address a variety of issues important to a couple entering marriage. It can address division of property should the couple divorce and also address what assets are considered marital property and will be divided and what assets are considered separate property and are not subject to division. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, state laws will control property division concerns in the event the couple divorces.

Child custody visitation schedules should be well thought out

Child custody and child visitation can be one of the most important aspects of any divorce. Child custody and visitation agreements, of course, have an impact on the relationship the parents have with their children which is why it is important for it to be carefully considered. The family law system seeks to help couples reach a divorce settlement that is best for their futures and in the best interests of their children following divorce which is why child custody is an important long-term consideration for both parents and children.

An effective visitation schedule will look as far ahead into the future as possible. It is important for divorcing parents to evaluate their present needs, as well as consider future needs when negotiating a child custody agreement and visitation arrangement. Though child custody changes may be possible, they do not have to be granted by the court and may not be agreed to by the parents down the road to it is important to think as far ahead as possible when developing a visitation plan.

Steps in the Utah divorce process

The decision to divorce can be an overwhelming one, as couples contemplate a different future than the one they may have planned. The family law process provides important resources to help divorcing couples navigate both their divorce and the future following divorce. The divorce process begins when the spouse petitioning for the divorce files the necessary documents to initiate the divorce process.

The documents are then served on the other spouse who then responds with an answer to the divorce petition filed by the other spouse. The responding party has 21 days if served in Utah and 30 days if served outside of Utah to respond. In Utah, there is a 90-day waiting period for a divorce which may be waived in extraordinary circumstances. Once the petition for divorce has been filed, several things can happen.

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