Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Supreme Court's ruling impacts Utah's divorce laws

Change is a part of life for every Salt Lake City resident. The same is true with the legal system, as laws change virtually every day. These changes in the law can have a profound impact on Salt Lake City residents, including in family law cases.

Take, for example, the recent case decided by the United States Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage across the nation. Utah Governor Gary Herbert recently recognized that the ruling could result in some uncertainty in the state, as a number of state statutes and laws may need to be updated in accordance with the decision.

For instance, a recent change made by the Utah Tax Commission allows same-sex couples to file joint tax returns. Laws regarding same-sex couples' rights to be foster parents and adopt children have also undergone changes in the past.

There are also laws that may need to be updated in the area of divorce. Obviously, with more individuals now eligible to be married, many of these individuals may also experience the end of a marriage and encounter the state's divorce and property division laws. The same issues involved in other divorces will likely be at issue in these new divorce matters, including issues of property division, alimony and child custody.

Typically, the law in effect at the time of the divorce will control the property division issues. Accordingly, a change in the law can have a big impact when it is made prior to the couple filing for divorce.

However, the new laws will likely take some time to update. In the meantime, those who are interested in obtaining a divorce should understand the current laws, as well as any changes to the law that may impact their case.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah guv: Gay marriage issues will take time to work through," Robert Gehrke, July 8, 2015

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