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”.

Enforcing Grandparent Visitation with Contempt of Court

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.

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 Divorce

In 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.

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 restrain the parties from taking funds out of any of their assets except for checking accounts.  This prohibits the parties from dipping into retirement, savings or anything else to finance their divorce.  This can seriously disadvantage the party who did not plan for the divorce.  One party has all their ducks in a row and the other is unable to afford their attorney.

There are very few good solutions for this problem.  An attorney can file a motion for attorney fees, but the attorney fees are not awarded often enough to address the problem or equalize the parties’ financial power, and when the fees are awarded, the awards are often minimal compared to the need.

When people think divorce is coming, they are often afraid to financially prepare themselves for the divorce, because they are afraid that taking the money will hasten the divorce itself.  That may or may not be true.  Each client is in the best position to judge their own spouse’s potential reaction.  However, when a client believes divorce is coming, they need to understand that a temporary restraining order is coming as well, and it may take a while to get to agreement, if agreement can be reached.  By failing to prepare for divorce, and for the temporary restraining order that will soon be limiting their access to their assets, people facing divorce are taking a risk of being the disadvantaged party throughout the entire divorce.

Free Initial Consultation with a Family Lawyer

When you need help from a Utah Lawyer, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

Recent Posts

Salt Lake County Divorce Attorney

Commingled Property

Utah Real Estate Lawyers

Business Lawyers

Criminal Lawyer

Divorce Lawyer

Source: http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/enforcing-grandparent-visitation-with-contempt-of-court/


Salt Lake County Divorce Attorney

You cannot have one attorney represent both husband and wife in a divorce.  It is a conflict of interest.  If an attorney represented two parties in a dissolution, divorce, annulment or legal separation, he or she would be subject to discipline for ethical violations.  Attorneys know this or should know this.  If you think both you and your spouse are being represented by the same attorney, think again.  Ask yourself this – who signed a fee agreement with the Attorney?  That person is the client.  That is the ONLY person an attorney is representing.

A Divorce Lawyer Knows

Attorneys generally try to be pretty clear about this, but unfortunately, sometimes people believe their spouse rather than what the attorney says.  Even though an unrepresented party in an Utah dissolution must sign an acknowledgement saying that the attorney represents only their spouse and not both parties, sometimes people believe that the acknowledgment is “just paperwork”.  It’s not just paperwork, it’s real, and I can tell you, as a Utah divorce attorney we want things done right. If there is only one attorney involved and you did not sign a fee agreement with that attorney, then you do not have an attorney and your spouse is the only person getting legal advice about his or her best interest.  You are entitled to represent yourself in a dissolution.  Each spouse can have their own attorney, each spouse can choose not to get an attorney, or one spouse can hire an attorney, but in Utah you cannot have one attorney representing both spouses in a dissolution, divorce, legal separation or annulment.  For more information about deciding whether or not you need an attorney to handle your divorce.

Salt Lake County Divorce Attorney

Grounds for Divorce. There must be grounds for dissolution, just like divorce.  Generally, people agree to the “no-fault” ground of incompatibility.  There are 8 grounds for ending a marriage in Utah, but once parties start going down the blame path things generally start to disintegrate.

Is either spouse going to pay spousal support to the other? Spousal support is a touchy subject.  Nobody likes being court ordered to pay spousal support.  But when reaching agreement on this issue, the sensible approach is to look at what a judge would decide if the parties cannot agree.  To learn more about spousal support, or alimony, in Utah.

If spousal support is going to be paid

  • How much spousal support will be paid per month?
  • Have the parties planned for the tax effect of spousal support?
  • How long will spousal support (or alimony) be paid?
  • Under what conditions will spousal support stop?
    • Death of the recipient only (payable by the estate)?
    • Death of either party?
    • Remarriage of the recipient?
    • Cohabitation of the recipient?
    • Expiration of the period of years?
  • Will spousal support obligations be insured with a life insurance policy?
  • If life insurance is to insure the obligations, who will pay for the life insurance?
  • If the parties have no children and no child support is being paid, spousal support can be paid, but is not required to be paid, directly to the recipient.  Will spousal support be paid through wage withholding or directly to the recipient?
  • Is the amount of spousal support that will be received set out in a Prenuptial Agreement (aka Antenuptial Agreement, or “prenup”)?
  • If a Prenuptial Agreement dictates how much spousal support will be paid, or how much spousal support will be paid, is that amount still fair in light of the parties’ current circumstances? (The keyword here is unconscionable – and whether the amount is unconscionable is determined based on the parties’ circumstances at the time the marriage ends, not the time the marriage begins).


  • Health Insurance:
  • If health insurance is provided through one spouse’s employer, are COBRA benefits available to allow the other spouse to keep their health insurance?
  • If COBRA is available, how much does it cost?
  • Is either spouse going to seek COBRA coverage?  If so, who will pay for it?
  • If COBRA coverage is not available, does the spouse who will be losing coverage have health insurance available through his or her employer?
  • If private health insurance is necessary for the spouse losing coverage, how much does it cost?
  • If the parties have children, who will provide health insurance for the children after the dissolution?
  • What percentage of co-pays and other costs for the children’s medical care which are not covered by insurance will each parent pay?
  • Are medical care expenses going to include dental, psychological, counseling and other expenses?

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

Recent Posts

Commingled Property

Utah Family Lawyer on Moving

Securities Lawyer

Copyright Lawyer

MLM Lawyer

Intellectual Property Lawyer

Source: http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/salt-lake-county-divorce-attorney/

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.

Commingled Property

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 Utah

The 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.

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.

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 not marital property.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Utah Family Lawyer on Moving

In situations where court ordered parenting time has been established, and the residential parent wants to move, pursuant to Utah law, the other parent is entitled to notice of the move and, if requested or ordered by the court, a hearing.  These notice provisions apply REGARDLESS of whether the non-residential or non-moving parent contests the move. As a relocation lawyer, I’ve seen parents make mistakes in doing this before, which can require a big problem for them.

Utah Family Lawyer on Moving

A parent has a fundamental right to live where he or she wants to live, BUT they do not have a fundamental right to permanently relocate the child in violation of the Utah Revised Code or the parties’ court order.

Depending on the language of your court order and/or the language in the Local Rules of the court who issued the order, simply moving a certain distance away MAY automatically trigger a change in custody, shared parenting, school placement parent, parenting time or other provisions of  your parenting order.

Utah law, case law and the code  requires a court to consider whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state when determining the best interest of the child.

In addition, pursuant to Utah law when determining whether shared parenting is still in the best interest of the child the court must consider,

  • The geographic proximity of the parents to each other, as the proximity relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting;

Utah laws requires a court to consider

  • The geographical location of the residence of each parent and the distance between those residences, and if the person is not a parent, the geographical location of that person’s residence and the distance between that person’s residence and the child’s residence;
  • Whether either parent has established a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside this state;

Sometimes parents want to move for legitimate reasons, and sometimes they want to move to thwart the other parent’s access to the child.  Regardless of the reason for the move, if the move creates additional distance between the child and the other parent, the move IS going to have an impact on the parenting time of the non-moving parent.  The question is, how much of an impact, and does the non-moving parent object?

If the non-moving parent believes that the impact upon their parenting time and relationship with the child is significant, he or she may wish to modify custody, shared parenting, or the school placement parent in a shared parenting plan.  At a minimum, the parties will need to consider whether a new parenting time schedule is appropriate.

Can you sue for a broken heart?

Did you have a change of heart and leave your fiancé at the altar? If so, be glad that you are in Utah where “heart balm actions” have been abolished.  Many years ago there was the Heart Balm Statute, which says that no person shall be liable for civil damages in the following types of cases:

  • breach of a promise to marry
  • alienation of affections
  • criminal conversation

Later cases have generally found that the following types of actions are also abolished under the statute, at least when it relates to civil damages for a failed relationship or a person wronged in a relationship:

  • enticement
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • fraud
  • negligence

Although some states will still allow heart balm actions, Utah does not.  You cannot sue the person who stole your spouse away from you for money damages, and you cannot sue your spouse for money damages in a civil case for cheating on you.  Generally, you cannot successfully sue your fiancé for leaving you at the altar, even if you had already spent a lot of money on the wedding.

Be sure to also take a look at our article about returning the wedding ring after a broken engagement in Utah.

There is no broken heart law in Utah.

Free Consultation with Family Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to relocate to another state, call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Utah Father’s Rights Attorney

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?

Utah Father's Rights Attorney

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 childwhen 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 shownmay make a temporary order regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child while the action is pending.

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:



  • 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 counterclaim for parental rights and responsibilities.


To establish an Utah Father’s Rights to temporary visitation or custody, the Father, or his Utah Father’s Rights Attorney, should request temporary orders pursuant to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure in his Complaint, or his Answer to the Mother’s Complaint, if the Mother filed the Complaint.  In the alternative, the Father can seek his Utah Father’s Rights by filing a motion.  It is unclear from the statute whether his Motion must be served with his Complaint, Answer or Counterclaim, but it is the better practice to file the Motion at the outset of the case.  In addition, sometimes a request tucked at the end of a Complaint Answer or Counterclaim escapes the notice of the court at the initial hearing, but a Motion which is pending on the Court’s Docket is more likely to be noticed and addressed at the first hearing.

Something that is important to note is that if child support is not yet established, but paternity is established (perhaps through an Affidavit signed at the child’s birth which allows the Father’s name to be on the child’s birth certificate), Utah judges and magistrates almost always establish a temporary order of child support.  If the father, or his attorney, has not already filed a Motion for Temporary Orders or requested temporary orders in his complaint, this would be a great time to point out that Utah law allows the following:

Whenever a court issues a child support order, it shall include in the order specific provisions for regular, holiday, vacation, parenting time, and special visitation in accordance with the sections of the Utah Code or in accordance with any other applicable section of Utah law.

Free Consultation with a Utah Father’s Rights Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to protect or enforce your rights, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Business Lawyers in Utah for Gold and Silver

“Shafting” the IRS is the verbiage used in the article in Forbes, not ours, though who hasn’t dreamed of evading, er, we mean finding loopholes in taxes at least once in their lives? Well, now the secret is out, thanks to writer Brian Domitrovic, who may be onto something. Obligatory disclosure: he’s not a tax lawyer. Interestingly, he cites a 2011 law that was passed in Utah “banning taxes on the use of gold and silver coins as currency and permitting residents to remit taxes in these coins.” Apparently Oklahoma recently did something similar. But before business lawyers in Utah as well as entrepreneurs and wealth management specialists across the Beehive State dismiss this small bit of legislation as trivial, Domitrovic points out that transacting in gold can save you tons on taxes.

Business Lawyers in Utah for Gold and Silver

Maybe not literally tons, and almost certainly not tons of gold, whose current market value is something like $1,267 per ounce. So here’s the first thing: gold’s official Treasury price is $42.22 per ounce, meaning that some savvy individuals or companies who leverage the legal know-how of their business lawyers in Utah could be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on taxes each year if they worked in gold. So, Business lawyers in Utah may be called on in greater demand for transacting in gold because it can shaft the IRS.

But hold on a minute, some of you astute readers of legal news might say. What about the “federal law” that requires you to “declare as taxable the gain on any market appreciation of the gold you use to make purchases”? Well, that’s the other thing: it’s a “federal law” in quotation marks. It’s not a real law. It’s what Dimitrovic calls “administrative law,” which is basically an idea that the Internal Review Service came up with and tossed back and forth in a series of emails (8,000 pages worth, as discovered under the Freedom of Information Act) and said “okay, we’re doing this requirement of market appreciation on gold thing.” How enforceable is administrative law? You’d have to ask your business lawyers in Utah: legal counsel isn’t superseded by Dimitrovic’s blog-based advice.

Just think about it, though: if enough people get together and decide to make transactions in gold, “somebody might clear, for example, $3,000 in gold income a year, or $90,000 if translated into paper dollars.” And given Utah’s 2011 statute, even the most experienced business lawyers in Utah would be hard pressed to disagree that everything with that plan seems above board. And when you’re only paying taxes on $3,000, why wouldn’t you get on board with this idea?

Part of the problem is finding enough people to get together to decide to make the transactions in gold. If the gold movement does get traction though, “it could have the effect of requiring business in this country to cut their taxation costs by arbitraging the gold-note dollar spread that the United States has allowed to emerge over the past century of serious inflation.” Gold has the potential, like Bitcoin to stick it to the man (i.e. the IRS), with the added bonus of being constitutionally protected since 1787 and time tested through copious amounts of litigation in the 19th century. Pony, up, people; together we can “shaft the IRS.”

Free Consultation with a Utah Business Lawyer

If 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.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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.  

Financial Misconduct in Utah Divorce Cases

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. 

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;

(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 Prohibited

The 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 Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506