Avoiding a Contentious Divorce

Avoiding a Contentious Divorce

It can be a harrowing experience to bring up the idea of divorce with your spouse. At some point, if you believe divorce is imminent, the conversation is going to have to happen. However, there are certain things you should never do or say during this conversation, as it could hurt you later on.

The following are a few examples:

  • Never make promises about your assets: Avoid promising to leave the home and move elsewhere, or make promises about certain pieces of property you have. Breaking these promises — or making promises you never intended to keep — could come back to haunt you. Only discuss these specifics with your divorce attorney.
  • Never discuss value of specific property: No matter the type of item, you should never offer opinions as to what a specific piece of property is worth. There are many complications that could arise if you do so. Instead, a lawyer will help you get objective appraisals of the value of your property.
  • Never discuss child custody or visitation: Regardless of what you want to happen regarding child custody after your divorce, you should never attempt to discuss this issue during the initial divorce conversation. These decisions are best made by a judge or in formal negotiations in the presence of your attorneys and a trained mediator.
  • Don’t let your emotions get the best of you: This is much easier said than done, as the conversation is likely to be emotional in nature. It can be tempting to hurl insults or yell, but keeping your cool will prevent your spouse from being able to claim you are emotionally unstable and/or unfit to have custody of your kids.
  • Don’t say anything on social media: Keep everything related to your divorce off social media. In fact, consider avoiding social media as much as possible during your divorce, as even innocuous posts could be taken out of context by your spouse’s legal team to be used against you. You can temporarily disable your accounts until your divorce is finalized.

How You Can Navigate a Contentious Divorce

Divorce can be a complex legal process commonly wrought with emotional and financial stresses. Ideally, you would be able to negotiate a divorce settlement quickly and easily, but unfortunately that’s not always possible.

If you have reason to believe your upcoming divorce will be contentious in nature, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get through the process as efficiently as possible.

Always Take the High Road in Divorce

First, be sure to avoid responding to threats — as this is exactly what your ex-spouse wants you to do. If threats become severe or harassing, reach out to the police and have law enforcement officers deal with it rather than responding.

You should also establish a no-contact rule, except for email. You are more likely to react to verbal screaming and insults than you are text-based communication. Plus, through text, you always have a record of what your spouse is saying. If he or she acts abusive in an email, it will reflect poorly on him or her in court.

Rely on your Divorce Lawyer For Help

Don’t be hesitant to have your attorney serve as your intermediary. This can be the best way to navigate a contentious divorce, as it allows you to remove yourself — to some degree — from the emotional stresses of the divorce. Be sure to hire a divorce attorney who is patient and who will answer your questions and address your concerns quickly.

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 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

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Source: https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/avoiding-a-contentious-divorce/


Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

Whether you have a higher net worth or are in a high-liability profession, a domestic asset protection trust can help protect you and your family from lawsuits. If you wish to stop the claims of future creditors and litigators, we can help you. There are several ways to protect your assets, from gifting to family members and charities to paying for certain Medicare costs up front. Setting up a trust, however, is one of the most effective strategies.

Asset Protection Trusts and Other Trusts

Types of trusts include:

  • Revocable Trusts: These do not provide protection from creditors. Since the person who created the trust can amend it, that person’s creditors can also reach the trust’s assets.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: When a trust is created by someone other than the trust beneficiary, assets can be shielded from creditors. There are certain exceptions to this, however, such as government entities and individuals to whom are owed child support payments. Unless a trust is a self-settled irrevocable trust, it will only provide minimal protection.

We’ve talked about asset protection and asset protection trusts here, here, here, and here.


In May 2013, Utah established a new self-settled domestic asset protection trust statute. This law provides a great degree of protection: as long as a person creates and funds an irrevocable trust with his/her assets and meets the requirements of the statute. When these are met:

  • The person’s future creditors will not be able to attach the trust property
  • They will not be able to force distributions from the trust to the trust’s creator
  • They will not be able to require the trustees to pay directly to the creditor distributions that would otherwise be made to the trust’s creator


Whether one of these new trusts is right for you depends on the size of your estate and your personal wishes. We listen to each client and create custom plans for asset protection. For example, your life insurance and retirement plans might already have sufficient asset protection in place, but other assets may be at risk. We can help set up special trusts, corporations and limited liability companies to protect you.

Salt Lake City Pet Trust Lawyer

Your pets have their own favorite foods, toys, playtime activities, medicines, and other specific health care needs. A pet trust allows you to specify with exactness how your pets will be cared for in your absence. They can get the veterinary care they need, at the veterinarian they are accustomed to, through directives you make in your pet trust. They can be ensured of daily exercise, proper boarding, as well as any other needs they have come to appreciate as being part of your loving family. Sure, you could informally ask your friends or heirs to take care of your pets after your death or if you become disabled. Sadly, the pounds receive many such animals, as those agreements are not enforceable and leave far too much to chance. Your pets mean too much to leave their futures so uncertain. Call us about a pet trust and make sure all of your family is cared for.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is a legally-enforceable document that ensures your pets are properly cared for in the event of your death or disability. Under Utah law, a trust can be created that provides for all of your pets and other domestic animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, and birds. When a trust is created, funds are set aside to provide for your animals’ on-going maintenance and care in the event of your incapacity or death. A trustee that you appoint is charged with managing those funds and may legally use them solely for the proper care of your animals, and no other purpose. A pet trust is the only sure way of providing for the continued care of your animals after your death or even if you simply become incapable of taking care of them.

Benefits of Having a Pet Trust

Many people think a will is sufficient. But it is not. Money left for animal care might be contested by heirs. A trust avoids this possibility entirely, by giving you complete control over the designated assets both during incapacity and after death. Wills are subject to court processes and may result in undesired consequences, but a trust is not: it puts you in control by doing what you want, when you want, and keeps you out of court entirely.

Through a pet trust, you can designate not only how the funds are used, but how the funds can be invested and grown over time, to continue providing care and then, following the passing of your pets, to provide for a charitable gift to a charity of your choosing (perhaps animal related, if you like). The amount you set aside can be determined according to your own animals’ needs, such as what kind of animals they are and how many, the type of boarding they need, and medical care they might require as they age.

How Seniors Can Protect Their Pets

Studies have shown that seniors live longer, healthier, more content lives when they have a companion animal. But often seniors are worried about what will happen to their animals when they pass on. Pet trusts make it possible to continue to let your pets know how much they are loved and how much happiness they have brought into your life. With a pet trust, you can rest assured knowing that your companion animals will not be left to fate after your death or incapacity.

Free Initial Consultation with an Asset Protection Lawyer

When it’s time to protect your assets, 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

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Source: https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/domestic-asset-protection-trusts/

Family Home in Divorce

Family Home in Divorce

Here at Ascent Law, we’ve found that establishing separate living arrangements — including custody of the family home — is one of the most immediate concerns in divorces.  And since the home is often the couple’s most valuable marital asset, it also represents a significant property issue. This is something that you should speak with a family lawyer about right away if you are thinking about getting divorced.

For now, how do I get my spouse to leave so I can stay in or return to my home?

If you own a home together (or if both names on a rental lease), you can request a court order giving you exclusive occupancy of the marital residence while the divorce is in process. The judge is most likely to give occupancy to the party who needs it most — the person who is the primary caretaker of the children, for example, or the person who is least able to afford another place to live.

Will I end up having to leave my home?

If you and your spouse have a settlement agreement establishing the terms of the divorce – or an existing legal separation agreement – the home will likely be awarded accordingly. Otherwise, it’s up to the court to divide marital property, presumed to include your home, according to Utah’s Equitable Distribution Law.

The judge will want to establish the home’s value, the balance on the mortgage and the taxes. Each spouse’s probable future financial circumstances will be examined, including whether each has the resources to maintain the home independently.

The court may order that the home be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. This process can be delayed until a future date – for instance, after the children have graduated from high school.

Important Things to Know About Taxes After Divorce

One of the most important tasks to complete when going through a divorce is planning for your financial future. A part of this is determining your tax outlook after the divorce is finalized. If you live in Utah, or if you’ve been in Salt Lake County for more than 3 months and are thinking about divorce, make sure you call a divorce lawyer in Salt Lake City Utah for help with your situation.

Paying taxes is always at least somewhat complicated, but a divorce can make matters even more difficult. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, you will be able to navigate your taxes after your divorce without a problem. Below are a few issues you will need to consider:

Filing status in Divorce

If your marriage has not officially ended, you may file your taxes in several ways. These include “married filing jointly,” “married filing separately” or, in some cases, “head of household.”

You’re considered “married” or “divorced” based on your marital status on the final day of the calendar year. If you were single as of December 31, you were considered single for the entire tax year. If you are divorcing (but still married) as of December 31, you may file your taxes as married. This is typically the best option for both parties, as it offers the biggest tax breaks.

Exemptions in Divorce

If you have children, it might be helpful to file as the head of the household if you are the custodial parent. This offers you lower tax rates and allows you to claim your children as dependents.

Property ownership and Divorce

If you own joint property, you might wonder who is responsible for paying taxes on it. Any income from joint property is kept by the person who ends up with the asset, and so that person must also pay the associated taxes.

Deductions in Divorce

Legal fees connected to a divorce are not deductible — and neither are child support payments. However, alimony payments are deductible for the payer and taxable to the recipient, under certain conditions.

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

Reasons People Get Divorced

Divorce can occur suddenly or over the course of many years. I’ve seen it time and again as a divorce lawyer. Some couples decide that it is time to call it quits after many years. Other couples part ways after a few short weeks.

Reasons People Get Divorced

Every divorce case is different. The following list explains some of the most common reasons that people divorce:

  • Infidelity. Some couples manage to get over an instance of infidelity. Others never recover from the break in trust.
  • Communication breakdown. Many marriages end simply because of poor communication.
  • Financial issues. Unfortunately, for spouses throughout the country, love is not enough. Numerous marriages end because of financial difficulty.
  • Sexual incompatibility. A number of marriages end because a couple does not discover until after they are married that they are sexually incompatible.
  • Cultural or religious differences. Such differences can eat away at a marriage until a couple ultimately needs to separate.
  • Lack of children. Some people get married and expect to immediately have children. However, when conception is not possible for whatever reason, they file divorce papers.
  • Substance abuse. When one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, the chances of divorce increase substantially.
  • Difference in priorities. In some cases, a marriage may end because one spouse has certain priorities and expectations in life that conflict with those of the other spouse.

Couples get divorced for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes even the couple does not know exactly why their marriage did not work out. But whatever the reason for your divorce, you can benefit from experienced, aggressive legal representation.

How to Recover from Divorce

The time period after a divorce can be very stressful. Although you are likely going to be focused on all the logistics of starting off on a new path by yourself and helping your children cope with the major change in their lives, it’s important to take some time for yourself so you can heal emotionally.

The following are a few tips to help you recover from the stress of a divorce:

  • Let it all out. It’s completely normal to mourn. Divorce is a difficult process, and you cannot truly recover from it before you have given yourself space to do so. Embracing the grieving process helps you to avoid bringing baggage into your life and future relationships.
  • Explore your interests. Spend some time rediscovering who you are as a person. Reserve time to explore your interests and get involved in things that spark your passions. The best way to get started is to ask yourself what you enjoyed doing by yourself before you were married.
  • Do not rush into new relationships. Many recently divorced people want to get into a new relationship as quickly as possible. But by spending time alone and taking it slow in regard to new relationships, you are able to become more comfortable with yourself and more ready to engage with someone new.
  • Spend time with your children. Make sure your children are also recovering from the divorce in a healthy, positive way. Spend time with them, but do not lean on them as friends or confidants. Just make sure they know they are loved and that you are still going to be there for them.

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

Proving Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is the term for one parent’s intentional or unconscious behavior that encourages the child to reject the other parent. Alienating behavior includes subtle physical or verbal clues as well as overt actions and candid statements that punish the child for maintaining a positive relationship or reward the child for rejecting the targeted parent. Alienating behavior is most problematic when practiced by a custodial parent who has the child for a greater amount of time and can induce the child to cancel visitation sessions, cutting off access for the noncustodial parent.

Proving Parental Alienation

You might be the victim of parental alienation if:

  • Your child no longer seems to enjoy doing favorite activities.
  • Your child is moody and won’t give you any explanation why.
  • Your child complains of not feeling well when you are together.
  • Your child finds excuses to cut your parenting time short.
  • Your ex cancels parenting time because your child is not “in the mood.”

Of course, all of these signs could simply indicate that your child is an adolescent. So how can you prove parental alienation in court? Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Hire an attorney who understands how parental alienation works and has secured remedies for alienation from the court.
  • Document every detail of your interactions with your ex and your child that indicates alienation might be at work. Be specific in your account.
  • Don’t try to make your child out to be a victim of parental alienation syndrome. That won’t fly in Utah courts. Keep the focus on your ex’s manipulative behavior.
  • Don’t play defense. You have a visitation order and it’s the custodial parent’s duty to make your child available to you.

Many targeted parents want to show the court how reasonable they can be, so they don’t fight back hard enough. That can lead the court to decide that it’s the targeted parent who is dragging out the proceedings to the detriment of the children. So, in the best interest of the children, the targeted parent has visitation restricted or denied.

Name Changes in Utah

If you took the name of your spouse when you married, you can now choose to keep your current name or resume your former surname when you divorce. You might decide to retain your married name for a variety of reasons, such as maintaining consistency with your children or keeping your professional and social contacts. Conversely, reclaiming your former name can signify a new beginning or a return to your roots. The decision is entirely yours — your spouse has no say in the matter.

Utah Name Change Process

To resume your surname, you can request the change in your final divorce decree. The court does not charge any additional fees when the name change is conducted during your divorce proceedings. You can still change your name after your divorce is finalized by filing a petition with the court for a fee. The judge may ask you whether you owe child or spousal support, have been convicted of a crime, filed for bankruptcy, have judgments or liens recorded against you or are involved in a lawsuit. If your answer is yes to one of these questions, the judge may conduct further inquiry to ensure your name change does not adversely affect other people’s rights.

An order that indicates your name does not automatically trigger changes to other important documents. You must apply to the appropriate agencies and organizations to update the information on your:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Green card
  • Professional license
  • Income tax documents
  • Human resources documents
  • Health insurance policy
  • Auto insurance policy
  • Retirement funds
  • Bank accounts

Utah Name Change Law waives fees typically assessed by the state on applications to change a surname on a license, permit, registration and other documents if the request is based on a marriage or divorce. However, you might be charged by private companies, professional organizations or the federal agencies for documents they issue.

Free Initial Consultation with Utah Lawyers

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, 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

Securities Fraud Lawyer

As a Utah Securities lawyer, I’ve seen how investors work with a financial adviser or stockbroker because they feel their finances are in good hands. But many advisers abuse their position as fiduciaries to increase their own profits at their clients’ expense.

Securities Fraud Lawyer

With your investments and savings on the line, you should choose a securities arbitration attorney with the requisite experience and securities industry knowledge needed to combat the brokerage firm’s “hired gun” lawyers.

Lawyers for Security Fraud Cases

Securities regulations revolve around the “fiduciary duty” that advisers and brokerage firms owe their clients. This duty arises out of financial professionals’ superior financial knowledge compared to the average investor, and the resulting potential for abuse. A fiduciary duty requires advisers to act in their client’s best interests.

Investors may not know it, but in most cases they sign away their right to a trial by jury when they open an account for a securities firm’s brokerage services. Instead, securities firms will typically require their customers to agree to arbitrate any issues before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

FINRA is a self-regulatory organization responsible for promoting securities market integrity and resolving disputes between public investors, member firms, and firm employees. At the end of an arbitration proceeding, an arbitration panel issues a binding decision, which may include a monetary award to the investor as compensation for any investment losses resulting from broker misconduct. Arbitration awards are difficult to appeal, providing aggrieved investors comfort from the long, protracted process often present in typical court proceedings. The Utah Department of Consumer Protection as well as the Utah Securities Division of the State are agencies we work with as well as securities law firms

FINRA arbitration usually takes a little over one year from the time the claim is filed until a decision is reached. Importantly, FINRA requires a claim to be filed within 6 years from the time the alleged misconduct occurred, and oftentimes even sooner.

Common Types of Investment Fraud

Some investment schemes are outright scams.

I’m telling you this because I’ve seen all sorts of scams because I’m a securities lawyer in Salt Lake City Utah. If you did this enough, you’d see it too. I wish I was kidding. I’m not. Other investments are legitimate but present risks that may not be appropriate for all investors, or are not explained fully to the investor at the time of purchase. Under no circumstances may an adviser sell investments that are not offered by the brokerage firm they work for. Adviser conflicts-of-interest should also be disclosed.

Utah Attorneys at Ascent Law help investors recoup financial losses from fraudulent investment schemes involving many types of products, including:

  • Structured Products
  • Variable Annuities
  • Oil and Gas Limited Partnerships
  • Hedge Funds
  • Precious Metals Fraud
  • Private Placements
  • Junk Bonds
  • Ponzi Schemes


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires that securities firms adequately supervise their brokers to prevent securities law violations.

Investors who lose money as a result of broker misconduct may be able to file a claim for investment losses against the brokerage firm for failure to supervise.


FINRA has three rules addressing brokerage firm supervision. These rules generally require firms to perform:

  • Pre-hire broker screening
  • Broker training
  • Broker-investor transaction oversight

At the time a broker is hired, the brokerage firm should look into the agent’s background for any red flags, such as prior misconduct or disciplinary history.

In 2017, FINRA announced that it would emphasize firms’ hiring and monitoring of high-risk and recidivist brokers. Firms may be required to employ extra vigilance when supervising brokers with a spotty track record—and could be held to a higher supervisory standard if a high-risk/recidivist broker engages in misconduct. Research shows that almost half of advisers who are fired for misconduct are reemployed in finance within a year.

Firms must also ensure that new hires are licensed to sell securities and are current on training, including sales and product training and education in administrative procedures and federal securities compliance regulations. Training should include continuing education in FINRA rules compliance.

In addition, broker-client communications and transactions should be monitored. Firms, for example, should identify and investigate suspicious activity such as:

  • Unsuitable investments
  • Overconcentration
  • Selling away
  • Not providing accurate information to an investor
  • Failure to report securities transactions


It is not enough for firms to simply put in place procedures that can detect broker improprieties. Firms also must have an adequate system for implementing and enforcing their supervisory policies.

FINRA allows some discretion when it comes to supervisory policies and controls, but firms are required to have:

  • Written supervisory procedures
  • Internal inspections
  • Reviews of internal firm communications, customer complaints, and securities transactions
  • Annual compliance reports

Free Consultation with a Utah Securities Attorney

If you are here, you probably have a securities law issue you need help with, 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

Factors of an Invalid Prenup

As a Prenup Lawyer in Salt Lake City, we’ve discussed how important a prenup is and although U.S. divorce rates have been in decline in the new millennium, many people still find it advisable or beneficial to create prenuptial agreements that protect their interests and assets in case a divorce happens. It’s true that prenups can be useful agreements to protect people from the harmful fallout of a divorce. However, certain elements of a prenup could lead to the agreement being invalidated by the courts.

The following are a few of the factors that could lead to an invalidated prenup:

Factors of an Invalid Prenup

Fraud will Invalidate a Prenup

All legal contracts have an implied “good faith” requirement, and both sides must honestly represent their positions when entering the agreement. With a prenup, this means a full, honest disclosure of all assets owned upon entering the marriage.

Negotiation of a prenup includes determining what happens to all current and future assets and earnings. A failure to accurately disclose current assets or the values of these assets could be considered fraud. This could lead to a judge invalidating the entire agreement.

Coercion will Invalidate a Prenup

A court will invalidate any prenuptial agreement entered because there was undue pressure on one or more of the parties who signed it. Coercion can be difficult to prove, especially if it comes down to one person’s word against another. But when proven, it invalidates the contract because it was not a reflection of the intent of at least one of the parties.

Unconscionable actions will Invalidate a Prenup

In some cases, courts will invalidate prenups based on gross inequality or the contract lacking basic fairness. This is the most difficult argument to make when seeking the invalidation of a prenup. The agreement being more favorable to one of the parties is not enough reason for it to be invalidated. That inequality must be so large that the court considers it “unconscionable.”

Questions the court will consider include whether each spouse had his or her own attorney to examine the agreement, if all disclosures were made in good faith and if there were any clauses that could not withstand a legal challenge.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Prenuptial Agreements

If you are considering adding a prenuptial agreement to your marriage, it is important to first consider the benefits and disadvantages that such an agreement could have for you. The following are some of the key advantages that come with a prenup:

  • They allow you to protect your property that you had before the marriage
  • They add support to your existing estate plan
  • They clearly define what property will be considered marital property
  • They reduce the possibility of conflict and will save you money should you divorce
  • They establish ground rules and set procedures for deciding all future property-related matters

Although people tend to believe that prenuptial agreements can lead to conflict in a relationship, having communications and expectations in place before the marriage could actually strengthen your relationship, as you are being open and upfront about some important issues right at the outset of your marriage.

However, there are certainly some downsides to these arrangements. Consider the following potential disadvantages:

  • They are not particularly romantic and may add a feeling that your marriage is tarnished
  • The time to agree about certain elements of a prenup may not be right, particularly in the early stages of your relationship and marriage
  • You may actually have certain protections through state law that you would also have through a prenup, making the prenup somewhat redundant and unnecessary

Free Initial Consultation with a Prenup Lawyer

If you need a prenup, have one and are considering divorce, 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