Utah Common Law Marriage

Utah Common Law Marriage

A common myth is that if you live with someone for seven years, then you automatically create a common law marriage. This is actually not true in any state. Common law marriage occurs when a couple lives together for a certain number of years (one year in most states), holds themselves out as husband and wife, and intends to be married. Once a common law marriage is formed, that couple is treated legally the same way that traditional married couples are treated. This means that if the couple intends to no longer be married, they must file for divorce.

Only a certain number of states recognize common law marriage. However, if you and your spouse have a common law marriage in a state that recognizes common law marriages and you move to a state that does not recognize common law marriages, you are still legally married in that new state.

Which states recognize common law marriages?

  • Alabama (if created before January 1, 2017)
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia (if created before January 1, 1997)
  • Idaho (if created before January 1, 1996)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
  • Ohio (if created before October 10, 1991)
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania (if created before January 1, 2005)
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas


Be sure to check the family laws in your state.

Do I Change My Last Name?

No, not automatically. Anyone can change their name, however, as long as the name change is for a legitimate, non-fraudulent purpose. If you’d like to change your name, simply begin using your new name consistently and change it for all of your accounts, memberships, and identification documents. Most private entities respect name changes via mere usage. With the threat of identity theft and fraud, however, fewer and fewer companies are willing to change your name without legal documentation of your name change.

When married through traditional marriage, you are given marriage records that suffice as proof of your new name. People married via common law marriages, however, do not have marriage records. In this case, you will need a court order documenting your name change. This documentation is helpful for proving to private entities, like banks, that you legally changed your name, but it is required by government entities to change things like your state issued I.D., passport, and social security card.

What’s going on in Utah?

Well, in Utah, you can have a “marriage like relationship” but it’s not the same thing as a common law marriage.  Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to get the court to recognize your relationship as a “marriage like relationship” which they turns your relationship into a marriage.

One of the things you need to show is that you’ve both been holdings yourselves out as married.  Do you do that?  Are you joint on all of your accounts, think of water, sewer, gas, electric, bank accounts, credit union accounts, loans for your cars, loans for your house, etc. For more information about how to do this, please call and speak with a lawyer at Ascent Law to discuss your options and to see if your situation would meet the criteria.

Can I get a common law divorce?

Technically, there is no such thing as a common law divorce. If you are in a legally-recognized common law marriage and you wish to end the relationship, you must obtain a regular divorce just like any other ceremonially married couple. Many spouses hire divorce attorneys, since you will need to have the court decide on things like child support and custody, spousal support, and property division. Can you get a
divorce in Utah if your relationship is a “marriage like” relationship – yes. Yes you can.

If you were married by common law marriage and move to a state that does not recognize common law marriages, you will still have to obtain a legal divorce in that state, just as if you were ceremonially married. This is because of the fact that all states recognize opposite-sex marriages from other states, including common law marriages. When you move to another state, you are still married, and must obtain a legal divorce if you choose to end the marriage.

Common Law Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation

If you have a questions about divorce in a common law marriage 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

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Source: https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/utah-common-law-marriage/


What Is a Guardian ad Litem?

What Is a Guardian ad Litem

In deciding all divorce issues affecting your children, the family court applies a single, all-important standard: “the best interests of the child.” But how does the court know what is in your child’s best interest? In tough custody battles, parents often have conflicting notions of what’s best for their child. They present the court with very different impressions of who the child is, what interests and talents the child has, and the child’s physical and emotional needs. Faced with competing versions of the truth, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney to represent the child. In Utah, a Guardian ad Litem is private, meaning you and the other parent have to pay the fees of the Guardian ad Litem. You each pay hafl of the cost. This can get expensive if matters are hotly contested.

Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem is meant to protect the interests of a child who is a subject of the dispute between the parents, but not a party to the divorce action. As such, the Guardian ad Litem acts as an advisor to and advocate for the child. For this reason, courts generally only appoint Guardian ad Litems in custody actions where it is appropriate to ask the child’s preference.

The Guardian ad Litem is charged with assessing whether the child has an impairment that prevents him or her from making knowledgeable, voluntary and considered judgments. If in the Guardian ad Litem’s opinion the child is unimpaired, the Guardian ad Litem will report the child’s stated preferences. The Guardian ad Litem is not a witness but may call witnesses and cross-examine witnesses. The Guardian ad Litem does not present a written report to the court, but should present relevant evidence to the court that might otherwise not be presented. The Guardian ad Litem will also tell the judge if he or she believes custody should change or if there is any abuse.

Parents must always remember that the Guardian ad Litem is not their lawyer, so any communications are not considered confidential. Any statements a parent makes to the Guardian ad Litem can be used against them in the custody dispute.

How to Share Birthdays, Holidays with Joint Custody

If you are a parent in a shared custody arrangement after a divorce, birthdays and holidays can be especially difficult times. You may need to accept that your long-time rituals can no longer occur as they once did. However, there are still ways you can make these times of the year special and meaningful.

Below are some helpful tips:

  • Have a plan: Communicate with your former partner and plan far in advance how you will share time for all the holidays in a year. It is common, for example, for spouses to trade off years in which they spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with their children. If you have large extended families with multiple holiday gatherings, you may be able to split time with each holiday in each year.
  • Stick to the plan: Always follow through with your plan and the promises you make to your children and/or your former spouse. Hard feelings can arise whenever you break your word, especially as it relates to the holidays, which have a lot of sentiment surrounding them.

  • Let kids have a say in the plan: Although your children should not have the final say in how your holiday plans will work, you can at least ask for their input as to when and where you will celebrate the holidays and who will be present. This will help teach your children about collaboration and compromise.
  • Have multiple celebrations: For a birthday, for example, it can be easy to have two different celebrations — one at your home and one at the other parent’s home. This makes it easier for extended families to get involved.


Divorce Attorney Free Consultation

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/what-is-a-guardian-ad-litem/

Avoiding Accidents with Tractor Trailers

Avoiding Accidents with Tractor Trailers

Whether making your way through Utah on your way to Park City for a nice drive up Parley’s Canyon for a getaway weekend or driving anywhere on the I-15 or I-215, you’re bound to pass numerous tractor-trailers en route to your final destination. Think about it: they’re everywhere. In fact, on U.S. highways, it’s estimated that tractor-trailers number upwards of 11 million active units. As far as mileage is concerned, that’s over 288 billion logged miles each and every calendar year.

With an oblong, awkward shape, heavy cargo and poor turning radius, tractor-trailers are infamous for causing roadside accidents. In order to more fully protect yourself and other motorists, however, there are certain driving techniques which—when put into practice—make an avoidance of dangerous accidents a real possibility.

First and foremost, it’s key that blind spots be avoided at all costs. Reports from insurance companies of these dangerous auto zones, “Tractor-trailers have large blind spots called ‘no-zones,’ located at the rear of the truck, the side and the connecting point between the truck and the trailer.” Generally speaking, if you can’t see a tractor-trailer driver in his side mirrors, he or she can’t see you. This is most important when looking to pass or change lanes.

Furthermore, it’s important that trucks be given a wider berth when traveling uphill. Though always a good idea to keep a safe distance when following large vehicles, as tractor-trailers tackle inclines, they often struggle to shift gears, resulting in momentary stalls. Needless to say, as blind spots and driving distances are respected, the number of auto accidents involving tractor-trailers here in Utah will most assuredly plummet. As a injury lawyer, the most important thing you can ever do, is prevent an accident, because after one has happened, you are never really the same again. Especially after a big accident with a tractor trailer.

Pets Can Help The Elderly Live

Oftentimes, after a rewarding life filled with innumerable ups and downs, the elderly find themselves living alone. With older children having moved on and grandchildren much too far to pay any sort of regular visit, more senior citizens than ever before are taking to dog ownership as a means of happiness, companionship and youthful revitalization in West Jordan, Utah and elsewhere.

While nearly all dogs are kind, genuine, loyal and don’t require the services of a bite lawyer, some don’t have the characteristics that mesh well with the lifestyles most commonly associated with senior citizens. That being said, a handful make excellent friends.

Schnauzers, for example, are wonderful for older Americans. Not only do Schnauzers come in a variety of sizes, but they’re energetic, playful and easily trainable. Whether it’s you or a grandchild who needs more exercise, Schnauzers promise to get the job done.

Boston Terriers also make excellent dogs for seniors. Says Dana LaJoye, President of the Boston Terrier Club of America, through PBS, “Boston Terriers are bred to be companion dogs. They like nothing more than to be with their owner on the sofa watching TV or curled up next to their owner in bed.” In addition to being noticeably kind, these dogs are exceptionally easy to groom, thus making them a favorite for older dog owners.

Obviously, the aforementioned pair don’t comprise an extensive list. There are other breeds which make for excellent senior citizen pets, as well: cocker spaniels, shih tzus and beagles, just to name a few.

Whatever the case may be, in order to keep you or an older loved one safe from the rigors of dog ownership, an unfortunate bite or a meeting with an experienced lawyer in West Jordan, take the time to make certain the perfect breed is chosen.

Personal Injury Lawyer Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a semi tractor trailer, 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

Can You Be Sued After Your Business Closes?

Can You Be Sued After Your Business Closes

When you closed your business and paid your creditors, you thought, “that’s the end of that,” and moved on to other endeavors. Well, maybe not. If you have products out there that can cause injuries, among other potential liabilities, you could be involved in a lawsuit long after you have closed your doors.

It’s always a good idea to work with a lawyer when closing down your business (although sole proprietorships are much easier to shutter), which can help you avoid post-dissolution lawsuits in the first place. Here are some things you may want to consider about post-dissolution lawsuits:

You will probably not be able to handle a lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. When you receive a Complaint or another type of legal document that indicates that you are being sued, do not contact the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney — contact your own attorney. If an injured person or the person’s attorney contacts you directly, you should listen and takes notes. Do not admit fault. Do not explain changes that were made to the product. Do not make promises. Do not detail the current status of your business. Your best strategy will be to take the person’s name, contact information, and the nature of the claim and inform them that your attorney will contact them.

Exactly follow the dissolution notification procedures set forth in your state statutes. In many states, if you notify creditors and the public, you will be able to limit the amount of time in which a person who is later injured may bring suit. If you do not follow notification statutes, the time in which a person can bring a suit against you will last much longer. For example, your state may have a law that says, as long as you follow notification procedures, you can only be sued for three years following your dissolution.

After your business has closed, keep your corporate records in order. Most states have laws that deal with disposing of claims against a dissolving or dissolved business. In most cases, even after the business is dissolved, it will continue to exist for the purposes of settling claims.

Determine the statutory time limitations for bringing a suit against your business.

If you were involved in a business that manufactured products that may cause future injuries, consider reserving a portion of your liquidation distribution for the time period during which a person can bring suit. If you were incorporated, the claimant will only be able to recover what you received in distributions. This is also an issue that you might want to consider when purchasing commercial liability insurance.

If you followed the notification statutes and the time periods for bringing suit against you have expired, your attorney should be able to get the suit dismissed.

Your state may have a statute that allows you to reject the claim and force the claimant to take further action. In this case, if within a certain time period the claimant doesn’t take further action after his or her claims is rejected, the claim will not be allowed and your attorney should be able to get the suit dismissed.

If you have sold your operating assets to another business or individual before you dissolved, they may be liable to the injured party instead of you.

Your commercial liability insurance might cover the costs associated with the lawsuit. Check your policy and contact your agent.

If there is no relief available, and it looks like you are going to lose your distribution in a lawsuit, determine whether it is really worthwhile to battle it out in court. In many instances of clear corporate liability, a settlement will be less costly. Taking a case to court will dramatically increase legal fees and will probably require your personal involvement.

Business Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with. If you need legal help 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

Cyber Attack Law

Cyber Attack Law

The term cyber attack refers to any number of ways a criminal may attempt to damage or access sensitive information from a computer or networked device. The frequency and sophistication of these attacks continue to increase dramatically, while law enforcement and computer security companies frantically try to keep up. Entrepreneurs must wear many hats to be successful and can’t be expected to have technological expertise. However, it’s important for all business owners to become familiar with the most common types of cyber attacks.

How to Deal with Viruses

Viruses are perhaps the most familiar type of computer-related offense. They are programs or pieces of software code that are loaded onto your computer (or smartphone) without your knowledge, often by enticing the user to open an email attachment. Viruses can compromise a computer or an entire business network in a number of ways, including the deletion or corruption of files. New viruses hit the Internet every day, according to the Better Business Bureau.

  • Defenses – Antivirus software is widely available and should be regularly updated; train employees about the common ways computer viruses are spread; infected computers should be taken offline immediately.

What Should You Do with Spyware

Your computer may be infected with spyware without your knowledge. This type of malware (software used for nefarious purposes) secretly collects information from a computer, which can include credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, typically recording the keystrokes of the user. Spyware sometimes is used by marketers and spammers, covertly installed along with a downloaded application, but also can be used for credit card fraud and identity theft.

  • Defenses – Search online for anti-spyware software, some of which is free of charge; some signs that your computer may be infected with spyware include frequent pop-up ads, sluggishness and changed settings.

What about Phishing?

Chances are, you have received an official-looking email attempting to trick you into verifying your personal information at least once in the past few years. This is called “phishing,” and can also take the form of a fake web site attempting to take advantage of user mistypes (for example, typing “paypak.com” instead of “paypal.com” and being taken to a site that looks like paypal.com but isn’t). In a business setting, a phishing attack may try to get an employee to give up the password to a customer database.

  • Defenses – A good spam filter may help block a majority of phishing attempts, but a well-informed workforce may be the best defense; also, check for the secure connection icon (a closed padlock) in the browser when transmitting sensitive data.

What is Pharming?

Similar to phishing, pharming redirects a web site request to a fraudulent site that closely resembles the intended one. The criminal hacks into the server to embed the malware so that users who type in a given address are automatically redirected to the fake site, which then collects information given by the user.

  • Defenses – Like phishing, an informed workforce is probably the best prevention to workplace pharming attacks; if a web site redirects to another address without providing an indication to the user, it could be a pharming attempt. Use an intrusion prevention systems and network scanners to secure your company’s web server.

Keyloggers, Bots, and Trojans are Issues as Well

These are applications that appear useful or at least benign, sometimes taking the form of screen savers that entice the user to download them. But they carry viruses or other malware that can be destructive to computer files and may compromise data security. The user is often unaware they even exist but the implanted malware can send sensitive personal information to a third party.

  • Defenses – Some companies have strict policies pertaining to the types of files employees may or may not download and install; regular virus and malware scans can help detect such attacks after the fact.


Cyber Attack Lawyer Free Consultation

If you’ve been a victim of a cyber attack and need legal help, then 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

Finance and Banking Law

Finance and Banking Law

Opening up bank accounts, getting lines of credit (if needed), and managing your finances are crucial aspects to running a small business. Sure, you’d rather devote all your time and energy to actually running your business and following your passion — but without adequate resources and smart cash-flow management, it won’t last very long. Whether you’re about to start your first business or you’re a serial entrepreneur looking for new angles, the following information will help you find the right finance and banking resources for your business.

Financing Your Business

There are many ways to finance your business and no one method is right for everyone. Most businesses start out small, perhaps with loans from friends and family and a simple home office, while others need more substantial resources just to get off the ground (whether it’s a bank loan or equity investments). Your business plan will help you determine what you’ll need to reach your goals. The following resources correspond to the most common forms of business financing:

Business Loans

  • Business Loan Application Checklist – Checklist of which information and documents you may want to include in your business loan application, such as the financial history of your business and projections of future earnings.
  • Real-Life Loan Agreements – Collection of loan agreements with well-known corporate entities to help you get familiar with such agreements.
  • Business Loan Application Checklist (Small Business Administration) – SBA’s guide on how to apply for a business loan, covering such important considerations as the application form, your business plan, credit report, income tax returns, collateral, and more.
  • SBA Loan Application Checklist (SBA) – A helpful checklist of the various elements and considerations pertaining to a 7(a) loan, offered indirectly through (and guaranteed by) the agency.

Business Grants

  • Small Business Grants – Overview of the various grants — which do not need to repaid — available to small businesses, including state programs to retrain workers and programs meant to reinvigorate depressed regions.
  • Research Grants for Small Businesses (SBA) – Explanation of research and development grants available to certain small businesses, with links to various government agencies through which the grants are offered.
  • Search Federal Grants (Grants.gov) – Searchable database of all federal grants available to U.S. businesses, with various filters and search options to help you hone in on those that may be a good fit.

Equity Deals and Venture Capital

  • Debt vs. Equity: Advantages and Disadvantages – A guide to help you make an informed decision as to whether debt (loans) or equity is right for your small business.
  • What is Equity Crowdfunding? – The basics of equity crowdfunding, in which ordinary, non-wealthy individuals have the opportunity to invest just a few hundred dollars in your business in exchange for a small equity stake.
  • Venture Capital (SBA) – SBA’s overview of venture capital, angel investors (individuals who invest smaller sums of money as limited partners), and equity capital in general.

Other Business Finance and Banking Ideas

  • Business Banking and Securities Forms – A collection of checklists, sample forms, real-life financing agreements, and other resources pertaining to business banking and financing
  • Sample Business Balance Sheet – Brief explanation of the layout and purpose of a balance sheet, in addition to a sample balance sheet that your business can use as a template.
  • Is Your Business Fiscally Fit? (SBA) – SBA’s guide to determining whether your business is properly funded and healthy from a fiscal perspective, with suggestions and how-to guides to help improve your financials.

Banking and Finance Lawyer Free Consultation

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

Effects of Divorce on Children

Effects of Divorce on Children

I know that divorce is emotionally devastating for all parties involved because I’m a divorce lawyer. But things can be especially children. However, you can minimize the pain divorce causes your family by doing the following:

  • Cooperate for the sake of your children. Your partnership as a married couple may have ended, but your partnership as parents who love your children must remain. Show your children they are your top priority by putting past resentments aside and cooperating with your ex-spouse.
  • Never let money interfere with parenting. Never take your frustration over financial issues with your ex-spouse out on your children.
  • Never badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children. Your issues with your ex-spouse should be yours alone. You should let your children learn to love each parent equally. If you badmouth your ex-spouse, you force your children to choose sides and this can make them feel uncomfortable and conflicted.

  • Respect the privacy of your ex-spouse. You should never use your children as spies to obtain information on what your ex-spouse is doing.
  • Seek family counseling. You should look into divorce and family counseling programs. Sometimes children appear to fine when really they are deeply upset and need help opening up.
  • Visitation from the noncustodial parent. Children should always receive constant love and support from both parents. If you are the noncustodial parent, work with your ex-spouse to create a visitation schedule that allows you to spend time with your children.

A knowledgeable attorney like one at Ascent Law can guide you throughout the divorce process and protect your best interests.

Is There Common Law Divorce in Utah?

Common law marriage is the concept of a couple living together for a certain amount of time and thereby automatically gaining status as a married couple. While some states recognize common law marriages, Utah is not one of them. In Utah, a couple must take measures to legally wed in a civil proceeding or church ceremony in order to achieve married status.

As couples may not simply live together for a period of time and attain a marriage in Utah, a married couple also may not simply live apart for a period of time in order to attain a divorce. While some states do allow this, in Utah a couple must first enter into a valid separation agreement. In fact, for a long time, divorcing after one year of legal separation was the only path Utah couples could take to achieve a no-fault divorce. Since 2010, however, the state has granted divorces on no-fault grounds. Today, the following grounds for divorce in Utah are accepted:

  • Irretrievable breakdown — This is the relatively new no-fault basis for divorce. The couple must allege that for at least six months prior to filing, their marriage has broken down irretrievably. They do not have to live apart for that time period.
  • Cruel or inhuman treatment — A fault-based ground that alleges physical, emotional or verbal abuse by one spouse.
  • Abandonment — A fault-based ground alleging abandonment for at least one year

  • Incarceration — A fault-based ground that is valid if one spouse is in jail or prison for three or more consecutive years
  • Adultery — A fault-based ground alleging infidelity by one spouse. Adultery can be difficult to prove in court, and requires testimony from a third party or evidence to support the allegation.
  • Divorce following legal separation — While this is closest to the concept of common law divorce, couples in Long Island and throughout Utah must first obtain a legal separation agreement.

Divorce Attorney Free Consultation

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