Getting started with the divorce process can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had to hire an attorney before. As you set out to hire an attorney, try to keep things simple. To start off, get used to the idea that you’re going to have to expose some of your personal life to the court, but also know that these documents are kept private and not accessible to the public. Next, go attorney shopping. Recognize that while price matters, you want the best bang for your buck. You want someone that you feel comfortable with, that will zealously advocate for you, that understands the law and how the judges in your area tend to make decisions, and someone that will be fair in their billing.
What Qualifies as Grounds for Divorce in Utah?
In every Utah divorce, a divorcing couple must cite the “grounds” for their divorce–or the reason for their divorce. Most divorcing couples cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their split. This means they had significant disagreements between them that could not be resolved, such as differences in religion, character, or personality traits. It could also mean that one of the spouses made certain decisions that resulted in an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, an individual is not limited to divorce on these grounds, they can also cite to any reason listed in the Utah Code, such as adultery, habitual drunkenness, incurable insanity, desertion, or if one spouse was convicted of a felony.
Utah Divorce Attorney Fees
One of the first questions new clients typically have is, “What’s your retainer fee?” Retainer fees, on average, range anywhere from $1,000 – $5,000 depending on the complexity of your case. While the retainer fee question is a valid one, it’s not the most important. Prospective clients should look at the hourly rate of the attorney and read the fee agreement carefully. Compare hourly rates of attorneys in your area. On average, most family law attorneys bill at $200 – $300 per hour. Ask your attorney if they bill a minimum amount of time every time they take action on your case. If your attorney bills you for a minimum of 10 minutes every time they send an email or answer a brief phone call, you may see your retainer payment dwindle at a rapid rate.
Ask your attorney how long you can expect your retainer payment to last, and when it runs out whether you will be expected to refund the retainer in the same amount. If you can afford your attorney’s initial payment, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can afford to keep your attorney throughout your legal battle. It’s a huge legal and financial setback to have your attorney withdraw in the middle of your case because you can’t afford to keep them on. At Red Law, we price our retainer fees at a reasonable and affordable rate and then work out tailored payment plans with each of our clients to ensure we stick by your side for the long haul.
Finding Utah Divorce Attorneys for Fathers (and Something to Consider for Mothers)
Utah is in the process of overcoming the stigma that every mother will automatically get custody of their children. In 2015 Utah legislature created a new law that provided every parent with the option of being awarded joint physical custody if they can show they are an involved and able parent. With this new law, we have seen more fathers throughout the state being awarded more parent-time with their children, an opportunity to be more involved in their lives, and more rights to make decisions for their kids. However, fathers and mothers must realize that this law isn’t implemented automatically. Fathers must have an attorney that can prove their case for them and convince the court that they have been an involved parent, their work schedule and lifestyle allows them to continue to be involved, and their increased involvement would be in the best interests of the children. Hiring an attorney that understands the intricacies of these laws and has experience preparing cases that are convincing to the court is paramount to protecting your rights.
Consultation for Divorce Attorney in Utah
Red Law doesn’t offer free consultations because we do consultations differently than most attorneys. What we seek to provide during that consultation is not a rote and general presentation of what typically happens in a family law case. Instead, we look at the individual facts of your case, we come up with a game plan, we’re honest with you, and we explain specifically how we could help you. Our goal is to provide you with valuable advice so that whether or not you decide to retain us you feel your money was well spent. We’re confident in our ability to assess your case and come up with a preliminary game plan right then and there. While we don’t offer free consultations, we do offer them at a discounted rate. Our consultation fee for family law matters is $30 per half hour.