Learn the FAQS and Get Family Law Help in Salt Lake City, UT

If you're reading this, you probably need family law help. Salt Lake City, UT clients just like you have probably asked the same questions you want to ask! Here are a few FAQs that may help clarify whatever's on your mind. If you don't see your question here, please submit your question electronically or by calling (801) 359-8003.

What is family law?

Family law refers to the laws governing marriage, divorce (including child custody, child support, alimony, and paternity), and adoption.

What is divorce?

An absolute divorce is a divorce in which a marriage is completely dissolved. An absolute divorce can be granted on the grounds of marital misconduct (at-fault) or on the grounds that the relationship no longer works (no-fault). All states offer no-fault divorce; however, some states require a separation period before the divorce can be granted.

In a limited divorce, also known as "separation," both parties terminate cohabitation but remain married to each other. Some couples decide to separate on a trial basis to determine whether divorce is the best solution to their marital difficulties.

For more detailed information on the different types of divorce, you may want to contact a divorce lawyer today.

What is an annulment?

In addition to divorce, there is another option available to dissolve a marriage, known as an annulment. An annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed. There are several grounds for an annulment, including:

  • Misrepresentation: for example, lying about already being married
  • Concealment: for example, non-disclosure of a sexually transmitted disease, felony conviction, or drug addiction
  • Non-consummation of the marriage: for example, the refusal or inability to consummate the marriage
  • Misunderstanding: for example, one party thinking that the other wanted children when they did not.

What is child custody?

There are four types of child custody:

  1. Legal Custody: a form of child custody in which one parent has the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing
  2. Physical Custody: a form of child custody in which one parent has the right to live with the child
  3. Sole Custody: a form of child custody in which one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child
  4. Joint Custody: a form of child custody in which parents share legal custody, physical custody, or both

If either parent is unable to care for the child, a grandparent or other relative may be awarded custody.

For more detailed information on the types of child custody and how custody is determined, contact a family attorney today.

Do I need a family lawyer?

The decision to hire a family lawyer is a personal one. However, since many of the issues surrounding divorce, child custody, child support, and adoption are complicated, it may be helpful to have the advice of an experienced family law attorney.

What type of adoption is right for you?

There are five main types of adoption: agency adoption, independent adoption, identified adoption, relative adoption, and international adoption.

Agency adoption refers to the adoption of a child through a private or public agency. Private agencies that offer adoptions are usually run by charities or social service agencies and generally place children who have been brought to them by the biological parents. Public agencies that offer adoptions are run by the state and generally place children who have become wards of the state.

Independent adoption refers to the adoption of a child without the help of an agency. Independent adoptions can be arranged with an agreement between the adoptive parent and the biological parent(s). Other independent adoptions may involve an intermediary such as a doctor or clergyperson. In either case, an attorney's assistance is usually required. Most states, except for Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, offer independent adoption.

Identified adoption can occur when the adoptive parent locates the birth mother of the child and then turns the adoption process over to an adoption agency. This allows the adoptive parent to find a mother who wants to give up her child and avoid the waiting lists at an agency.

Relative adoption refers to the adoption of a child by an adult who is related to the child by blood or marriage. The most common type of relative adoption is stepparent adoption. Grandparents can also adopt their grandchildren if the child's parents pass away.

International adoption refers to the adoption of a child from a foreign country. International adoptions are more complicated than domestic adoptions in that adoption guidelines for both countries must be fulfilled. In addition, an immigrant visa must be obtained from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the adoptive parent must apply for U.S. citizenship for the child.

If you or someone you love is interested in adopting a child, you may want to contact a family law attorney for more information.

Do you offer no-cost consultations?

There is no fee for the first half (½) hour an attorney spends with you on a new matter.