Tag: utah family law

Is it a good idea to major in sociology, social work, community, and health? I want to become a family lawyer.

Family law is, for most lawyers, a miserable practice area. You have to have the right personality and constitution for it. If you want to be a family lawyer to “help families,” be prepared for a mostly frustrating (highly frustrating) career. If you want to be a family lawyer to help protect people from the family court system, you will also experience a mostly frustrating career, but not as much as for those who go into family law with the intention of “helping families”—family law is not the best place to expend one’s time, effort, and care, if helping families is your goal. Better to be an excellent pastor, teacher, coach, therapist, social worker (good luck being an excellent social worker if you’re employed by the government—you’ll need it), or something like that. Don’t get me wrong; the world needs good family lawyers, but family lawyers do little to preserve and protect families (and those who try rarely succeed). Family lawyers are there either to victimize through the legal system or to protect people from being victimized by or in the system.

OK, now on to your question. This just my opinion, but I submit it is an educated one:

Law school is intellectually demanding in terms of difficulty, intensity, and volume. Sociology, social work, other areas of study like them are generally and comparatively intellectually lightweight (notice I stated “generally”; there are surely some exceptions, I concede). While it is not impossible for a sociology or social work majors to succeed in law school, I would suggest you major in something that will better equip you for the rigors of law school. English, Philosophy (both the fun and the hard stuff), or hard sciences—disciplines that develop your ability to think, to analyze, and to synthesize. And take classes that teach you to research and write well.

Sociology, social work, and public health treat some of the subjects that family law treats, but not as much as you might believe. In my personal opinion, the sociological, social work, and public health evidence that the courts consider isn’t very reliable or consistent or even all that accurate. You can find a “study” to support any position. Which is a shame because it tars the truly scientific and accurate studies with the broad brush of hackery characteristic of so much of the rubbish.

One thing that might be of extreme value, however, would be to major in sociology or social work in the most intellectually and scientifically rigorous program you can get into, get a master’s degree in it, then go to law school, and then become a family lawyer who stays apprised of and specializes as an expert in the science that is relevant to family law issues. That would be a hard, expensive, time-consuming pathway to becoming a family lawyer, but you’d be one of the best as a result.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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More proposed family law-related proposed laws 2022 Utah

More proposed family law-related proposed laws from the 2022 Utah Legislative Session

Last week I covered four family law bills proposed during the 2022 session of the Utah State Legislature. Today’s post will review 3 more proposed bills.

First, SB 74, entitled “Alimony Modifications”. This bill, if passed into law, would define the term, “length of the marriage” which currently is not defined in the Utah Code. Under S.B. 74, “length of the marriage” would mean the number of years from the day on which the parties are legally married to the day on which the petition for divorce is filed with the court. S.B. 74 would also amend provisions related to alimony and enact provisions regarding cohabitation by a spouse during the pendency of a divorce action; specifically, it would 1) provide that if a party is ordered to pay temporary alimony before entry of the divorce decree, the period of time that the party pays temporary alimony shall be counted towards the period of time for which the party is ordered to pay alimony; and 2) if a party establishes before entry of the divorce decree of divorce that a current spouse is cohabiting with another individual before entry of the divorce decree, the court may not order the party to pay alimony, including temporary alimony, to the current spouse.

Next, there is SB 85, entitled “Protective Order and Civil Stalking Injunction Expungement”. This bill seeks to define terms relating to the expungement of protective orders and stalking injunctions; makes statutory provisions for the expungement of protective orders and stalking injunctions retroactive; allows for the expungement of certain protective orders and stalking injunctions; provides the requirements for expunging certain protective orders and stalking injunctions; and addresses the distribution and effect of an order for expungement of certain protective orders and stalking injunctions.

SB 87, entitled “Court Fee Waiver Amendments,” would amend provisions regarding an affidavit of indigency; defines the term, “indigent”; allow court fees, costs, or security to be waived for indigent individuals; and require a court to find an individual indigent under certain circumstances.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Is There Any Difference Between a Family Law Attorney and a Divorce Attorney?

You may have wondered what the difference is between a “family law attorney” and a “divorce attorney.” Not really, although differences do exist, and often depend on the context in which the terms are discussed.
A divorce attorney is an attorney who handles divorce cases. Simple. Our firm, Utah Family Law, LC, for example, practices primarily in divorce and divorce-related matters.
A family law attorney may simply be a less controversial way of saying “divorce attorney,” or it may mean the attorney has diversified into other areas of law, including related family law matters like child custody, protective orders, termination of parental rights, or those practice areas indirectly related to divorce law, such as adoption, guardianship, juvenile court, and other matters related to families and children, but not exclusively pertaining to divorce.
Sometimes divorce attorneys identify themselves as family law attorneys to avoid controversy: I was at a church activity a while back, and my group was introducing ourselves and explaining what we do for a living. I was trying to decide whether I should say I was a family law attorney or a divorce attorney. It can be awkward for me or for others in some social settings if I introduce myself with, “I’m a divorce attorney!” (it’s also awkward saying that to missionaries, bishops, and the recently married). It’s often more socially acceptable to describe myself as a family law attorney which can include not only divorce, but more “favorable” areas of practice like adoption and guardianships.
So before you hire that “divorce” or “family law” attorney, it wouldn’t hurt to ask just what that attorney means by the words he or she uses to describe that attorney’s practice. Make sure you know that what you want is what that attorney offers and can do competently.


What You Really Need to Know and Do to Get a Good Divorce Lawyer

Do you need a divorce attorney but you’re not quite sure where to begin? Selecting an appropriate and qualified attorney can be crucial to the outcome of your divorce case. Here are some useful tips for selecting a divorce attorney that’s right for you and your situation.

Determine what type of attorney you will need. Do you have children? If so, you’ll want to select an attorney that specializes in family law or child custody issues. Do you own a home, have assets and investments, debt, etc.? Depending on your financial situation, you may need to select an attorney that is experienced in financial law. Also, consider how aggressive an attorney you might need. Does your spouse already have an aggressive attorney? You may need an attorney that can match that. Do you have an amicable relationship with your spouse? Perhaps an attorney skilled at mediation, who can negotiate a divorce decree suitable for both parties, might be right for you. If your spouse is abusive, you may need to find an attorney that specializes women’s rights or domestic violence. If you live in the state of Utah, the Utah State Bar directory offers a useful search tool, whereby you can search for attorneys based upon their area of expertise, location, etc.:

Don’t wait until the last minute. If your situation permits, begin looking for an attorney early. Give yourself plenty of time to research and select an attorney with which you feel comfortable. Waiting until the last minute may result in choosing an attorney that may not be satisfactory to you.

Ask for recommendations. Asking people you know and trust for good divorce lawyer recommendations is a good place to start. You might begin by asking friends or family members who have recently gone through the divorce process. Therapists, financial advisors, CPAs, or other attorneys can usually refer you to reputable divorce lawyers as well. Be sure to ask several questions about the attorney that someone is recommending so that you can determine whether or not their experience or character is suitable for you and your situation – just because someone else had a good experience with a divorce attorney does not always mean they will be a good fit for you. Consider your own needs and/or your family’s needs.’

Be thorough. Before your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer, prepare several questions that you would like to ask them. You may want to ask them questions about their approach in settling a case, how long they’ve been practicing law (specifically divorce law), how much they charge (initial retainer fee, hourly fee, flat fee, etc.), what percentage of cases they have settled, do they have any particular areas of expertise (child custody issues, financial law, domestic violence, etc.), and any other questions that might pertain to you and your situation.

Think it through. After you have met with one or more attorneys, compare each of them. Consider their answers to the questions you asked them. Ask yourself whether or not you feel they would be suitable for you. Don’t be afraid to take your time while thinking it over. This is an important decision – after all, this is your life and your family.

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