Financial Declarations in Domestic Relations Actions

Financial Declarations

In every domestic relations action (divorce; temporary separation; separate maintenance; parentage; custody; child support; and modification), each party is required to submit a financial declaration. The financial declaration can be the single most important form you fill out in your case. The following is a guide to what a financial declaration is, why it is necessary and how to fill one out.

What is a Financial Declaration?

A financial declaration is a form detailing your income, assets, debts and expenses. The financial declaration includes the court-approved form along with copies of your financial documents. When submitting a financial declaration, you are required to also attach copies of statements verifying the amounts listed in your financial declaration for every item and amount listed, excluding expenses.

Why do I need to fill out a Financial Declaration?

Other than being a requirement of the Court, why do you have to fill out a financial declaration? There are several reasons why, but first and foremost the financial declaration provides the Court and both parties with a comprehensive listing of all the financial assets of the parties. This is important as when you are going through a divorce, you need to be able to address the division of all the assets of the parties. The financial declaration assists in identifying the financial assets of the parties.

Another very important reason is the financial declaration provides information regarding the earnings or earning capacity of an individual. A party’s gross income is used by the Court in determining child support. Likewise, a party’s net income and expenses are used by the Court in determining an alimony award. The information provided in the financial declaration can also be used to determine if one party is entitled to their attorney’s fees or other reimbursement.

The financial declaration must be filed before a Temporary Order Hearing can be set in your case. Otherwise, the financial declaration is provided to the other party in the discovery process.

How do I fill out a Financial Declaration?

The first and most important thing to remember when filling out a financial declaration is to be honest, upfront and accurate. Hiding, misreporting or omitting information on a financial declaration will not help your case.

You will find our Financial Declaration Information Form by following this link. You must fill this out as completely as possible. For additional help or information, please contact Sorensen Law Group, P.C. to set up a consultation. 

Utah's Legal Elite for 2017

Sorensen Law Group lead attorney, Sam Sorensen, has been chosen as one of Utah Business magazine's 2017 Utah Legal Elite™, a select group of lawyers practicing in Utah. This is the second year in a row that Sam has been selected.  As part of this honor, Sam’s name will be listed in the Utah Business’ March 2017 issue. Sam has consistently been rated as one of the best family law attorneys in the state.  He has a broad range of knowledge in family and estate planning and always does a great job in representing his client’s best interest. 

Interesting Look Martial Status by Age Group

On this Valentine's Day, Business Insider put together a couple graphs which show individual-level marital status by each year of age in 2013. The graph below from the article represents a person's marital status by age. 

The researches went further to look at the trend over time in the graph below:

It is apparent that more individuals are either divorced, separated or in a second or later marriage now than in 1980 or 1960. An indication that family law issues touch a greater percentage of the population. 

Business Valuation in Divorce

"Not every divorce case warrants a full valuation at the outset, especially if the parties are inclined to find areas of compromise and agreement, rather than resistance and mistrust. Further, it goes without saying that some businesses are simply more complex than others, which may require a full evaluation. The decision on how to proceed is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on a variety of factors, including the parties' interest in a more efficient closure than the judicial system can provide."

Is the US Divorce Rate Really 50%

A common myth about marriage is that half of them end in divorce. It comes from naively dividing the divorce rate by the marriage rate.

Nathan Yau has developed an interesting graphic that breaks down divorce rates for various different socio-economic and racial classes. What his graphic shows is that in reality, the divorce rate is not 50%, but is probably between 30%-40% depending on your situation.

Take a look: Divorce Rates for Different Groups

Is Your Ex-Spouse A Conflict Addict?

In a February 2014 Huffington Divorce Blog Post, Valerie DeLoach gives individuals 5 guidelines to follow if your ex-spouse is a conflict addict.

Ms. DeLoach says,”If you have found yourself in a high conflict divorce with an ex-spouse who berates you when given the chance or fights you on everything from finances to extracurricular activities to phone contact, just remember that your ex is most likely one of these conflict addicts who needs conflict with you to avoid having to take a hard look at his/her own life. The constant control he/she desires is only to keep what they feel is left of the control they had in the marital relationship. They will claim to be over the relationship, but they are ultimately causing conflict in an effort to cling to what they once had.”

To help people when dealing with a conflict addict ex-spouse, Ms. DeLoach suggests the following five guidelines:

  1. Limit the amount of time you spend on dealing with issues relating to your ex-spouse.
  2. Limit the amount of time you spend discussing the issues relating to your ex-spouse with your current partner.
  3. Create a space in your home where you refrain from discussing your ex-spouse or the issues related to your ex-spouse.
  4. Don’t be bullied by your ex-spouse. Choose not to respond to bullying attempts and recognize those attempts for what they are–a sad attempt to exert control over you.
  5. Keep up the good fight. If there is a Court order in place, make sure you are following the Court order. This can be hard if your ex-spouse fails to follow the order. Keep a journal of issues that arise and your attempts to resolve those issues.

If you are dealing with these issues or other divorce issues, and would like to speak with an attorney, consider contacting Sorensen Law Group to set up a consultation with a Utah family law attorney.

8 Photos You Shouldn't Post On Social Media

Reposted from this article by Melissa Willets 

We live in a world where snapping photos of your kids and posting them to social media is about as natural to parents as kissing a boo boo. But while sharing shots of little ones at birthday parties, wearing new outfits, or exploring the zoo is cute, some moments should remain private. Otherwise, you may put kids at risk for embarrassment, or even worse, make them a potential target for child predators. So we suggest keeping these eight photos of kids off the Internet:

1. Bath time

Any photo of your child partially or completely naked, like while he is bathing, is not for public consumption. Unfortunately, what you think is a darling moment of your three tots sudsing up can—cringe-worthy though it may be—fall into the wrong hands, such as those of child pornographers.

2. When they’re sick or injured

As parents, it’s our job to protect our kids, not take advantage of them. Ask yourself this question: Would you want someone posting pictures of you while you’re feeling lousy? Probably not. Apply that standard when you consider what to post and what not to.

3. Shaming photos

Child shaming online seems to be all the rage, but this practice can have devastating effects on kids in the short and long term. Not only does shaming violate trust between parents and children, it may cause post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety later in life.

4. On the potty

Photos of your kiddos doing their business are best kept private when you think of potential future consequences. Remember, anything you share online lasts forever; do you really think your teen wants to see a shot of himself doing No. 2 for the first time?

5. Private details

Keep children safe by never sharing their full names, addresses, where they go to school, if they are babysitting alone somewhere, etc. online. You don’t know who might use this information for purposes other than what was intended.

6. Group pictures

If you decided to share photos of your kids online, great. But it’s not okay to make this decision for other parents, who may not feel comfortable having their children’s faces plastered all over social media. Make sure you have clearance to post any group picture of your child posing or playing with others.

7. Bullying fodder

Consider how posting certain pictures online may impact your child at school. For instance, a picture exposing a weakness, fear or maybe a silly nickname could humiliate your child and have repercussions on his social life.

8. Unsafe activities

You let your child palm a beer bottle for a second and snap a picture. Or you hold a wee one in your lap to move the car from the garage to the driveway, pausing to get a shot on your smartphone. Photos of these seemingly harmless moments were taken in good fun, but sharing them online opens you up for criticism and potential problems, since all the surrounding details may not be immediately evident upon first glance.

Do I Need A Prenup?

A premarital or prenuptial agreement is a written declaration of two people contemplating marriage. It is effective upon marriage and provides, among other things, for the rights and responsibilities with respect to support and the disposition of property at divorce, separation, or death of the parties.

Whether you need a prenup or not is a personal decision. Generally, prenups are signed by persons previously married who intend to pursue a career and have substantial individual or family wealth.

It is important to execute a prenup correctly in order to make it effective. Consult with a Utah family law attorney to go over whether a prenup is right for you.

-Samuel J. Sorensen

*Some content from ABA Family Advocate

Can One Parent Relocate With the Kids?

If you have a Utah divorce and you are the custodial parent and you want to move with the children, you must comply with the provisions of Utah Code Ann. 30-3-37, and provide notice to the other parent more than 60 days prior to your relocation.

In Utah, Courts follow a “best interest” standard. This means that the Court looks to various factors to determine whether such a move would be in the best interest of the children. Check with an attorney to go over the individual factors and whether those factors weigh in favor of relocation.

If you are not the primary custodial parent and the other parent has notified you of an impending move, you can request that the Court undergo a best interest analysis to determine if a move is in the children’s best interest. You should consult with an attorney to go over your rights in this situation.

Samuel J. Sorensen

Can I Date During My Divorce?

In Utah, anything you do up to the date your divorce is final may be considered by the Court. Therefore, it is a good idea not to date until your divorce is final. Check with your attorney to make sure your activity won’t negatively affect your case.

Likewise, overnight guests are not a good idea. Even if you are living apart, having overnight guests while your children are with you will be used against you in your divorce case.

-Samuel J. Sorensen

*Some content from ABA Family Advocate

How Can I Help With My Divorce Case?

Check with your lawyer before doing anything you think might be helpful in the case to ensure that your actions will be useful and done in a way that is really productive. Ask what you can do throughout the case to keep fees low and speed the case along. As a general rule, collecting, organizing, and indexing recent financial records is helpful. Keeping a log of your expenses and expenditures with back-up receipts or statements will assist your lawyer in preparing key documents like your Financial Declaration. Likewise, keeping a custody and parent-time calendar or log when each parent is responsible for the children or attends their activities or events is helpful.

Providing documents and information in a timely manner will help keep costs down and help advance your case. If your lawyer has to remind you several times or has to get documents from another source, it will cost more time and money.

You should provide your lawyer with relevant information in a timely manner, but it is a good idea to use friends, relatives, or your therapist when you just need to vent your feelings.

-Samuel J. Sorensen

* Some content from ABA Family Advocate