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What’s worth fighting for and what’s worth letting go?

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Don’t Fight Over the Principle of an Issue

People who want to fight over the principle of a matter rarely end up being satisfied, even when they win because the cost to do so is more than it was worth. The return from the investment is rarely worth it, on many different levels.


Don’t Brush Away the Value of Your Personal Property

Household furniture, appliances, etc., etc.–until you consider how much you have. Sometimes a spouse will say, “Oh, he/she can have it all” but they don’t realize that such property comprises the bulk of what most people own is invested in their personal property. The cost of replacing such property can be huge, and take a long time.


Custody of Children

Don’t just assume that mom always gets the kids, especially because it is Utah, so why fight for something more than every other weekend. Dads for years have been getting more in the way of custodial rights than they used to do; but keep in mind that custody disputes are costly.

Don’t Get Into a Fight Over Anything If you Can’t Afford to Go the Distance, Especially Custody Fights

Don’t spend a lot of money for attorneys, etc., and then have to stop part way through because you didn’t recognize the cost involved earlier in the case.

Keep Your Kids Out of Discussions About Adult Issues, Including Custody.


Keep Records

Emails, text messages, keep a journal, keep a calendar of all visits with kids, etc., especially if child custody is going to be an issue.


How often do you litigate versus settle or negotiate your cases?

Using mediation and/or a parenting coordinator early in a case MAY eliminate issues, especially financial issues, or custody where there is not a great divide in positions. Keep in mind that custody of children is usually the biggest stumbling block to an early settlement because parents tend to dig in their heels on this issue, and it takes something significant to get them to budge.


Other Things to Know:

  1. Be careful how much money you give the other spouse after the separation and before court. You really need to discuss this issue with an attorney so you are not paying too much or too little. This pertains to both child support and what may be considered alimony or spousal support.
  2. Make sure you deal with who claims the kids as dependents for tax purposes.
  3. Be careful with the on-line divorce papers. We handle a lot of cases where clients put the wrong things in those papers, or the other spouse puts things in that are more favorable to that spouse, all without being noticed.   The on-line papers are overly lengthy and detailed, so it is easy for a spouse to slip in a small paragraph that can cause great problems to the unsuspecting spouse.   We do piecemeal or unbundled work, so we will go over papers you are doing on your own at an hourly rate, without the client needing to hire an attorney for the full case, so make sure papers are reviewed by an attorney.
  4. If you go to mediation you MAY want to have an agreement subject to review by an attorney, but not always. You need to know when you want that and when you don’t.
  5. Be mindful of protective orders. They can have immediate and serious consequences.   Spouses will fabricate stories to get custody of kids, possession of the home, control of a business, etc.  If a protective order is issued do NOT accept an invitation from the other spouse to meet, talk, email, etc., unless it is allowed by the order specifically.
  6. If separation is contemplated get advice before you are the one who leaves the marital home.
  7. Law is an area where fees are hard to estimate because of the different issues in each case, different personalities, different needs of parties, issues working with the other side, etc. Costs can be driven up by these and other forces that are out of control of your attorney. This applies to all areas of the law.
  8. Many people assume that since they are a good and virtuous person, whose position in a legal dispute is highly meritorious, they should win. It doesn’t work that way. Judges and juries don’t know you.  Just because you feel your cause is just doesn’t mean others see it that way. This is a huge mistake many people make going into any type of legal action. Many times the decision from a judge is going to come down somewhere between the positions of the two parties.