To a certain extent, we are sorry that you are reading this book. If you are reading this book, it means that you, or maybe someone close to you, is seriously considering divorce. Or maybe you are already divorced, and you are considering whether you need to go back to court to get something about your divorce changed. Or maybe you have a child with someone you were never married to, and you need to get a court’s help in resolving issues between you and the other parent.
Whatever your actual circumstances are, if you are reading this book, it means that you are having some kind of problem in your family life–and that those problems are serious enough that you are considering hiring a lawyer and resolving the problems through the courts.
Although there may be other reasons to read this book, most people who will read this book will be those who are considering divorce. The decision to get a divorce is never an easy one. Most people do not even begin to consider that possibility until they have tried every other option they can think of.
You should realize that getting a divorce is not a magic bullet that will solve your problems. It is better described as the process of trading in one set of problems for another. If you have children, you will still have to interact with your former spouse on a frequent basis–probably for the rest of your life. Although child support may end when the last child graduates from high school, you will still run into your ex at various family functions which involve your children.
There are alternatives to divorce, especially marriage counseling. That kind of counseling can help you to work through problems without the pain and long-term consequences of divorce. Of course, every situation is different and you have to make the decision on whether to end your marriage.
We wrote this book for two main reasons. The first is to give people who are considering a divorce some idea of what the process will be if they decide to go forward. We also wanted to give those same people some idea of what issues are in a divorce and how those issues are likely to be resolved.
We have purposely tried to make this book easy to read and follow. That means that we have not included legal references in the book. You’ll just have to trust us that there are legal references (mostly court cases decided by the Utah courts and statutes) for everything we have put in here.
In order to make the book easy to read, we have also tried to avoid using legal jargon or making the book sound like a court brief. We can write that way when it’s appropriate, but our intended audience for this book is people who need information and don’t have a legal background.
If you decide to read this book, you need to know that we practice in Utah and so we know the law of Utah. As a result, the issues we examine and the advice we give are for people who are getting a divorce or facing some other legal issue in Utah. Although the broad outlines of family law are generally the same from state to state, the devil is in the details. And the details vary widely from state to state.
Finally, since we are lawyers, we have to say that our intention in writing this book is not to give legal advice. The circumstances of your situation will vary from the examples we use in the book.
If you need legal advice for your specific situation, you need to contact an attorney who can get the details of your situation and give you advice tailored to your individual circumstances.