Get a therapist. You are going to be an emotional train wreck for a while. Even if you don’t think you are, you will be; if only for a minute. Therapy can be short term and will help you deal with your emotions and think clearly and make realistic, formulated decisions. Many employers offer short-term therapy for four to six sessions. Utah also has a confidential, free, 24/7 crisis hotline: 801-691-LIFE.
Don’t use your attorney as your therapist. Attorneys are trained to filter through the emotion of a problem and find the best legal solution possible for their client. Attorneys also charge more than therapists, so consider your economics. That being said, a good attorney will always have a tissue ready and be understanding about the hardships you are facing.
Be careful who you listen to. Your friends, neighbors, and family will all have advice about how to interact with your ex-spouse, your attorney, the court, and your children. These opinions are commonly not objective and may not take into account the legal proceedings and limitations to filing and settling a divorce.
Prepare an elevator speech about your divorce. Discussing your divorce will be hard and inevitably come up with friends, family, and coworkers. By having some sort of script to answer questions, there is less of a chance of a breakdown or awkward moments.
Prioritize your kids. Children know what is going on before parents “have the talk” about divorce. Do not talk about the other parent when with the kids. Do not use parenting time against the other parent. Try to be amicable with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It will save on legal costs, emotional costs, social costs, and help your kids through the transition of divorce.
Don’t give in just because you want to be done with the process. Divorces take longer than you ever dreamed and the longer it takes the more anxious you may get. Or you might be ready to start your next chapter. Regardless of how worn out you are, take a moment to breathe, determine if you have realistic goals, and decide if you should continue negotiations.
Holidays will be harder than you expect. With or without kids, you will have to recognize some traditions are forever gone. Once you are apart or when the kids are not at your house for Thanksgiving, make sure to create some sort of plans: visit family or friends or both, or go on a hike or UTV ride. This is not the time to Netflix and Chill and wallow or isolate yourself.
Divorce ≠ failure, incompetence, or undesirability. Divorce just means your relationship with one person is over. Stigmas still exist, but once you realize that over 1/3 of all marriages end in divorce and that many people in your community have been divorced, the stigma may be more perceived than actual.
On that note, remember to be kind. Others may not know how to react to your divorce and may not have graceful responses to your news. Do your best to limit your divorce to a phase of life followed by a new chapter of possibilities.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice, instead merely insight into the law and legal
profession. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 435.610.1431
Published in the 6/23 Wayne & Garfield County Insider.
I have a tree next to my house that has seen better days. The power company has done its work, my fence and mailbox are within four feet of it, and it’s next to the road, my spigot, garden, and house. And it’s a 60 foot box elder with some odd colors on the trunk indicating rot. So, after asking my husband multiple times if he knew someone who would be willing to cut this tree (he said no, there are too many obstacles / he would like to continue to have friends) I’ve decided to hire a tree company to remove it.
Before hiring this company, I considered the following and you should too for your next project.
Choose the right contractor. Before contacting contractors, determine the scope of your project, what you want the contractor to do and your budget. If possible, you can learn more about the type of work you want done. For example, tree removal becomes more expensive with the size of the tree, risk of rot, and obstacles next to the tree.
Call references. A good contractor will have references for you to contact. Be suspicious if the contractor fails to provide references, you cannot get a hold of the references, or the references are very respondent to your questions about the contractor. I asked my friends who they would recommend for tree removal.
Require licensure and insurance. All contractors in the state of Utah are required to be licensed and insured. Even the tree removal company though they are not building a house, or a in a specific “trade” such as plumbing, electrical, or glass.
Review the contract. The agreement should be concise, complete, and clear and contain the contractor’s name and contact information, a payment schedule, the estimated start and completion dates, what you and the contractor are individually responsible for, termination and penalty clauses, and how a change in the contract or orders will be handled. For my tree, I really only need the contractor information, agreement of when to pay and how to pay, and when it will be completed. The damage will be obvious if the tree is removed incorrectly. However, with more specific projects, you need the contract to have more details.
Get permitted. Make sure the contractor or yourself get the proper permits before starting construction. Keep a file of the paperwork.
Prevent a mechanic’s lien. A mechanic’s lien is a lien on real property that contractors have the right to place if you do not pay them as agreed by the agreement between you and the contractor. In Utah, the contractor must protect this right by filing within a certain number of days before starting the project. If the contractor fails to file its right with the state, the contractor cannot later file a mechanic’s lien on the property.
If a contractor wrongfully files a mechanic’s lien on the property, the penalties are stiff and can result in the contractor paying the owner and the contractor possibly losing their license.
If you do not remove a mechanic’s lien from the property, your credit score may be affected, and you will struggle to refinance or sell your property in the future.
If there are problems. If the contractor and you have a problem, first try to resolve it between yourselves. Have the dreaded discussion. Document all problems with pictures, correspondence, and other communications. Rely on your written contract for guidance. Complain to the state professional licensure office.
If the work is unprofessional and you and the contractor cannot agree to a remedy, you may need to file for damages in court. Further, if you need a mechanic’s lien released, you may need to contact your attorney. Always be wary if the contractor requests more money amount to fix an obvious, unprofessional problem or to remove a mechanic lien.
Pay your bills. Lastly, as a consumer, pay your bills. Like lawyers, construction companies and professionals are vilified by the very few who are unprofessional and predatory. Most problems between a client and company is a break-down in communication. So, when in doubt, always try to communicate first with the contractor and resolve the issue. Miscommunication is fixable.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice, instead merely insight into the law and legal profession. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at email@example.com.
To be published in the Wayne & Garfield County Insider, 1/25/2018.
Now that the first round of new year’s resolutions have been broken, it’s time to make a few more resolutions with the hope they will stick. As my mother always says, anything is possible in January. So here are a few more ideas.
Change all of your passwords. Cybersecurity and identity theft is real, occurs every day, and is preventable. Being in the online era, so much valuable, sensitive information is online, whether you put it there or not. Protect your information. Make sure to use different passwords for each account and write down or manage your passwords so you can remember them later. Online resources can create password generators, password management, and other tools to protect your login information. Also put a note on your calendar to change your passwords every three months.
Start thinking about taxes NOW. This is almost as unpleasant as passwords, but even more necessary. If you can provide your accountant with your files or start organizing your files earlier than later, your accountant or yourself may find more tax deductions than prior years. By reducing the stress and time crunch of tax season, you can deal with this annual chore with more grace than grimaces.
Expunge old arrests and criminal charges. If you have ever been arrested, investigated, detained, or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in the state of Utah and meet specific qualifications, you can have your record sealed. A sealed record is a court record that the public – and employers – cannot view or copy. Ask your attorney for more information or search on the Utah Courts website (utcourts.gov) to find out if and how to expunge your records.
Organize your business. January and February can be slower months for businesses. This sigh of relief and calm may reduce revenue, and it can provide time for other business tasks. City licensing fees, state licensing fees, and professional organization fees can be scheduled or paid. If you are a corporation, hold your annual meeting. Review your professional liability insurance policy. Consider renegotiating vendor contracts. Reflect on your last year of business and look for ways to increase revenue. Or you can take your much-needed break from the onerous tasks of business management and go on vacation so you are recharged and ready to go when you return.
Meet with a lawyer about that important legal issue. You know the one. You thought about it in November, but then Thanksgiving and the holidays came up without time to blink. Now is the time. Are you concerned about that boundary line? Want to start a new business but not sure where to begin? Thinking of hiring employees? Has your ex-spouse’s income changed? Do you need to get your estate in order? Your lawyer is refreshed from the holidays and has already, hopefully, created their own New Year’s resolutions.
Disclaimer: All materials in this article are prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about legal concepts. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change without notice.
A reprint from The Wayne & Garfield County Insider, 8/31/2017 issue, page 3.
Along with Brent Thorne of Richfield Rotary, Megan was interviewed about her new business, the 30th anniversary of Women in Rotary, and moving to the Sevier Valley by KSVC 980 AM, 100.5 FM - The Talk of Mid-Utah.
Listen to the interview here: