Latest Blog Posts

How Is a Paternity Action Different From a Divorce

Paternity GraphicA paternity action isn’t very different from a divorce. A divorce decree will cover issues not in a paternity order, such as the division of property, debts and assets. Both the divorce decree and the paternity order will cover child custody (legal and physical), parent time, holidays, child support, medical expenses, daycare expenses, and tax deductions.

Both divorce cases and paternity cases begin with a Petition and an Answer. The next step in most cases is mediation. If mediation is mandatory both parties are required to attend mediation and the parties typically share the cost of the mediator equally.

Mediation is a great place for the parties to try and solve their issues on their own. A decision the parties reach on their own is almost always better than a decision by a judge. Judges don’t tend to be very creative – whereas the parties know their own situation and can figure out a plan that reaches the needs of their particular families. Before you sign anything that is binding and final, please consult an attorney. It can be a challenge to fix your order once it is signed by a judge.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your paternity matter, please contact an attorney with Preston, Pence & Lisonbee.

OCAP: The Pros and Cons

Person working at a computerThe Online Client Assistance Program (OCAP) offers a valuable, low cost service for people seeking to do their own divorce. This program allows people to enter their personal information and then it produces the documents needed for the divorce. OCAP works great for non-contested divorces with minimal property issues.

OCAP has some limitations. OCAP does not provide legal advice. OCAP does not let the person drafting the documents know if they are missing an issue. OCAP does not describe the short term and long terms consequences of the decisions the parties are making. OCAP does not allow for much creativity or flexibility. There are a limited number of places that the parties can add in alternative ways to settle issues.

While OCAP is valuable and can save parties a lot of money, often the parties spend the money they saved trying to fix a divorce decree (or paternity order) that does not do what they expected it to do. Usually, an attorney can assist in fixing these mistakes. However, sometimes these mistakes are permanent. One way to get the cost benefits of OCAP, but still have some protection from the common mistakes made in OCAP, is to have an attorney review the final documents before you file them with the court. This review could save you a lot of frustration and money in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your divorce, please contact us.

Do I Need to File for Probate?

memorial garden

When a person dies, their family may be left wondering if they need to go through probate or not. Probate is not always necessary or required. Usually, probate is only needed if the deceased person left property that needs to change title through a court order. For example, if the deceased person was the sole owner of some real estate, there is no one who can sign the title over to the next generation. The only way for that property to pass to the next generation is through a court order.

Probate may also be necessary if there is a dispute among the heirs or beneficiaries. If everyone cannot work things out together, then the Court will have to decide things for them through probate.

Some people want to avoid probate and plan for that through their estate planning. If you have questions about probate or avoiding probate, please give us a call.

What is Probate?


Probate is the legal process for handling someone’s estate after they die. The process begins with someone requesting that the court appoint them as the personal representative (executor). The personal representative will also provide the court with proof of the deceased person’s death and a copy of their will or evidence that they did not have a will.

Next, the personal representative will be responsible for identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property, determining the value of the property and keeping it safe, paying any taxes or debts, and distributing the remaining property to the deceased person’s heirs.

Probate involves filing documents with the court and sometimes appearing in court. A personal representative can choose to represent himself or herself through this process or he or she may hire an attorney to assist them. There is also a filing fee of $360.00 that must be paid to the court.

If you would like to know more about probate please look at our other blog articles or give us a call.

Tips for Attending the Mandatory Utah Divorce Classes

Adults in classroom

If you have children your divorce cannot become final until you take two classes.  One is the Divorce Orientation class.  This class is an hour long and costs $30.  However, you can cut this cost in half, to only $15, by taking the class within 30 days of filing the petition (if you are the petitioner) or within 30 days of being served (if you are the respondent).  The second class is the Utah Divorce Education class, which is two hours long. These classes are usually offered back to back.  This class is $35.  For both classes, you have to pay by cash.  You must be on time.  They will not let you in late.  Do not bring your children, they are not allowed.

These classes are actually pretty interesting.  The Divorce Orientation class goes over statistics about divorce and some things to consider during the process.  The Divorce Education class talks about how children handle the divorce process and gives some tips to help them.  It also gives some tips to help you as you navigate the new waters of post-divorce co-parenting.  If you attend with an open mind, you will likely learn some tips to help you as you transition from married to divorced.

If you have questions about the divorce process, please call us at (801) 820-7488.