Self Help in Utah Divorce Cases

Play by the Rules

Divorce is probably the most emotionally draining and stressful types of legal action.  The high emotions experienced by divorcing parties often causes them to make decisions they know they shouldn’t.  One of the most common bad decisions we see divorcing parties make is to engage in self help.

Parties need to play by the rules and abide by the orders the court has put in place in a divorce proceeding.  Improper self help decisions include:

  • Disposing of martial assets such as cash, retirement funds, life insurance, bank accounts, vehicles, boats, real property and any other marital property.
  • Denying parent time.
  • Refusing to pay child support.
  • Refusing to pay alimony.
  • Taking furniture or other household items from the marital home without a court order.

Stopping the Opposing Party from Engaging in Self Help

Divorcing parties engage in self help more often than you may think.  When that happens, the worst thing you can do is to engage in self help in order to stop your spouse from engaging in self help.  The old adage that “two wrongs do not make a right” is applicable in such situations.

Instead of using self help to stop self help you will need go through the proper legal channels.  You can bring a temporary restraining order to get emergency relief from the court.  For anything non-emergency you can rely on the temporary orders process and get a hearing date with the court to address the issues at hand.

There are some exceptions to self help that a court would likely understand, although there is no guarantee anytime you use self help.  If the life your child is in immediate danger then a court is likely to understand a violation of an order.  You wouldn’t send your child with your spouse if he is drunk or high on drugs for example.  But then again, if he is, that is a probably a violation of the court’s orders as well since most divorce orders specifically prohibit the parties from using drug or alcohol to excess.

Sometimes it is difficult to not use self help, but with the right Utah divorce lawyer on your side you will be able to rest assured that your case is being handled properly.  Contact our attorneys at 801.618.1331 if you are facing a contested divorce so that we can help you.

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