Sunday, October 12, 2008

What would you change in Utah Divorce Law?

What would you change in Utah Divorce Law? Please share with me your substantive criticism and what you propose be done to remedy the problem(s)?

Allow me to start the process with some criticisms and proposals of my own (these are in no particular order of importance):

1. Simplify the Utah Code sections governing or pertaining to divorce

2. Eliminate contradictory provisions of the Utah Code

3. Eliminate patronizing, paternalistic, parochial provisions of the code

4. Speed the divorce process without sacrificing factual discovery, accuracy, and procedural fairness

5. Get rid of Rule 26(a) and (f) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure

6. Get rid of Rule 101 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and have motion practice before domestic relations commissioners follow the procedure of URCP Rule 7.

7. Make it clear that custody evaluations are not mandatory where child custody is at issue.

8. Allow children to testify (sure, impose reasonable restrictions to prevent abuses of this right, but don't completely bar child testimony)

9. Do not force a party who does not want a custody evaluation to pay for any part of one at the commencement of the custody evaluation (sure, reserve the possibility of apportioning costs at trial, if you must).

10. Eliminate mandatory mediation

11. Make the divorce orientation course and the divorce education course for parents available in a cheap or free book form, and eliminate the requirement that one attend it on person.

1. Eliminate appointment of a guardian ad litem unless there is a prima facie showing that the children are abused or in substantial danger of being abused.

1. Enact a presumption that a divorce litigant who seeks divorce on a no-fault basis is rebuttably presumed not to be entitled to seek an award of alimony or any other form of spousal support.

I will touch on each of these in future postings, but again, as I mentioned at the beginning of this posting, I want to know what YOU suggest. No topic is too small or too big, no topic is too obscure or too sacred to be raised. The idea is to generate ideas for improving the divorce process (and improving is not synonymous with "enlarging" or "complicating").

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