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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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David R. Hartwig Esq.

  • Sole Practitioner


Salt Lake City, UT



For more than 25 years, I have worked as an attorney in Utah, with my office in Salt Lake City. I am a sole practitioner, which means I handle every aspect of my client's case, from start to finish. I practice in a number of areas of law, such as family law (divorce, paternity, custody, parent-time, child support, and changes to previous orders), appeals of cases to the Utah Court of Appeals, and Utah Supreme Court, wills and trusts, probate, collections (both debtor and creditor), defamation, legal malpractice, and I have assisted individuals to establish corporations to handle their business needs.

I am an active member of the local legal community, contributing to Utah Legal Services and Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake among other organizations.

As part of my family law practice, I assist clients in modifying prior orders related to divorce, including child custody modification, child support modification, and alimony/spousal support modification. I also help with the enforcement of support and custody orders. On behalf of my clients and in aid of other attorneys, I handle appeals involving divorce decrees, modifications, and enforcement. I am one of the few Special Masters for domestic matters in Utah. Visit my page on my legal practice areas.

When representing people seeking to change a prior divorce order, I look at all available means for effecting the desired change. I ultimately seek to resolve the issue quickly and smoothly, while keeping my client thoroughly informed during each step of the legal process. I am trained in mediation and collaborative law, and use my knowledge in these areas to help my clients avoid the cost and emotional strain of litigation whenever possible.

Areas of Practice

  • Family Law
  • Appeals
  • Wills and Trusts
  • Probate
  • Collections
  • Defamation
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Business Law

Bar Admissions

  • Utah, 1986
  • U.S. District Court District of Utah, 1986


  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D. - 1984
    • Honors: Authored Paper on Civil Liability for Drug Abuse during Pregnancy
    • Honors: Independent Research in Psychology and the Law
  • Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, Ohio
    • Additional Course Work in Forensic Medicine, Psychiatry and the Law
  • University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
    • B.S. - 1980
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Major: Medical Technology
  • Cleveland Institute of Electronics, Cleveland, Ohio
    • Major: Electronics Technology

Representative Cases

  • Hartwig v. Johnsen, WL 2649480, 608 Utah Adv. Rep. 3, 2008 UT 40, 2008, Utah
  • Nelson v. Nelson, 2006 WL 1109782, 2006 UT App 166, 2006, Utah App.
  • Bishop v. Quintana, 2005 WL 3131587, 2005 UT App 509, 2005, Utah App.
  • Case v. Case, 103 P.3d 171, 513 Utah Adv. Rep. 3, 2004 UT App 42, 2004, Utah App.
  • Hardy v. Hardy, 776 P. 2d 917, 1989, Utah App., 1989094850
  • Davis v. Davis, 2011 UT App 311, 2011, Utah App.


  • AFCC Training in Advanced Issues in Child Custody: Complex Family Violence, Alienation, Child Sexual Abuse, and Attachment, 2009
  • American Association for Justice Mega Seminars in Salt Lake City, Utah and Reno, Nevada
  • Traversing the Trail of Alienation, 47th Annual AFCC Conference, Denver, Colorado
  • Special Master Training in Parenting Coordination: Advanced Practice, Chicago, Illinois
  • National College of Advocacy Trial Advocacy Course, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • National College of Advocacy Civil Litigation Course, National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada
  • 25th Annual Seminar “Dealing with Special Problems in Divorce” presented by the Utah Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2016
  • Attended the 25th annual Dealing with Special Problems in Divorce seminar, sponsored by the Utah Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Participant in the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts (AFCC) webinar “What Family Law Professionals Need to Know About Self-Represented Litigants”

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Utah Collaborative Law Group, Charter Member
  • Utah Supreme Court, Advisory Committee on Juvenile Procedure, Past Member
  • Utah State Bar, Solo/Small Firm Section
  • Utah State Bar, Litigation Section
  • Utah State Bar, Family Law Section
  • Medical Malpractice Prelitigation Panels, Past Member
  • Associate of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Member

Pro Bono Activities

  • Utah Legal Services, Volunteer Lawyer and Contributor to Family Law Manual
  • Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, Volunteer Lawyer

I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child’s development

• The parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents’ homes

• The parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.