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

Additional background information on divorce and family law cases

There is the divorce process, and this provides additional background.

Divorce Waiting Period:

  • There is a 90-day waiting period that begins to run on the date the petition is filed.
  • It can be waived in certain circumstances, which we can discuss.

Commissioners:

  • Preside over divorce, paternity, and family cases in some counties.
  • They provide for resolution of most preliminary and temporary issues.
  • Commissioners act as the "gatekeepers" for the assigned Judge. 
  • In courts where there are commissioners,
    • Most hearings will be held before a commissioner who makes a recommendation, which becomes the order.
    • If either party doesn't agree with the commissioner's recommendation, a party may "object" and request that the judge rehear the motion.
    • The judge must grant a hearing, if requested, regarding custody matters.
    • Other hearings are discretionary.
    • The commissioner's recommendation is typically given deference by the judge.

Lawyers are officers of the court.

  • I must adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Utah Standards of Professionalism and Civility.
  • I will advocate your case using legal tools and strategy that are available, but within the Rules and Standards, and with appropriate courtesy afforded to all litigants, and court personnel.

You are an essential part of your lawsuit.

  • Please be prompt in getting information to me.
  • Please attend hearings.
  • Please do not contact opposing counsel or the court directly.
  • Please contact me to discuss a situation before you make any major decision related to issues in the case.
  • Please do not communicate with the other party without talking with me first, and always use email for all such communications so that there is a record of what is actually said.
  • Please read all pleadings and correspondence.
  • Please do not violate any court order.
  • Please be patient. This process sometimes takes a while. If you feel impatient, remember that this divorce decree will govern everything that happens with you, and your children until they are 18 years old.
  • Please do not involve your children in the divorce. The court will not condone a party who speaks negatively to the children about the other party, or about the divorce.
  • Please do not post about your case on Facebook or other websites.

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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.


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