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Turner & Kuhlmann - Attorneys at Law
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How can I get Temporary Alimony and Child Support while I am waiting for my Decree of Divorce?

Getting a divorce can take a lot of time and money. In a contested matter it is not uncommon for the entire process to take a year or more. Upon learning this, many people ask the following questions:

1. Who has custody of the children, and what is the other parent’s parent-time schedule in the meantime?
2. Who will pay the marital bills during this process?
3. Who gets possession of the marital home?
4. How can I protect the marital assets?

All these questions can be answered by a Motion for Temporary Orders. Utah Code Ann. 30-3-3 authorizes a Court to enter temporary orders that the parties must follow during the pendency of the divorce or parentage proceedings.

The Utah Courts Website states:

“A temporary order governs child custody, parent-time and support, alimony, property distribution, attorney fees and other matters during divorce or parentage proceedings. The parties must follow the temporary order until it is changed or until final judgment in the case. A Motion for Temporary Order may be filed with or after the petition for divorce or petition to establish parentage.”

“A temporary order is not automatic. You must give the court good reasons for granting your request. If you want the temporary order to govern joint legal or physical custody, you must include a Parenting Plan. If you want the temporary order to govern any financial payments, such as alimony, child support or attorney fees, you must include a Financial Declaration and the appropriate Child Support Worksheets.”

As the State’s site suggests, temporary orders are not a guaranteed thing. The judge will have a hearing and consider all the necessary evidence to determine whether and which temporary orders are warranted. Hearings on temporary orders are referred to as a mini-trial. As such, these hearings can become costly and may establish a status quo that the judge will look at before he enters the final Decree of Divorce. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney advise you of what the best course of action is in obtaining temporary orders. Also, it usually makes sense to try and mediate or negotiate stipulated temporary orders before you ask the Court to award temporary orders.

Call 435-656-6156, or visit www.trustedfamilylaw.com and schedule your free appointment with an experienced family law attorney today.
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5 Deadly Driving Behaviors 

According to Zero Fatalities, traffic accidents kill over 30,000 people and injure 2 million people nationwide every year.  Although we have seen a recent decline in traffic-related fatalities in the State of Utah, 256 people still lost their lives in traffic-related incidents last year, and 225 traffic-related deaths have already occurred in 2015.
   
Sadly we cannot prevent all traffic accidents and/or fatalities, but there are many things you can do to protect you and your family while driving.  Practicing defensive driving tactics, utilizing Bluetooth or hands free devises and being vigilant are all important things to do.  However, actively avoiding certain behaviors while driving may be the most effective way to protect your family.  Zero Fatalities claims that almost every crash, and resulting fatality, comes down to one or more of these 5 deadly driving behaviors:

1. Drowsy Driving; 
2. Distracted Driving; 
3. Aggressive Driving; 
4. Impaired Driving; and 
5. Not Buckling Up.

There are many campaigns, movements, organizations and governmental actions aimed at addressing each of these deadly behaviors.  For instance, it is now against the law to use a cell phone or other handheld wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle in the State of Utah. See Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-1716.  Failing to wear a seatbelt in the State of Utah is now a primary offense.  Meaning, that police are now authorized to pull you over for not wearing your seatbelt.  It is difficult to turn on a television, go to a movie, or even check your email without a friendly or sobering ad or public service announcement reminding us of the dangers of distracted or impaired driving and the importance of seat belts.
  
Unfortunately, no matter how vigilant or informed you are, or how safe you drive, another driver’s bad behavior or poor choices may result in the unthinkable.  If you or your family have been the victim of a drowsy, distracted, aggressive, or impaired driver, we can help.  Victims need and deserve compensation to piece their lives back together.  Our firm will be your advocate.  We provide everyone with a free case review.   We understand the law and will help you assert your rights.  Don’t let another driver’s bad choices continue to affect your life.  Call 435-656-6156, or visit www.turnerkuhlmann.com and schedule your appointment to speak with an attorney today.
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How to Seek a Change of Custody

You and your family are bound to experience many major life changes after your divorce decree or custody order has been entered by the court.  You or the other parent may get remarried, relocate, lose a job, etc.  Hopefully, your decree contemplates most of these occurrences, but it is impossible to anticipate all that life has to throw at you.  It may become necessary to petition the court to modify or change the order establishing legal and physical custody. 

If you would like to ask the court to modify or change a previous custody or parent-time order, Utah law states that you must file a verified petition to modify which alleges the following:

1. Admissible evidence will show that the circumstances of the child(ren) or one or both parents have materially and substantially changed since the entry of the previous custody order;

2. A modification of the terms and conditions of the previous custody order would be an improvement for and in the best interests of the child(ren); and 

3. Both parents have complied in good faith with the dispute resolution procedure (usually mediation) to resolve their dispute prior to petitioning the court.

See Utah Code Ann. 30-3-10.4

It is likely that your current decree or custody order contains a dispute resolution or mediation provision which states that, before you can petition the court to modify your decree or custody order, parents must first attempt to resolve the dispute at mediation.  If so, you will have to attempt to mediate the matter before you petition the court for a modification of the current order.  Mediation is a process wherein, an agreed upon third party acts as mediator.  The mediator facilitates settlement negotiations between the parties.  Although the mediator is not there to render a decision, the mediator should be familiar with family law and have enough experience with custody and family law issues to anticipate how a court would treat a particular case.  Our firm likes to employ the services of a retired family law judge who has many years of experience dealing with the very issues your family is facing.  This provides our clients with the opportunity of asking a judge how he would treat a specific issue, without the risks and expenses associated with trial. 
Even if your decree does not have a mediation provision, our firm encourages clients to participate in mediation before, or shortly after, you petition the court.  Mediation is a great and inexpensive way to try to resolve problems without subjecting you and your family to time-consuming and costly litigation.  It may also be a way to address unfavorable provisions in the decree that you would not otherwise be able to tie to a change of circumstance.

In any case, if you feel that it is time to change a provision of your decree of divorce or child custody order, you should talk to an experienced and trusted family law attorney.  Our firm will provide you with a free case review and let you know how best to deal with the unanticipated changes that are bound to occur after your divorce. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced family law attorney today by calling 435-656-6156.
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10 Things To Remember When You Get In A Car Accident:

What you do, or perhaps do not do, immediately following a car accident may have a great impact on your future.  An article published by FindLaw (located in the following link http://images.findlaw.com/optimost/accident-injury-law/after-a-car-accident-3.html ), sets forth some important things to keep in mind if you have been in an accident.  The following are the ten most important:

1. Stay at the Scene:  FindLaw calls this the “cardinal rule for all car accidents.”  You can face serious criminal charges if you flee the scene of an accident. Additionally, you should never leave the scene until all individuals have been attended to, and you have exchanged all the information necessary to protect yourself financially.  

2. Check on all Affected Parties:  Make sure everyone is safe from any immediate danger and that those who need medical attention receive it.  Keep anyone complaining of neck and back injuries still and stable.  If possible, it is best not to move any injured party until trained medical help arrives.

3. Call the Police:  No one wants a citation but, if there has been any property damage or injury, the police should be called and an investigation and report should be filed.

4. Exchange Information:  Get witness statements, record witnesses on your phone, have witnesses write down what they saw, take pictures, get contact information, exchange insurance information, and never apologize for anything or admit fault.

5. Call your Insurance Company:  Do not wait, call your insurance company immediately following the accident to inform them that you have been involved in an accident.

6. Seek Medical Attention:   Immediately following the accident, seek medical attention and follow all recommendations or treatments.

7. Take Pictures:  Taking pictures or videos will help preserve evidence.  There is really no excuse not to do this when practically everyone has a phone equipped with a video, camera and recorder.
  
8. Get a Property Damage Valuation:  Your insurance company or an attorney may be able to assist you in determining how to value your loss.  

9. Use Caution in Discussing the Incident:  Lose lips sink ships. Only talk to your attorney, or your insurance company about the incident.  If another party’s insurance company contacts you, refer them to your attorney.

10. Call an Attorney: You will need representation.  Most attorneys will take your case on a contingency basis, meaning that they get paid if and when you get paid.  

If you need representation, call Turner & Kullmann 435-656-6156, or visit www.trustedpersonalinjury.com and schedule your free case review today.
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Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Some people claim that it is not necessary to hire an attorney to represent you in your personal injury case.  This claim is based on the assumption that insurance companies will be more than happy to negotiate your claim with you individually.  In fact, often times the insurance adjustor will contact you and initiate the process, allowing you to negotiate your own settlement without having to go through the hassle and expense of hiring an attorney.  There are countless books and blogs dedicated to this very premise.  It is an appealing argument.  You can settle with the insurance company on your own terms and you get to keep 100% of the settlement.  The only problem with this line of thinking is that it neglects to consider the fact that insurance companies are in business to make money – not to pay out large, or even fair, settlements.  

An article produced by Bloomberg News on August 6, 2006, published online and quoted by George E. Carr, in his publication titled The Insurance Claim File: What Plaintiff Attorneys Need to Know, states:

Allstate Corporation hired McKinsey & Co. as a consultant on how to improve its “efficiency” after paying claims arising out of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  Shortly thereafter, State Farm and Farmers Group also retained McKinsey’s services.  According to the article, the consultants advised the insurers to implement deliberate strategies to underpay and delay payments of legitimate claims, and to force policy holders to go to court if [the claimant] sought a full recovery.  According to this article, the ratio of payouts to premiums is decreasing drastically over time.  Allstate’s ratio of payments to claims dropped from 79% to 58% in ten years.  

This should come as no shock.  Insurance companies need to maximize their profits.  They have to if they want to stay in business and keep their shareholders happy.  While it would be wonderful if insurance companies’ sole mission and reason for being was to insure that claimants received a full recovery of all their damages no matter the cost, the unpleasant reality is that they will do all they can to limit what they pay out in settlement.  It is truly a David and Goliath like match-up.  The claimant (David) and the giant insurance company (Goliath) battle (negotiate) to determine what amount, if any, the claimant is entitled to.  Therefore, unless you have the right tools and experience in dealing with insurance adjustors, you will most likely be leaving money on the table.  It’s just not a fair fight.  You have limited experiences and resources, you need to be paid as quickly as possible, and the insurance company have entire departments filled with experienced attorneys and staff that benefit from delay and low-ball settlement offer.   
There is really no reason to go it alone.  You must attempt to level the playing field.  Most attorneys offer at the very least a free case review or consultation.  They will let you know how to value your case and what kind of fee arrangement they can offer.  Additionally, most personal injury cases are retained on a contingent fee basis.  Meaning that the attorney would be entitled to a percentage of the money paid out by the insurance company.  It is the typical no upfront fees, and they get paid when you get paid arrangement.  Thus, attorneys have a financial incentive to get their clients as large of a settlement as possible, and to get it paid as quickly as possible.  An experienced attorney will know the tricks and stall tactics the insurance adjustor will utilize to maximize profits.  More importantly, the insurance company will know that they are not dealing with an unsophisticated claimant who does not know how much their claim is worth.  So if you find yourself at the mercy of an insurance adjustor, do yourself a favor and contact an attorney as soon as possible.      
www.turnerkuhlmann.com
 
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Do You Have a Defamation Claim?

If someone has said or written something about you or your business that you felt was incorrect, and that statement has had a negative impact, you may be able to bring a defamation claim.  Simply put, defamation is a false statement that someone says or writes about a person or entity that has a negative impact on that person’s reputation.  Before you can bring a claim for defamation you must be able to establish the following:

(1) Defamatory language on the part of the defendant;

(2) The defamatory language must be of, or concerning, the plaintiff;

(3) The defendant must publish the defamatory language to a third person; and 

(4) The plaintiff must be able to show that the publication damaged their reputation.

Additionally, if the defamation concerns a public figure, or in some way involves a matter of public concern, you must be able to prove the following:

(5) The falsity of the defamatory language; and 

(6) Fault on the defendant’s part.

Often, the most difficult element to establish in a defamation claim is damage.  Your burden of proof to show damages, and which type of damages you must prove, may depend on whether the defamatory statement is considered libel or slander.  A defamatory statement that is written or published in some permanent form is called libel.  A defamatory statement that is spoken is considered slander.  General damages are damages that are intended to compensate a plaintiff for the injury to their reputation.  Special damages, in a defamation context, means that the plaintiff must prove that they actually suffered a pecuniary (monetary), loss due to the publication of the defamatory statement.  

If the defamatory statement is considered libel, general damages are presumed and the plaintiff need not show special damages.  In slander cases injury is not presumed and the plaintiff must establish special damages, i.e. that the plaintiff suffered a pecuniary or monetary loss due to the slanderous statement.   Proving special damages can prove extremely difficult in many situations.  Even more importantly, your recovery will be limited to the damage you can prove.  

To determine whether you have a claim and if that claim is worth pursuing you should contact an attorney.  The attorneys at Turner & Kuhlmann are happy to provide a free consultation.  Call and schedule an appointment today.
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Most people are reluctant to talk to an attorney if they have what they perceive to be minor injuries.  Whether it is a fear of feeling, or being viewed as greedy, many people make the mistake of trying to handle their personal injury claim on their own as quickly as possible.  Even worse, some people do not even bother making a claim because they think the injury is too minor.  This is an extremely short-sighted and irresponsible line of thinking.  

Even if your injuries appear to be minor, you should always talk to an attorney before you decide how to handle your personal injury claim.  Most attorneys are more than happy to provide a free consultation or case review to potential clients.  You have nothing to lose but your time, and in most cases it is time well spent.   

If your injuries/claims are minor an attorney may be able to provide you with some free guidance, and perhaps more importantly, reassurance, that will enable you to handle your claim on your own.  On the other hand, even if you feel you have a relatively small claim, an attorney may see something you do not. Remember, you only get one shot to recover damages for your injuries so you have to make it count.  If you experience complications from your injuries 3 months or 3 years after you have settled your claim, you can not re-open your claim and expect to be compensated for those complications.  Once you have accepted a settlement, the case is closed.  Therefore, it is essential that you think about the long-term consequences of your injuries when you negotiate your claim.  In some cases injuries that present minor complications in the short-term can seriously affect your physical capabilities, or even appearance in the future.  An attorney can help you consider the long-term affects of your injuries.  

It is no secret that insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Therefore, insurance adjusters have to do all they can to get you to settle for as little as possible.  Do not expect the insurance adjuster to automatically place a value on your future medical needs.  If you do not ask to be totally compensated, you will not be totally compensated.  

If your injuries are serious it will be necessary to hire an attorney to place a value on your injuries.  Additionally, it is important to remember that this injury may affect how you can recover from future injuries, because now you will have preexisting conditions.  You have to recover as much as possible.  It is not greed, it is your responsibility.  Talking to an attorney before you talk to the insurance company will help to ensure that you get fully compensated.  
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WHY YOU SHOULD NOT FEAR MEDIATION

Mediation is a process that involves the parties in dispute (ideally each side is represented by an attorney) and a mediator who is retained to reach a resolution.  Mediation is not a process to determine who is right and who is wrong.  You are not trying to win an argument, or convince the mediator that the other side is wrong or will lose if the matter proceeds to trial.  It is simply an attempt to reach a resoultion.  Mediation allows the parties to retain control over the outcome of their case.  This is particularly important in family law settings. 

In Utah the legislature has mandated that in divorce cases the parties must attempt to mediate the matter before the matter goes to trial.  Therefore, if you are faced with divorce in Utah, you literally have nothing to lose by attempting to mediate the matter.  

I often counsel my clients to attempt mediation as soon as possible. Generally, the longer you wait, the more complex the issues become.  Furthermore, if a resolution is reached early in the process you are able to save valuable time and money.  

To truly take advantage of the process you have to prepare.  You have to know what your position is.  You have to know what you want.  You have to know what you are willing to walk away from, and where you should draw your line in the sand.  This often requires information from the other party.  Therefore an exchange of financial information between the parties or their counsel is generally required.  You may also need to speak with a financial adviser.  Bottom line, you can not go into mediation and expect positive results unless you are prepared.  

To prepare yourself for mediation in a divorce setting I recommend the following:

(1) Prepare a budget for life after mediation;
(2) Ask for a financial declaration from the other party;
(3) Meet with a financial adviser to plan for your future'
(4) Write down all the issues you want addressed in mediation;
(5) Take the emotion out of the decision making process; and
(6)  Meet with an attorney and prepare a proposal for the other side.

If you take the time to prepare for mediation, not only are you more likely to resolve the matter, but you will have a better understanding of your case should mediation fail.  

Mediation is not a process to fear.  You are in control.  You can end the process at any time.  Mediation is only binding if a written resolution is drafted and signed.  It is your best shot at resolving the issue to avoid countless months of costly litigation.

 
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Your health, your plans, your employment, your life can be derailed in an instant by a personal injury. Suddenly you find yourself dealing with physical and emotional pain, lost wages, and medical expenses that were not in your plans.  Additionally, the future may now appear uncertain. Even after the initial recovery period, your injuries may require medical attention later in life or may result in permanent disability. Unexpectedly, your life plans look vastly different than what you previously expected.

At Turner & Kuhlmann we can help ease the burden that has been thrust upon you. While you recover physically, let us negotiate with insurance companies, fight for your lost wages, and recover any other financial damages resulting from your injury. You can also ease your mind knowing that we work on contingency fee for personal injury cases: we don’t see a dime until you do.


Personal injury involving traffic accidents can come in many forms including auto accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and even auto versus pedestrian or bicycle accidents.

A simple slip and fall can have disastrous and long-lasting effects. Such accidents often occur because of negligence involving wet flooring, cracks and dips in the floor, poor lighting, unsecured extension cords, lack of railings on stairways, and poor warning signs. Businesses and individuals have a responsibility to prevent injuries and accidents caused by such situations.

Dog bites or other animal attacks can leave both physical and emotional scars, sometimes even death. The state of Utah employs a strict liability law, meaning that pet owners are liable for animal bites whether or not they knew the animal had a propensity to attack or if the attack was the result of their negligence. After receiving medical care for your injury, call Turner & Kuhlmann so we can help you recover medical costs, lost wages, and prepare you for any future complications the attack may entail.

Let the professionals at Turner & Kuhlmann help you through your personal injury case so that you can rest easy knowing your future will be taken care of.

Call Turner & Kuhlmann Attorneys at Law now at (435) 656-6156 to schedule a free consultation with a St. George, Utah Personal Injury attorney.
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The Utah State Legislature has passed a new "Optional Minimum Parent-Time Schedule."  If you are a non-custodial parent, and want more time with your children, you need to discuss this option with your attorney.  There are a few caveats to the statute (Utah Code Ann. 30-3-35.1), but it is definitely worth looking into.  Among other things, you will need to demonstrate the following:

that you have a strong bond with you children;
that you live in close proximity to you children;
that you have the means to accommodate the children for the additional time; and
above all, that it is in your children's best interests to modify your current parent-time schedule. 
Essentially, in addition to your one weekday you get an additional week night and your weekend visit is extended into Monday morning.  The additions may have the effect of lowering your monthly child support obligation.  Call our office today for a free consultation 435-656-6156, or visit www.trustedfamilylaw.com.
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