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October 26, 2012

Guardianship of an Adult forms

IMG_1186.JPGThe Utah State Courts website has a new self help resource page on Guardianship of an Adult. This page provides a detailed summary of guardianship, a guardian's authority, and the procedures for appointing a guardian. The forms section includes forms for appointing a guardian, forms to object to the petition, and forms to appoint a temporary guardian.

To learn more about the adult guardianship process, see the Utah State Courts' YouTube video on Guardianship of an Adult.

October 10, 2012

New YouTube Video Features

YouTube.bmpThere is a new interactive feature with several of the self-help videos on the Utah State Courts' YouTube Channel. On the Landlord-Tenant Basics and the Guardianship of an Adult Basics videos, you can now view a written transcript of the video. Just select the Interactive Transcript button located below the video screen to open the transcript. The written transcript is time-stamped so you know exactly where you are in the presentation.

More video transcripts will be added as they become available.

September 12, 2012

New Spanish Resources/Nuevos Recursos en Español

The Utah State Courts website has recently translated several self-help pages into Spanish, including:

El sitio de los Tribunales de Utah ha traducido varias páginas en Español, incluyendo:

You can find all the courts' Spanish resources online here.

Usted puede encontrar todos los recursos en Español de los Tribunales de Utah aquí.

June 01, 2012

Free Forms Help

IMG_4199.jpgHaving trouble filling out court forms? So many blank lines, so much information to absorb, so many questions!

The Utah State Law Library offers free forms help every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 to 4:30 through the end of July.

Our volunteer helps people with the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) and other forms, including modification and enforcement of child support, child custody and parent-time, expungement, and name change.

While our volunteer can't tell you what words you should use, or advise you about the best way to get results, she can explain what information the form is asking for. Uncomfortable using a computer? She can type in your answers for you.

Contact us at 801-238-7990 or library@utcourts.gov to schedule a 30 minute appointment.

May 24, 2012

New Legal Clinic

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Salt Lake City has a new resource for free legal help!

Those seeking information about how expungements or outstanding warrants may affect employment can visit the LDS Employment Center on the first Thursday of each month for brief, one-on-one advise at the Employment Law Free Clinic.

The LDS Employment Center is located at 730 West 800 South. The clinic is from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Attendees should arrive no later than 6:30.

The Employment Law Free Clinic is hosted by the Pro Bono Initiative, which says about their clinics:

The purpose of our Free Brief Advice Legal Clinics is to provide brief one-on-one instruction & assistance to low-income Utahns who cannot afford legal representation. Legal volunteers cannot file for you or appear in court on your behalf. The Free Brief Advice Legal Clinics are open to any low-income Utahn on a first-come first-serve basis. Please be aware we do not make appointments. All Free Brief Advice Legal Clinics are staffed by volunteer law students and volunteer on-site supervising attorneys. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the closing time at each clinic or you will not be seen and will have to attend the next clinic.

Find a complete list of clinics throughout Utah and other legal self-help resources at the Utah State Courts Self-Help page.

May 10, 2012

30th Annual Law Day 5k Run and Walk

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Utah courts see increasing numbers of people representing themselves in their own cases. Many Utahns rely on legal clinics and legal aid programs for an understanding of the laws and court processes that affect them.

On May 19 support everyone's access to justice by participating in the Law Day 5k Run and Walk. The race starts at the Quinney Law Library and winds through the University of Utah campus.

The $25 entry fee raises funds for And Justice for All, which provides legal aid to low income and disabled Utahns. The 5k is open to walkers, runners, strollers, and anyone who wants to try the course or be a spectator.

Register online, or on the day of the race from 7:00am to 7:45am.

February 01, 2012

Order to Show Cause Forms Available Online

Order to Show Cause forms are now available online on the Utah State Courts' website.

An order to show cause is filed when a party seeks to enforce a previously established court order or decree. The main objective of the show cause hearing is to get the party who is not following the court’s order to do so. If a party is able to do what the court has ordered and does not, the court can also impose penalties, including, in extreme circumstances, a fine and time in jail.

Procedures for filing an order to show cause are similar around the state, but there are some differences. Motions for orders to show cause in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be determined initially by a court commissioner and parties should follow Rule of Civil Procedure 101. Motions for orders to show cause in Districts 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be determined by a judge. Parties in the Fifth District should follow Code of Judicial Administration Rule 10-1-50-1. Orders to show cause are filed in the same district where the original order or decree was entered.

For more information, and to access the forms, visit the Motion to Enforce Domestic Orders page.

December 22, 2011

New Financial Declaration Requirements

financial declaration.jpgThe new Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26.1 requires each party in certain domestic actions to file a financial declaration using the court-approved forms. The rule applies to the following domestic actions: divorce; temporary separation; separate maintenance; parentage; custody; child support; and modification.

Note that a certificate of service is filed with the court, but normally the parties will not file the financial declaration and attachments with the court until the documents are needed. For example, the documents will be needed by the court before any pretrial conference or trial. They will also be needed if a party asks for a temporary order. For information about asking the court for a temporary order, go here.

Read more about the financial declaration, including required attachments, time for disclosure, and sanctions for failure to disclose required information here.

December 20, 2011

New Custody Evaluation Resources

IMG_4342.jpgIf you are working through a custody dispute due to a divorce or parentage action, you might want to request a custody evaluation. The Utah State Courts recently created a new resource page that discusses what happens at a custody evaluation, how to request and select a custody evaluator and a sample custody settlement conference report.

To request a custody evaluator, file a motion with the court. Motion forms are available online here.

Custody evaluations and evaluators are governed by Rule 4-903 of the Code of Judicial Administration.

October 25, 2011

National Pro Bono Week

Probono.bmpOctober 23-29 is Pro Bono Week, a national celebration and promotion of pro bono volunteerism among attorneys.

Utah will be celebrating Pro Bono Week with a variety of activities, including free legal clinics for the public, a movie night, a Pro Bono social and a Pro Bono Jam concert.

On Tuesday, October 25, there will be a "Legal Clinic Blitz." In addition to the regularly-held Street Law Legal Clinic in Salt Lake City and Talk to a Lawyer Clinic in St. George, there will be a free legal clinic in Orem on the fourth floor of the UVU Library from 6:00-8:30 pm.

September 27, 2011

Buyer Beware - Do Your Research Before Paying for Court Forms

moneyThe Utah State Courts' website - www.utcourts.gov - provides a wealth of information and free forms.

Library staff feel terrible when patrons tell us they paid hundreds of dollars for divorce papers when we know they could have completed the paperwork using the courts' website. We feel even worse when they are told that their papers aren't sufficient. Before you pay for online forms, check our website to see whether a free, court-approved form is available.

Some of the forms provided on our website are fill-in-the-blank. You can either print a PDF version and neatly handwrite the information, or you can use the Word (in some cases WordPerfect) version and type the information. Remember, however, that there is not a form available for every situation. You may have to draft your own pleadings.

Our website also offers the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP), which guides you through a series of questions and generates a packet of papers that you file with the court. While there is a $20 fee to file papers generated with the program, OCAP is otherwise free to use and is designed to be user-friendly. OCAP is available for these common court case types:

  • Divorce
  • Parentage (child custody, support and visitation, and paternity issues, but not as part of a divorce case)
  • Landlord-tenant (for both the landlord starting eviction proceedings, and the tenant responding to an eviction case)
  • Guardianship of a minor
  • Protective orders
  • Civil stalking

Helpful Resources

  • If you have questions about how to complete forms or want feedback on papers you put together, or if you need guidance on your case, we strongly encourage you to speak with a Utah attorney or visit one of Utah's free legal clinics, at which you can speak with an attorney for free for a short amount of time.
  • Watch our 8-minute presentation, How to Read a Legal Pleading in Utah, to get a tour of basic pleading format.
  • See Form 1, Caption & Signature Block, for the format for the top and bottom portions of a court pleading.

  • June 22, 2011

    New Satisfaction of Judgment Forms

    SatisfactionofJudgment.bmpThe Utah State Courts' website has a new Satisfaction of Judgments web page.

    A satisfaction of judgment means that a debtor has paid the entire amount of the judgment and all accumulated fees, costs and interest, or that the creditor has decided not to pursue further collection efforts.

    There are forms available for the creditor to acknowledge satisfaction of judgment and for the debtor to ask the court to declare a judgment has been satisfied. Each section of forms comes with a checklist, which may answer some of your questions about these forms.

    Need help filling out a court form? Talk to an attorney or visit a free legal clinic near you.

    April 06, 2011

    New Common Law Marriage Page and Forms

    A new Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as Marriage page is now available on the Utah State Courts' website.

    This process is commonly referred to as "common law marriage," and is the recognition by the courts that a relationship is a marriage even though no wedding ceremony -- religious or civil -- took place.

    The page includes an explanation of the conditions that have to be met to qualify, reasons why you might want to ask the court for the determination, and the effect of this determination. The page provides forms for cases in which there is no dispute expected.

    If you need help filling out forms, consider hiring an attorney or speaking to a lawyer at a free legal clinic.


    March 23, 2011

    April Classes

    columnsHere is the list of free classes the Utah State Law Library is offering in April:

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, April 7th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, April 14th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Court Website & State Law Library Basics
    Friday, April 15th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, April 21st, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    Class size is limited, so registration is required. To reserve your spot:
    call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    Please Be Prompt!
    As a courtesy to our volunteer instructors, please be on time. Classes may be canceled if students are not present at the scheduled start time.

    March 18, 2011

    New Alternative Service Forms

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    Not able to find someone to serve them, even after you've tried some of the suggestions on the courts' Finding People for Service of Process page?

    The Utah State Courts' website now provides forms for asking the court to allow you to serve someone by alternative service. These forms include options for newer ways to notify someone about a court action against them, including electronic means (such as email), or social media (such as Facebook).

    If you need help filling out forms, consider hiring an attorney or speaking to a lawyer at a free legal clinic.

    March 10, 2011

    New Adoption of a Minor Stepchild Webpage and Forms

    adoption.jpg
    The Utah State Courts' website has a new Adopting a Minor Stepchild web page. The new page provides information about the process and forms.

    The primary focus of this page is on procedures when everyone involved is in agreement and cooperating. It does not include information or forms for litigating the adoption, and it does not include information or forms for other types of adoptions, such as adoptions through an agency, adoptions by other family members, or adoptions of an adult.

    If you need help filling out forms, consider hiring an attorney or speaking to a lawyer at a free legal clinic.

    March 04, 2011

    Guardianship of a Minor Presentations

    Hopscotch.JPGThe Utah State Courts' website now offers three short narrated presentations about guardianship of a minor proceedings. The presentations are divided into these broad topics:


    You'll need the free Adobe Flash Player to play these presentations.

    The State Law Library also has an 83-minute DVD of our Guardianship of a Minor Basics class, which you can watch in the library or purchase. See our Library Classes page for more information.

    You can use the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) to generate the papwerwork to start a minor guardianship case.

    December 29, 2010

    Modifying Child Custody Orders

    custody.bmpCustody of minor children is a major issue in many family law cases. Custody orders may be issued by the district or juvenile court. Custody may be established by the court as a separate action or as part of a number of different types of cases, including divorce, paternity, protective orders, or neglect and dependency.

    Sometimes parents find it necessary to ask the court to modify an existing custody order. A custody order can be modified if the court determines that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the the controlling order was made and that the change in custody would be an improvement for and in the best interest of the minor child.

    Information and forms for modification of child custody are now available on the court website.

    December 09, 2010

    New Motion Forms

    motions.jpgWe get a lot of requests for motion forms in the law library.

    A motion is a mechanism for asking the court to order something. The requests range from asking for more time to dismissing the case, from waiving filing fees or the 90 day waiting period in a divorce to granting a default judgment ... and many other topics.

    There aren't specific forms for every possible type of motion, but now there is a new Motions page on the Utah State Courts' website people can use as a guide to draft their request to the court.

    The Motions page includes information about motion practice before Utah judges and commissioners, examples of types of motions, forms for filing and for responding to a motion, and links to other resources.

    Power of Attorney: Take the Online Tour!

    Do you have questions about delegation of parental rights? Or as a guardian, if you can delegate your authority of an incapacitated adult to someone else? The Courts' website on Delegation of a Parent's or Guardian's Authority has a lot of information about this type of power of attorney, and recently we added an online narrated tour that answers many questions about the process involved in delegating authority.

    We will be adding more online narrated tours soon. If you haven't already seen it, we also recently updated the Finding Legal Help tour. This five minute audio tour shows you how to search for an attorney based on location, subject area specialty, and languages spoken. It also explains how to locate legal clinics in your area, and points out free or low-cost alternatives to retaining a lawyer.

    To view either of the narrated tours, you'll need Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. Download it here.

    November 03, 2010

    Utah's Senior Legal Helpline

    PHONESCAM.JPGAre you 60 years old or over? Do you have a legal problem? Did you know there is a free legal service available for you by telephone?

    Utah's Senior Legal Helpline is a toll-free, statewide legal information, advice, and referral service for Utah residents 60 and over. You can call 1-800-662-1772 between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday to get help in the areas of consumer issues, elder abuse, estate planning, housing and public benefits.

    Rather talk to someone in person? Some senior centers offer free in-person legal clinics. In Salt Lake County, contact your local senior center to schedule a 20 minute consultation with an attorney. In Roosevelt, there is a free legal clinic held the second Wednesday of each month, 3:00-5:00 pm, at the Roosevelt Senior Center, 50 East 200 South. In St. George, you can make an appointment to speak with a volunteer attorney at the St. George Senior Center, 245 North 200 West, by calling 435-634-5716.

    Of course, there are free legal clinics offered throughout the state, many of which aren't limited to those over 60. A complete listing is provided on the courts' Legal Clinics, Agencies & Organizations page.

    October 20, 2010

    Utah Celebrates Pro Bono Week

    pro_bono_cel.jpgOctober 24-30 is Pro Bono Week, celebrating free legal assistance to people who can't afford to hire attorneys and recognizing those who provide such services.

    There are a variety of free legal clinics for the public being offered throughout the state during Pro Bono Week, including the new Debtor's Counseling Clinic and a one-time legal clinic being held at the Utah Valley University Library the evening of October 26th. Call the UVU Legal Studies office for more information: 801-863-8134.

    There are several events scheduled for attorneys, including an opening ceremony, a free film screening, a pro bono social, and a one-hour CLE on Family Law Basics.

    Pro Bono Week is celebrated nationwide. Check out the ABA's National Pro Bono Celebration site to find out about events nationwide.

    October 19, 2010

    November Classes

    columnsHere is the list of free classes the Utah State Law Library is offering in November:

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday November 4th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Not offered in November because of the Veterans' Day holiday

    Court Website & State Law Library Basics
    Friday November 12th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday November 18th, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    Class size is limited, so registration is required. To reserve your spot:
    call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    Please Be Prompt!
    As a courtesy to our volunteer instructors, please be on time. Classes may be canceled if students are not present at the scheduled start time.

    October 05, 2010

    New Debtor's Counseling Clinic

    collecting.jpgThe Utah State Bar, Utah Legal Services and the Pro Bono Initiative of the S.J. Quinney College of Law are co-sponsoring a new debtor's counseling clinic.

    This clinic will be held the fourth Thursday of the month from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 400 E 210 S, in the Conference Room on Level 3.

    This clinic will provide help in the areas of bankruptcy, collections and credit issues.

    August 18, 2010

    September Classes

    columnsHere is the list of free classes the Utah State Law Library is offering in September:

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday September 2nd, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday September 9th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Court Website & State Law Library Basics
    Friday September 10th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday September 23rd, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    June 03, 2010

    Emancipation in Utah

    ct frontview.jpgIn 2006, the Utah State legislature passed a law that provides statutory provisions for minors age 16 and older to petition the Utah Juvenile Court for emancipation. Prior to 2006, emancipation of a minor only existed in common law and was granted only in extraordinary circumstances. For more information about the initial passage of the law, see The "Lost Boys" Law: Governor Signs Emancipation Bill to Help Homeless Teens. The Utah Attorney General's office also provides more information about emancipation on the Youth 411 page.

    Under the Emancipation of a Minor Act, if the court grants emancipation, the parental responsibilities of a parent, custodian or guardian are terminated. Utah Code 78A-6-805. However, even if the minor is emancipated, the minor does not acquire all legal rights of an adult. Most notably, an emancipated minor is not considered an adult under certain criminal laws and where there are other laws about age requirements, including voting and the use and purchase of alcohol and tobacco. Utah Code 78A-6-805.

    At a court hearing, the court determines the best interest of the minor by considering the following factors:
    1) whether the minor is capable of assuming adult responsibilities; 2) whether the minor is capable of living independently of his or her parents, guardian, or custodian; 3) opinions and recommendations from the guardian ad litem, parents, guardian, or custodian, and any other evidence; and 4) whether emancipation will create a risk of harm to the minor. A declaration of emancipation is made if the court determines that there is clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the minor to grant it. Utah Code 78A-6-804.

    To petition the court for emancipation, you can use these free forms provided by the Utah State Courts.

    May 21, 2010

    June Classes

    columnsHere is the list of free classes the Utah State Law Library is offering in June:

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday June 3rd, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday June 10th, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Court Website & State Law Library Basics
    Friday June 11th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

    Guardianship of a Minor Basics
    Thursday June 17th, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday June 24th, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    May 18, 2010

    New Self-Help Resource: Parent Coordinator page

    A new self-help resource page has been added to the Utah State Courts' website: the parent coordinator program is designed to assist parties who need need to resolve parenting issues, such as establishing a parent time plan or resolving conflicts not covered by the parent time plan.

    The parent coordinator page describes the parent coordinator's duties, how to find a parent coordinator and how parent coordinators are paid. Also included are the forms to request and respond to a parent coordinator request and the forms that are completed by the parent coordinator. The parent coordinator is appointed by the court either on the court's own motion or by motion of either party (even if there is no stipulation for the appointment). The program is similar to mediation but the parent coordinator has special expertise. While this program is not mandatory, if there is a court order for the parents to work with a parent coordinator, then the parties should follow the order.

    Parent coordinators are governed by the Rule of Judicial Administration 4-509.

    April 23, 2010

    Lawsuits Involving Military Service Members

    hillafb.JPEGWhen a military service member is involved in civil litigation, federal law provides certain rights and protections for the service member. With Hill Air Force base and other military installations in Utah, Utah State Courts created a web page with legal information for service members, including information on stays, default judgments, rights under Utah law and legal forms. More resources for service members and veterans are found through the Courts' Self-Help Resources page here.

    If you are an attorney in Utah willing to represent a service member facing default judgment, you can volunteer by filling out this entry form. For more information about volunteering, visit the Service Member Attorney Volunteers page.

    March 22, 2010

    April Classes

    columnsOur April class list is here! Full descriptions of these classes are available on our website.

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 4/1, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, 4/8, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

    Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
    Friday, 4/9, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

    Guardianship of a Minor Basics
    Thursday, 4/15, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, 4/22, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    March 15, 2010

    New Modifying Parent-Time Forms

    The new Utah State Courts' web page on Modifying Parent-Time provides information about jurisdiction (does the court have legal authority to hear the case?), default judgments and the forms necessary to both request and respond to modifying parent-time.

    Use these modification forms only if you already have an original order controlling parent-time. Note that if parents do not agree to a parent-time schedule, the legislature provides for minimum parent-time for both children under 5 and children 5 to 18 years of age.

    If you need assistance filling out these forms, consider hiring an attorney or speaking to a lawyer at a free legal clinic.

    March 04, 2010

    Self-Help Resources Page Redesigned

    The Utah State Courts' Self-Help Resources page has been redesigned so it is easier to location information. Now you can select the category of information you're looking for - whether it is Criminal Justice, Housing or Life Planning and Probate - and then narrow your results by specific topic. You can also easily access the Online Court Assistance Program from this page. The Self-Help Resources page also links to outside pages that may be of particular interest to self-represented parties, including U.S. Government agency links and consumer protection links.

    February 26, 2010

    Default Judgments

    The new Utah State Courts' page on Default Judgments provides information about what is required to ask for a default judgment, including when the person who does not answer is in the military. Servicemembers have special rights that protect them from default judgments while they are on active duty and may not be aware of the pending case.

    When you ask for a default judgment, you will be asked to provide proof that the other party is or is not in the military. If you have the person's name and social security number, you can easily verify this information through the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center.

    For more information on default judgments, including forms, visit the Courts' page on Default Judgments.

    February 19, 2010

    Utah Foreclosure Prevention

    Foreclosure-Invoices.JPGDo you have questions about the foreclosure process in Utah? HUD-approved counseling agencies provide foreclosure information, counseling and classes to help Utahns work with mortgage lenders to stay in their homes. The counseling agencies also discuss your options if staying in your home isn't possible.

    State-wide foreclosure prevention classes are available through the Housing Education Coalition of Utah and partner agencies. Class dates and times have been updated through June. The Utah Foreclosure Prevention website also provides links to other state and federal resources.

    Want to know more? The Utah State Courts' site on foreclosure discusses mortgage fraud and predatory lending and links to resources for owners whose home may be foreclosed as well as investors who want to buy foreclosed property. If you're at the law library, you can read "The Foreclosure Survival Guide" or check if your local public library has it available for checkout.

    January 29, 2010

    Going to Court

    The Utah State Courts offers a new webpage to help you prepare for your day in court and to present your claim or defense if you are representing yourself. You will find information about preparing for a hearing, presenting your evidence, and writing up an order for the judge to sign. There are helpful tips about how to find the courtroom, where to stand, how to speak to the judge and others in the courtroom, and how to arrange for disability accommodations or interpreters. And, there are links to other useful resources that can help you be confident about going to court on your own.

    January 19, 2010

    Februrary Classes

    columnsOur February class list is here!

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 2/4, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
    Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, 2/11, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
    Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

    Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
    Friday, 2/12, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    Guardianship of a Minor Basics
    Thursday, 2/18, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, 2/25, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    January 06, 2010

    New Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill

    Would you know how to handle your legal and financial matters if you, or a loved one, became seriously ill or injured? Planning ahead and understanding what steps to take to get your affairs in order are important issues for all of us. An extremely useful and informative free guide is now available.

    The Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill explains seven key steps in a brief, clear way while offering additional tips and resources for readers looking for more detailed information and guidance. The Guide is a project by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging commissioned by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

    The newly released guide is a valuable resource providing critical tools that help readers understand their options, make informed decisions, and find resources concerning paying for health care, long term care, patient rights, benefits, property ownership, legal tools such as powers of attorney, wills, trusts, and more.

    The free guide is available online.

    December 22, 2009

    Finding an Attorney in Utah

    IMG_2832.jpgRather than searching the phone book for an attorney, you can use the Utah State Bar's Find a Lawyer Directory to locate an attorney based on specialty, location, languages spoken and the number of years in practice. If you've been referred to an attorney, you can find their contact information by entering their name in the search box on the Utah State Bar Attorney & Associate Member Directory Service page.

    Some attorneys in Utah practice "limited representation" - this means that the attorney and client agree that the attorney will provide specific services for a predetermined fee. The agreement might state that the attorney will coach the client for an upcoming court hearing or the attorney will draft an initial petition. Once that specific task has been completed, the attorney no longer represents the client unless they enter into a new agreement for additional services. This type of agreement is often cheaper than hiring an attorney for the entire length of your case. To search for an attorney who practices "limited representation," choose the Advanced Search Form and then check the boxes by "Contracts - Limited Representation," "Divorce - Limited Representation," "Estate Planning - Limited Representation" and/or "Family - Limited Representation." Other categories may be added at a later date.

    Not interested in hiring a lawyer? Check out the Finding Legal Help page for information about other ways to settle your dispute or find a free legal clinic.

    While court employees aren't allowed to refer you to a specific lawyer, if you need assistance in using any of these referral sources, contact the law library. We're happy to help.

    December 14, 2009

    January Classes

    columnsOur January class list is here!

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 1/7, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
    Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, 1/14, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
    Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

    Guardianship of an Adult Basics
    Thursday, 1/21, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, 1/28, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    November 16, 2009

    December Classes

    columnsOur December class list is here!

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 12/3, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, 12/10, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

    Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
    Friday, 12/11, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    October 09, 2009

    New on OCAP: Protective Orders for Minor Children and Enforcement of Domestic Orders

    OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program, offers an interactive electronic tool to prepare the documents needed for several types of civil actions in Utah's state courts. For example, among the existing programs are divorce, parentage, and guardianship of a minor child.

    Now available are two new programs. One provides the court documents to try to obtain a protective order on behalf of a minor child. You can choose to use either OCAP or to download fill-in-the-blank forms already available on the court website.

    OCAP's new enforcement of domestic orders system provides documents required to ask the court to enforce existing domestic orders. It offers help with preparing orders to show cause, responses to orders to show cause, registrations of foreign orders, as well as several others.

    October 06, 2009

    Parenting Plan Form Now Available on Court Website

    A parenting plan outlines how parents who are now living separately will raise their children. It encourages parents to think ahead about how they will make decisions and resolve disagreements. A parenting plan is required in Utah for shared parenting or custody arrangements and is permitted in other parenting arrangements approved by the court.

    Parents in a domestic relations case must file a parenting plan whenever a party asks the court to create or change a shared parenting arrangement. Any arrangement other than full legal and physical custody held by one parent is a shared parenting arrangement.

    Parenting plans are part of the Online Court Assistance Program for divorce or parentage actions. However, sometimes parents need to create a parenting plan on their own or are ordered to do so by the court. Now available on the court website is a stand-alone parenting plan form. Information about the legal requirements of a parenting plan and links to further resources are also available on the website.

    September 21, 2009

    October Classes

    columnsOur October class list is here!

    Juvenile Court Basics
    Thursday, 10/1, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include child welfare proceedings, delinquency proceedings, rights of juveniles and the role of the Guardian ad Litem.

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 10/8, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, and an overview of appealing a small claims case.

    Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
    Friday, 10/9, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    Guardianship of an Adult Basics
    Thursday, 10/15, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, 10/22, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

    New class coming in November ...
    Collecting a Judgment Basics
    Thursday, 11/12, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include identifying a debtor's property, writs of garnishment and execution, exemptions and satisfaction of judgment in civil and criminal cases.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    September 01, 2009

    Common Law Marriage in Utah

    UPDATE: (April 2011) Forms and information about "common law marriage" are now available on the Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as a Marriage webpage.

    -----------------------------

    Common law marriage in Utah is the recognition by the Courts that a relationship between a man and a woman is a legal and valid marriage even if no legal wedding ceremony--religious or civil--took place.

    The Utah Code regarding common law marriage states that parties may petition the court to recognize a contract between a man and woman who
    * are of legal age and capable of giving consent;
    * are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage under the provisions of this chapter;
    * have cohabited;
    * mutually assume marital rights, duties, and obligations; and
    * who hold themselves out as and have acquired a uniform and general reputation as husband and wife.

    The petition for recognition of common law marriage must be made during the relationship or within a year after the end of the relationship, including if one party dies.

    Forms and information about common law marriage are available on the Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as a Marriage webpage.

    For more information about marriage in Utah, visit the Utah State Courts page on marriage.

    August 21, 2009

    Registering Foreign Orders

    If you have a child support or child custody court order from another state and you want to either enforce or modify that order in Utah, you must first register that order with an appropriate Utah court. This process is often referred to as "registering a foreign order."

    Instructions and forms to register foreign child support and child custody orders are now available on the Utah State Courts website at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/family/foreign_order.

    Modifying Child Support Orders

    Forms to ask the court to modify a child support order are now available on the Utah State Courts website at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/family/modification/child_support/. The site also provides information on how to use the forms and how to calculate child support amounts.

    For help with calculating child support, you can use the online calculator or stand-alone worksheets.

    August 20, 2009

    September Classes

    columnsOur September class list is here!

    Small Claims Basics
    Thursday, 9/10, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include the small claims process, Rules of Small Claims Procedure, small claims forms, an overview of collecting a judgment and appealing a small claims case.

    Resources for People Representing Themselves in Utah's State Courts
    Friday, 9/11, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    Guardianship of a Minor Basics
    Thursday, 9/17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Topics include who can be a guardian, why you might want a guardianship, the difference between a guardianship and conservatorship, the rights and responsibilities of a guardian, how to request a guardianship appointment, and how to terminate a guardianship appointment

    Landlord-Tenant Basics
    Thursday, 9/24, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    Basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

    All classes are held in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    To register for these free classes call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov.

    August 17, 2009

    Report Bankruptcy Fraud & Foreclosure Scams

    If you suspect you are the victim of bankruptcy or foreclosure fraud, you can report the suspected business or person to the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees.

    For suspected bankruptcy fraud cases, the U.S. Trustee Program requests that you provide as much information as possible, including:
    "* Name and address of the person or business you are reporting.
    * The name of the bankruptcy case, case number, and the location of where the case was filed.
    * Any identifying information you may have regarding the individual or the business.
    * A brief description of the alleged fraud, including how you became aware of the fraud and when the fraud took place. Please include all supporting documentation.
    * Identify the type of asset that was concealed and its estimated dollar value, or the amount of any unreported income, undervalued asset, or other omitted asset or claim.
    * Your name, address, telephone number, and email address. You are not required to identify yourself, though it is often helpful to do so if questions arise."

    Additionally, the U.S. Trustee Program warns people faced with foreclosure to proceed carefully if a person or business:
    "* Calls itself a "mortgage consultant," "foreclosure service," or similar name.
    * Contacts or advertises to people whose homes are listed for foreclosure.
    * Collects a fee before it provides services to you.
    * Tells you to make your home mortgage payments directly to the individual or company.
    * Tells you to transfer your property deed or title to the individual or company."

    For more information and to report suspicions of fraud, contact the local U.S. Trustee office by phone at 801-524-5734 or by email.

    August 08, 2009

    Annulment Law in Utah

    The Utah State Courts' web page on Getting a Divorce in Utah provides information about the difference between divorce and annulment, and points out that there are both statutory and common law reasons why the court may grant the annulment.

    Note that annulment laws differ from state to state. You must consult the laws of Utah to determine if you meet any of the criteria for annulment. Even if any or all of the grounds for annulment exist, it is still in the judge's discretion whether or not to grant the annulment.

    The grounds for annulment include:
    * Where the marriage is prohibited or void under Title 30, Chapter 1, Section 2, which deals with age requirements, prior marriages and divorces, and persons of the same sex.
    * Where the marriage is incestuous, and therefore void.
    * Common law grounds include fraud, misrepresentation, and failure to consummate the marriage.

    Utah laws make no mention of a minimum or maximum amount of time for a marriage to have existed in order to petition the court for an annulment.

    At this time, no Court-approved annulment paper work is available. If you find sample pleadings online, you should consult the Rules of Civil Procedure to ensure your documents conform to Court Rules. You should also consider consulting with an attorney, whether at a free legal clinic or through paid representation.

    July 17, 2009

    Child Protective Orders

    Under Utah law, any interested adult may ask the Juvenile Court for an order of protection for a minor child less than 18 years of age if that adult believes the child is being physically or sexually abused or is at imminent risk of harm and in need of protection. Children who are at least 16 years old can apply on their own for an order of protection using adult protective order forms and filing them in the DIstrict Court.

    Child protective order forms have been updated recently and are now available on the court website. One important addition is the Service Assistance Form found on the first page of the Verified Petition. This form provides law enforcement with information about the parties and is particularly useful in helping find a respondent to serve the court papers on him or her. The information on the Service Assistance Form is not part of the court public file and is provided only to law enforcement.

    Information about protective orders is available in English and Spanish.

    July 14, 2009

    Requesting a Court Transcript Online

    transcript.jpg

    The Utah State Courts' website now has a transcript information page. Written transcripts for official purposes must be requested online using the new Transcript Program, listed under Online Services.

    If you want to listen to a hearing but do not need a transcript, you can buy a CD recording of the proceeding from the court by contacting the judicial assistant for the judge that heard the case. Use the court's online directory, and either search for the judge by name, or choose the court where your case was heard. Judicial assistants are listed to the right of each judge's name.

    You will need to download the software program FTR onto your computer in order to play the CD. The court's web page on Verbatim Copies of Court Hearings provides more information.

    You can also play CDs at the law library -- our public computers have FTR dowloaded.

    July 10, 2009

    Collecting a Judgment

    moneyYou’ve won your case ... but how do you get your money?

    Unfortunately, winning your case is only one step in the process, and collecting the judgment can be more difficult than winning it. If you are lucky the party will pay the judgment. Otherwise, you may have to go back to court to try to get the party to pay what s/he now owes you.

    The court does not collect the judgment for you, but does provide tools to help you collect the judgment. Our Collecting a Judgment web page describes the different ways you can collect a judgment, such as a Writ of Execution or a Writ of Garnishment, as well as the process for finding out about the debtor's assets. That process is called a "supplemental proceeding" or "supp order."

    The person to whom the judgment is owed is the creditor. The person who owes the judgment is the debtor. The creditor has eight years to collect a judgment from the debtor. (Utah Code Ann. §78B-2-311).

    July 06, 2009

    Representing Yourself in U.S. Tax Court

    If you are representing yourself in U.S. Tax Court, check out the Tax Court's web site, which contains a wealth of information for self-represented parties.

    The Taxpayer Information link provides information about filing a petition and what to expect before, during, and after the trial. And recently, video explanations have been added to help self-represented parties understand the petition process and pre- and post-trial matters.

    If you need legal assistance, check out the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic list for Utah.

    July 02, 2009

    New Book: The Criminal Law Handbook

    KYR_icon.gif
    We've just received the 10th edition of Criminal Law Handbook.

    This Nolo book covers topics including talking to the police, search and seizure, arrest, eyewitness identification, book and bail, criminal defense lawyers, criminal court, arraignments, discovery, fundamental trial rights, basic evidence rules, plea bargains, sentencing, appeals, juvenile courts and prisoners' rules.

    Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

    Many public libraries carry Nolo titles - check your local library catalog to see if they have this or other books written for non-lawyers.

    June 26, 2009

    Advance Health Care Decision Making

    Planning ahead for physical and mental incapacity is an important issue for all of us. Utah law provides suggested forms and instructions for advance health care directives and the appointment of an agent to make health care decisions for an adult who loses the capacity to communicate. You can link to Utah’s forms and more information at http://aging.utah.edu/utah_coa/directives/ , or directly from the court website at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/seniors/#Advance.

    The Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services provides information and forms about advance health care decision making including a very useful Tool Kit that helps people think through their wishes and how to express them in meaningful ways. Go to http://www.hsdaas.utah.gov/advance_directives.htm

    Utah law also provides for a mental health directive to help people with mental illness plan ahead for such tough decisions as commitment to treatment and medications. Go to more information on the Nami Utah Web site at http://www.namiut.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62&Itemid=52, or view Utah’s laws and sample Declaration for Mental Health Treatment form at Utah Code 62A-15-1001 to 1004, http://le.utah.gov/UtahCode/section.jsp?code=62A-15.

    On the national front, the Secretary of Health and Human Services sent a comprehensive report to Congress this week entitled “Advance Directives and Advance Care Planning.” The report, requested by Congress in 2006, focuses on (1) the best ways to promote the use of advance directives and advance care planning among competent adults as a way to specify their wishes about end-of-life care; and (2) addressing the needs of persons with disabilities with respect to advance directives. You can link to the report at http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2008/ADCongRpt.htm. It includes an excellent literature review on every aspect of advance care planning, analyses of key ethical and legal issues, and a discussion of opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of advance care planning and advance directives.
    The report is particularly timely as health care reform is in the public policy forefront, and several bills are pending in Congress regarding advance care planning and improving care near the end of life.

    June 24, 2009

    New Book: The Employer's Legal Handbook

    EMPL_icon.gifWe've just received the latest edition of The Employer's Legal Handbook.

    This Nolo book covers topics including hiring, personnel practices, wages and hours, employee benefits, taxes, family and medical leave, health and safety, illegal discrimination, workers with disabilities, termination, employee privacy, independent contractors, and unions.

    Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

    Many public libraries carry Nolo titles - check your local library catalog.

    June 19, 2009

    Who Can I Represent?

    You can represent yourself in court if you choose to but you cannot represent another person. For example, you can represent yourself in your own divorce but you cannot represent your friend in her divorce. Most businesses are legally "persons." Therefore, you cannot represent a corporation, partnership or other business entity. For example, the manager of an apartment building cannot represent the property owner in an eviction. That would be representing another person. If the property is owned by a business, then the business must be represented by a lawyer because the business itself is a "person." If the property is owned by a natural person, then the owner can represent herself or himself.

    A parent or guardian can "appear" on behalf of a minor child or protected person, which means the parent takes the place of the child as the real party in interest, but usually a parent or guardian cannot "represent" a child or a protected person. In juvenile court, you can ask the judge for permission to represent a child or protected person. And in a petition for a child protective order any "interested" person may represent the child.

    For the special rules about representing a party in a small claims case, see our webpage on Small Claims. For more information on what it means to practice law, see Rule 14-802. Authorization to practice law. And see our webpage on Self-Help Resources for more information and forms if you are interested in representing yourself.

    June 12, 2009

    New Forms: Waiver of Divorce Education Requirements

    Utah law requires divorcing parents to attend a divorce orientation class and a divorce education class before the judge will sign a divorce decree.

    Attendance of these classes can be waived by the judge in some circumstances. Information and all the forms needed to ask the judge to waive the required classes are now available on the court web page on divorce. The forms are also found in the online divorce program (OCAP).

    New Forms: Waiving the 90-Day Waiting Period in Divorce Cases

    Utah law requires that parties wait 90 days after filing a divorce petition before a divorce decree can be granted. This waiting period can be waived by the court for good cause. And, the waiting period does not apply to parents who attend the Divorce Education and Divorce Orientation classes.

    The forms to ask the court to waive the waiting period are now available for easy download on the court web page on divorce. In addition, forms are now available to oppose the waiver of the waiting period. The waiver forms may also be found in the online divorce program (OCAP).

    New Web Page and Forms: Filing Fees and Fee Waivers

    clip_image002.jpgThere's a new web page explaining filing fees and fee waivers. All forms required for asking the court to waive filing fees are available on this page as well.

    There are usually fees that you must pay whenever you start a lawsuit by filing a complaint or petition. You can ask the judge to waive the fees but you must prove to the judge that you cannot pay them.

    You can also link to the fee waiver web page and forms by going to "Forms and Instructions" on the Self-Help Resources webpage.

    June 02, 2009

    New Book: Every Tenant's Legal Guide

    We've just received the latest edition of Every Tenant''s Legal Guide.

    This Nolo book provides an overview the rights and responsibilities of tenants.

    Our Law Books for Non-Lawyers handout lists other self-help books we have in the library.

    May 29, 2009

    When Disasters Hit

    When disasters hit, people need immediate help getting medical treatment, food, water, clothing, and shelter. But, people also need help with a wide range of legal issues related to those disasters. Here is a list recently posted by Matthew Burnett on www.techno.la of some national online resources on disaster law:

    DisasterLegalAid.org – A national disaster law resource for both lawyers and the public by the American Bar Association, Legal Services Corporation, National Legal Aid and Defender Association and Pro Bono Net.

    KatrinaLegalAid.org for Katrina-specific resources.

    ABA Disaster Law Resources – Legal information for victims and lawyers about disaster preparedness, resources and recovery by the American Bar Association, including the ABA’s Principles for Rule of Law in Times of Major Disaster (PDF) and the State Implementation of ABA Model Court Rule on Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster (PDF).

    Disasters & the Law Database – An excellent database of disaster law resources by the UC Berkeley School of Law.

    Immigrants and Disaster Assistance - Fact sheets, issue briefs, advocacy resources, articles, reports, and community education materials by the National Immigration Law Center, as well as links to disaster resources from other nonprofits and government agencies.

    May 14, 2009

    Tonight: Small Claims Basics

    moneyThinking about filing a small claims case? Want to learn more about the small claims process in Utah?

    The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class for the public about small claims cases tonight. Topics include:

    • Small claims process
    • Rules of Small Claims Procedure
    • Small claims forms
    • An overview of collecting a judgment
    • Appealing a small claims case

    When
    Tonight - Thursday, May 14th
    5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

    Instructor
    Tim Shea, Senior Staff Attorney, Utah State Courts

    Space Still Available!
    Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    May 13, 2009

    New Web Page and Forms: Changing Lawyers

    changing_lawyers.jpgThere's a new Changing Lawyers web page on the court's website that explains the issues surrounding the withdrawal of an attorney, substitution of counsel or notice of appearance, and provides forms for these situations.

    This page is linked from our Finding Legal Help page, which provides a number of suggestions for ways to deal with legal issues.

    New Form: Proof of Service

    service pageThere's a new Proof of Service form available on the Utah State Courts' website. It's linked from our Service page, which is one of many resources you can access from the Self-Help Resources page.

    Another useful service-related resource is our Finding People for Service of Process page, which offers nearly two dozen suggestions for ways to find people to notify them about a lawsuit filed against them.

    Class: Guardianship of an Adult Basics

    IMG_1186.JPGAre you caring for your mother who can no longer make decisions about her care? Are you responsible for a disabled adult child? Do you have questions about how to establish a guardianship for an adult?

    The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class for the public about asking the court for a guardianship of an adult. Topics include:

    • Who can be a guardian
    • Why you might want a guardianship
    • The difference between a guardianship and conservatorship
    • The rights and responsibilities of a guardian
    • How to request a guardianship appointment
    • How to terminate a guardianship appointment

    When
    Thursday, June 18th
    5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

    Where
    Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street

    Instructor
    TantaLisa Clayton, Attorney, Utah Legal Services

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    May 12, 2009

    Class: Landlord-Tenant Basics

    IMG_0895.jpg
    The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class for the public about landlord-tenant law in Utah. The class will cover the basic rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, as well as provide a description of the eviction process.

    When
    Thursday, June 25th
    5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

    Where
    Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street

    Instructor
    Ken Bresin, Attorney, Utah Legal Services

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    May 11, 2009

    Reminder: Filing Fee Changes Effective May 12th

    reminder.jpg As a reminder, some of the court's civil filing fees will increase on Tuesday, May 12th.

    You can see all the fee changes by reading the enrolled copy of Senate Bill 184.

    A few sample increases:

    • Divorce or Separate Maintenance - increasing from $155 to $310
    • Expungement - increasing from $65 to $135
    • Garnishment - increasing from $35 to $50
    • Modification of a divorce decree - increasing from $40 to $100
    • Trial de novo from a Justice Court or small claims case - increasing from $75 to $225
    The list of court filing fees on the court's website will be updated to reflect the new fees tomorrow.

    May 08, 2009

    New Resource - Answering a Complaint or Petition

    answer.jpg
    There's a new page on the Utah State Courts' website which provides information about answering a complaint or petition and an Answer form for civil matters.

    This is one of many resources you can access from the Self-Help Resources page.

    May 01, 2009

    Small Claims Procedures and Forms

    The Utah State Courts webpage on Small Claims has been updated. The new page contains loads of information about handling small claims cases and forms for all aspects of a small claims matter.

    April 29, 2009

    Class: Juvenile Court Basics

    crayons.jpgWant to learn about Utah's juvenile justice system? The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class about Utah's juvenile courts. Topics include:

    • Child Welfare proceedings
    • Delinquency proceedings
    • Rights of juveniles
    • Role of the Guardian ad Litem

    When
    Thursday, May 28th
    5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

    Where
    Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street

    Instructor
    Whitney Kania, Juvenile Court Law Clerk, Utah State Courts

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    April 27, 2009

    National Crime Victims' Rights Week

    09_ncvrw_icon.jpgApril 26 - May 2, 2009 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

    This year marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), 42 U.S Code §10601 et seq.

    Utah has several services available for victims of crime:

    There are also several national organizations:

    April 23, 2009

    Tonight: Landlord/Tenant Law

    IMG_0895.jpg

    You are invited to a free introductory class on landlord/tenant law in Utah, presented by Fred Anderson, an attorney at Utah Legal Services. There will be plenty of time for questions, so if you're a landlord OR tenant, bring your "What if..." and "Can they..." questions!

    When: Tonight (4/23) at 7 p.m.
    Where: West Jordan Library (1970 West 7800 South)

    If you have any questions, please call the Utah State Law Library at 801-238-7990.

    Class: Guardianship of a Minor Basics

    hopscotch Are you a grandparent who needs to register a grandchild in school? Are you caring for someone else's child and want to be sure you can authorize medical treatment if necessary? Do you have questions about how to establish a guardianship for a minor child?

    The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class about establishing a guardianship for a minor. Topics include:

    • Who can be a guardian
    • Why you might want a guardianship
    • The difference between a guardianship and conservatorship
    • The rights and responsibilities of a guardian
    • How to request a guardianship appointment
    • How to terminate a guardianship appointment

    When
    Thursday, May 21st
    5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

    Instructor
    Mary Jane Ciccarello, Staff Attorney, Utah State Courts

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    April 22, 2009

    Small Claims Class

    moneyThinking about filing a small claims case? Want to learn more about the small claims process in Utah?

    The Utah State Law Library is offering a free class for the public about small claims cases. Topics include:

    • Small claims process
    • Rules of Small Claims Procedure
    • Small claims forms
    • An overview of collecting a judgment
    • Appealing a small claims case

    When
    Thursday, May 14th
    5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

    Instructor
    Tim Shea, Senior Staff Attorney, Utah State Courts

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    April 20, 2009

    Classes for Self-Represented Parties: May - July

    columns

    The Utah State Law Library will hold its Resources for Self-Represented Parties class on the following dates:

    Friday, May 8th
    Friday, June 12th
    Friday, July 10th

    All classes will start at 3:30 p.m. and last about an hour.

    The class introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, and the Online Court Assistance Program. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library.

    Register Today!
    Class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    April 10, 2009

    April 16, 2009 is National Health Care Decisions Day

    All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:

    • A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
    • A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

    National Healthcare Decisions Day is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare through conversations and the completion of advance directives. The NHDD initiative also is working with providers and facilities to ensure that individual wishes are respected, whatever they may be. Organizations and individuals interested in participating in or learning more about National Healthcare Decisions Day can do so on the NHDD Web site, which contains free outreach tools, a listing of national, state and community participants, and information about advance care planning.

    Additional resources are available on the ABA Commission on Law and Aging Web Site.

    Additional resources on advance planning and end-of-life legal issues can be found at ABA Law Info: Your Gateway to Information on Legal Topics that Affect Your Life.

    Information about Utah’s law and advance healthcare directive form and instructions are available on the Web Site of the Utah State Courts.

    April 08, 2009

    National Library Week Classes

    In commemoration of National Library Week (April 12-18, 2009) the Utah State Law Library will be offering the following classes and tours:

    Introduction to Resources for Self-Represented Parties
    The class introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    When
    Monday, April 13th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
    Wednesday, April 15th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

    Westlaw Basics
    This class will teach you how to search for case law, statutes, and other information using specialized search techniques. You will also learn about the various options for printing and saving.

    When
    Tuesday, April 14th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

    Introduction to HeinOnline
    HeinOnline provides access to historic and current legal publications, including law reviews and Federal material, and includes content not available on Westlaw or LexisNexis. Learn how to access these documents and view, print, and download them in PDF form.

    When
    Thursday, April 16th 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Register Today!
    Registration is required for all classes. To reserve your spot:
    • Call 238-7990
    • Email library@email.utcourts.gov
    • Or, stop by the State Law Library

    Where
    All classses will be held at the Utah State Law Library
    Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street, Room W-13

    April 03, 2009

    Looking for Traffic School Information?

    Do you have questions about traffic school?

    Traffic school locations, dates, and fees vary by city and county. Most traffic matters are handled in justice court, so you should contact the relevant justice court for information about how they handle traffic citations, including traffic school locations, times, and costs.

    Many justice courts have their own web pages linked from the official city or county website. Select a city or county from the drop down list at Utah's City and County Government Resources and look for a link that says "court," "justice court," "municipal justice court" or something similar.

    Taylorsville Municipal Justice court, for example, provides a General Information for Traffic Matters page, which includes information about traffic school.

    Midvale City Justice Court and Murray Municipal Justice Court provide information about traffic school on their websites.

    Not all justice courts have websites. You can use the Utah State Courts Directory to find phone number and address information for all justice courts in Utah.

    For more information about traffic cases, check out the Utah State Court's Traffic Matters page.

    April 02, 2009

    Court-Ordered Community Service

    We've received several questions recently about court-ordered community service. If you've been ordered to perform community service as part of your restitution, there are several ways of find out where you can complete this service:

    1. Contact your local Adult Probation and Parole office. To find the location nearest you, choose a region number under "Learn More."

    2. The court clerk's office may have copies of court-ordered community service locations.

    3. You can also find a list of court-ordered community service locations online through 2-1-1.

    Ask the clerk's office how they would like you to report your community service hours.

    March 31, 2009

    Small Claims Limit Increasing Soon

    On May 12, 2009 Utah's small claims court jurisdiction will increase from $7,500 to $10,000.

    Small claims courts use simplified rules of procedure and evidence. They are designed so that people can go to court to resolve their disputes for amounts under the jurisdictional limit without an attorney.

    In Utah, small claims cases can be heard in District and Justice courts.

    While the small claims process is designed to be easier for the self-represented person, cases can get complicated, so consider some of the options on the court's Finding Legal Help page including mediation, legal clinics and limited legal help.

    Additional small claims resources:

    The Structure of State Courts

    What's the difference between a district court and a justice court? Why do the names of courts differ from state to state? How can you tell which court you should be in? To help answer some of these questions, the National Center on State Courts has published charts showing the structure of courts in every state.

    Criminal Penalties in Utah

    We get a lot of questions about criminal penalties in the law library.

    The court's Criminal Penalties page explains the difference between felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. It also provides information about the different degrees and classes and the possible penalties - imprisonment and fines - for each level of offense.

    The page also describes some of the things a judge considers when imposing a sentence, and provides an outline of the sentencing process.

    March 27, 2009

    Passport Requirement Changes

    On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens will have to present a passport book, passport card, or other travel documents approved by the U.S. government in order to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

    In an effort to help people get the required documents before this change goes into effect, regional Passport Agencies and local Passport Acceptance Facilities will be open Saturday, March 28th as part of Passport Day in the USA.

    From the press release:

    U.S. citizens will receive passport information and can apply for their passport at “Passport Day in the USA” events. For this day only, appointments and expedite fees are not required for those applying at a Passport Agency. Applicants can expect to receive their passport in approximately four weeks for routine service and about two to three weeks for expedited service.

    These Utah passport offices are participating in Passport Day in the USA:

    Davis County Clerk/Auditor
    28 East State Street
    Farmington
    (801) 451‐3213

    Iron County Clerk
    68 South 100 East
    Parowan
    (435) 477‐8340

    Uintah County Clerk/Auditor
    147 E Main
    Vernal
    (435) 781‐5361

    Finding Legal Help: Take the Online Tour!

    Need to find an attorney, a legal clinic, or other legal assistance?

    Now there's an online narrated tour available to help you get oriented to the Court's "Finding Legal Help" page.

    This five minute audio tour shows you how to search for an attorney based on location, subject area specialty, and languages spoken. It also explains how to locate legal clinics in your area, and points out free or low-cost alternatives to retaining a lawyer.

    You'll need to download and install the Adobe Flash Payer before viewing the tour. Download it free here.

    Filing Fee Changes - Effective May 12, 2009

    On May 12th some of the court's civil filing fees will be increasing. You can see all the fee changes by reading the enrolled copy of Senate Bill 184.

    A few sample increases:

    • Divorce or Separate Maintenance - increasing from $155 to $310
    • Expungement - increasing from $65 to $135
    • Garnishment - increasing from $35 to $50
    • Modification of a divorce decree - increasing from $40 to $100
    • Trial de novo from a Justice Court or small claims case - increasing from $75 to $225
    You can find the current list of court filing fees on the court's website.

    March 18, 2009

    Watch Online: Bankruptcy Basics

    Wondering about bankruptcy? Whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? Or what property you might be able to keep after you file?

    If you missed the last Bankruptcy Basics class, you don't have to wait until the next live class to get information.

    The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have produced an 8-part video series describing the type of debts that are discharged, the steps required to complete the bankruptcy process, and more.

    Bring your questions to the next Bankruptcy Basics class on April 7 at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Library.

    March 06, 2009

    Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights

    Utah law recognizes the importance of the parent-child relationship. However, sometimes it may be in the best interests of a child for the parent's rights to be terminated. In some cases, the State of Utah or some other party may ask the court to terminate a parent's rights. Or, the parent may want to terminate his or her own rights.

    Utah law allows a parent to voluntarily relinquish--or give up-- his or her parental rights. There is a specific court procedure for this. Information and forms for this procedure are now available on the court website.

    Consumer Law Information

    For information about consumer law issues and advocacy tips, see the National Consumer Law Center.

    This site provides useful consumer brochures like What You Should Know About Debt Collection and also has a special section on consumer information for seniors.

    Don't Get Stuck With a Lemon!

    If you've bought a new car, motorcycle or motor home and are having persistent problems with it that can't be repaired, you may have a lemon on your hands.

    Utah's New Motor Vehicle Warranty Act (aka the Lemon Law), Utah Code §13-20-1 et seq. defines when a new vehicle is considered a lemon, and what your remedies are. Used car purchases are not covered under the Lemon Law.

    The Division of Consumer Protection has created rules related to this law - New Motor Vehicle Warranty Rules, Utah Administrative Code R152-20

    The Utah Division of Consumer Protection's Automobiles page has more information about the Lemon Law, as well as other car-related issues.


    March 05, 2009

    National Do Not Call Registry

    Hate those annoying phone calls from telemarketers just as you're sitting down for dinner?

    By now you should know about the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to register your phone number telling telemarketers you don't want to hear from them. It used to be that you had to re-register your number after 5 years, but the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007 (P.L. 100-187) now makes registratration permanent.

    You can register up to three telephone numbers at a time, including cell phone numbers. It can take up to 31 days from when you register for telemarketers to remove you from their call lists.

    Some Limitations
    Registering will not stop all calls. Political organizations, charities, and telephone poll-takers are still allowed to call you. Registration is for personal phone numbers only - not fax numbers or business numbers. Information about stopping unwanted faxes is available on the FCC website

    Filing a Complaint
    If you registered more than 31 days ago and a telemarketer you think is covered by the National Do Not Call Registry has called, you can file a complaint:

    Online: www.donotcall.gov
    Toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236)

    To file a complaint, you must know the name or telephone number of the company that called you, and the date the company called you.

    March 03, 2009

    Free Credit Reports

    Yesterday Joanne blogged about identity theft. One way to monitor your credit history for suspicious activity is to request a copy of your credit report each year.

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - provide you with a free copy of your credit report upon your request every 12 months. You can request your reports online, via a toll-free phone number or by mail.

    http://annualcreditreport.com

    Beware of imposter websites! This is the only authorized website to request your credit reports!

    1-877-322-8228

    Annual Credit Report Request Service
    P.O. Box 105281
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

    For more information about getting free credit reports, read the FTC's publication Your Access to Free Credit Reports.


    March 02, 2009

    Identity Theft Awareness

    If you're a Utah resident and a victim of identity theft, you can use the state's Identity Theft Reporting Information System (IRIS) to report it. You can also check on the status of an existing case.

    IRIS also provides step-by-step guidelines for resolving situations related to identity theft, such as unauthorized credit card charges or lost identification cards.

    IRIS also has general education resources such as scam and identity theft alerts to keep you posted on data breaches happening locally and nationally, a media center with videos featuring topics such as credit freeze and phishing, as well as an interactive timeline where you can learn about how identity theft laws were created in Utah.

    The Federal Trade Commission has additional educational resources for consumers, including tips to minimize your risk for becoming a victim.

    National Consumer Protection Week

    National Consumer Protection Week
    March 1 - 7 is National Consumer Protection Week.

    In honor of this week, State Law Library staff will blog on a variety of consumer-related topics including identity theft, junk mail, Utah's lemon law, the National Do Not Call Registry and how to request your free credit reports. Stay tuned for these informative posts!

    February 23, 2009

    Class: Westlaw Basics

    This free class will teach you how to search for case law, statutes, and other information using specialized search techniques. You will also learn about the various options for printing and saving.

    When
    Thursday, March 12th 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    Where
    Utah State Law Library
    450 South State Street, Room W-13

    Register Today!
    Registration is required. To reserve your spot:
    • Call 238-7990
    • Email library@email.utcourts.gov
    • Or, stop by the State Law Library

    February 10, 2009

    Temporary Orders

    What if you are in the middle of a divorce action but need child support now?

    Parties sometimes need to have temporary orders in place while settling their disputes.

    Temporary orders govern child custody and support, parent time, property distribution and other matters during the divorce or parentage proceedings. The parties must follow the temporary orders until they are changed or until final judgment in the case.

    Checklists and forms for the court process of obtaining temporary orders are now available on the court website.

    February 09, 2009

    Delegation of Parental or Guardian Powers

    Utah law allows a parent to temporarily delegate legal authority of a minor child by completing a power of attorney form. A court-appointed guardian can delegate authority over a protected person in the same way. The delegation can last up to six months at a time. To delegate authority, the parent or guardian must complete a power of attorney form.

    Information about the delegation of powers, a checklist, a power of attorney form, and a form for the revocation of the power of attorney are now available on the court website.

    February 05, 2009

    Introduction to Resources for Self-Represented Parties Classes

    The Utah State Law Library will be offering two classes for the public in February.

    The class introduces the resources available for people representing themselves in court, including how to find an attorney, legal clinics, forms, the Online Court Assistance Program and other resources. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Utah State Law Library introducing the print and electronic resources available.

    The classes will be held Monday February 9th and Friday February 27th, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    Registration is required because class size is limited. Please call 801-238-7990 or email library@email.utcourts.gov to reserve your spot.

    The Utah State Law Library is located in the Matheson Courthouse at 450 S. State Street, Room W-13.

    February 04, 2009

    Fair Debt Collection

    It's a sad sign of the times, but more Americans are in debt trouble these days.

    If you're being contacted by debt collectors you may feel like you're under seige. A debt collector is any person, other than the original creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors.

    The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) spells out what debt collectors can't do when pursuing payment. Utah also has its own Consumer Credit Code.

    The Federal Trade Commission's Credit & Loans: In Debt? page provides a number of helpful fact sheets for those struggling with debt-related issues. The Utah Attorney General's Office Protecting Utah from Fraud page provides links to other resources.

    If you feel a debt collector has violated the law, you can report them to the Utah Attorney General's Office and the Federal Trade Commission. You also have the right to sue them in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated.

    February 03, 2009

    Limited Legal Help - A Different Way to Hire a Lawyer

    Many people can't afford to hire an attorney.

    Limited legal help, also known as limited scope legal representation or unbundled services is an affordable alternative to hiring an attorney to take care of your entire case, also known as full representation. Handling your case entirely on your own takes time and patience and can be confusing and frustrating. People who represent themselves in court are expected to know and follow the same rules that attorneys do.

    Under a limited legal help arrangement an attorney and client agree that the attorney will provide specific services for a predetermined fee. For example, the attorney and client could agree that the attorney:

    - will only advise the client about the strength of the case, or
    - help draft a document, or
    - review a document the client has drafted, or
    - coach the client for a negotiation, or
    - help with the discovery process, or
    - coach the client for a hearing, or
    - appear in court on behalf of the client for one hearing only, or
    - any combination of these kinds of services

    Not all cases are suited for limited legal help, and the idea of limited legal help is just beginning to be adopted by attorneys in Utah. Find the names of a couple of attorneys using the Utah Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Directory and talk about the possibility of hiring them to provide you with limited legal help.

    Here are lists of attorneys in some areas of the state who offer limited legal help:

    2nd District (Davis County - compiled by Davis County Bar Association)
    4th District (Utah County - compiled by Central Utah Bar Association)
    5th District (Cedar City and St. George - compiled by Southern Utah bar association)

    January 28, 2009

    2009 Annual Report

    The Utah State Courts' Annual Report to the Community is now available online.

    The Report highlights the Self-Help Center and the Utah State Law Library, as well as the reorganization of court clerks.

    January 15, 2009

    Filing Procedures web page

    A new Filing Procedures web page explains the ins and outs of a sometimes confusing part of the court process.

    December 30, 2008

    Bankruptcy Law Network

    The Bankruptcy Law Network is a great online resource if you have questions about bankruptcy and want information from a reputable source. The web site content is created and vetted by bankruptcy attorneys and consumer advocates from across the United States and the authors write about topics like filing for Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy, when to consult a bankruptcy attorney, and specific types of debt bankruptcy does or does not erase.

    If you are interested in reviewing more material about bankruptcy, the Law Library has a selection of Nolo books, written in plain language, that you are welcome to read in the library. The Nolo titles include Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and The New Bankruptcy: Will it Work for You?.