Saturday, 15 December 2018

Avoiding Accidents with Tractor Trailers

Avoiding Accidents with Tractor Trailers

Whether making your way through Utah on your way to Park City for a nice drive up Parley’s Canyon for a getaway weekend or driving anywhere on the I-15 or I-215, you’re bound to pass numerous tractor-trailers en route to your final destination. Think about it: they’re everywhere. In fact, on U.S. highways, it’s estimated that tractor-trailers number upwards of 11 million active units. As far as mileage is concerned, that’s over 288 billion logged miles each and every calendar year.

With an oblong, awkward shape, heavy cargo and poor turning radius, tractor-trailers are infamous for causing roadside accidents. In order to more fully protect yourself and other motorists, however, there are certain driving techniques which—when put into practice—make an avoidance of dangerous accidents a real possibility.

First and foremost, it’s key that blind spots be avoided at all costs. Reports from insurance companies of these dangerous auto zones, “Tractor-trailers have large blind spots called ‘no-zones,’ located at the rear of the truck, the side and the connecting point between the truck and the trailer.” Generally speaking, if you can’t see a tractor-trailer driver in his side mirrors, he or she can’t see you. This is most important when looking to pass or change lanes.

Furthermore, it’s important that trucks be given a wider berth when traveling uphill. Though always a good idea to keep a safe distance when following large vehicles, as tractor-trailers tackle inclines, they often struggle to shift gears, resulting in momentary stalls. Needless to say, as blind spots and driving distances are respected, the number of auto accidents involving tractor-trailers here in Utah will most assuredly plummet. As a injury lawyer, the most important thing you can ever do, is prevent an accident, because after one has happened, you are never really the same again. Especially after a big accident with a tractor trailer.

Pets Can Help The Elderly Live

Oftentimes, after a rewarding life filled with innumerable ups and downs, the elderly find themselves living alone. With older children having moved on and grandchildren much too far to pay any sort of regular visit, more senior citizens than ever before are taking to dog ownership as a means of happiness, companionship and youthful revitalization in West Jordan, Utah and elsewhere.

While nearly all dogs are kind, genuine, loyal and don’t require the services of a bite lawyer, some don’t have the characteristics that mesh well with the lifestyles most commonly associated with senior citizens. That being said, a handful make excellent friends.

Schnauzers, for example, are wonderful for older Americans. Not only do Schnauzers come in a variety of sizes, but they’re energetic, playful and easily trainable. Whether it’s you or a grandchild who needs more exercise, Schnauzers promise to get the job done.

Boston Terriers also make excellent dogs for seniors. Says Dana LaJoye, President of the Boston Terrier Club of America, through PBS, “Boston Terriers are bred to be companion dogs. They like nothing more than to be with their owner on the sofa watching TV or curled up next to their owner in bed.” In addition to being noticeably kind, these dogs are exceptionally easy to groom, thus making them a favorite for older dog owners.

Obviously, the aforementioned pair don’t comprise an extensive list. There are other breeds which make for excellent senior citizen pets, as well: cocker spaniels, shih tzus and beagles, just to name a few.

Whatever the case may be, in order to keep you or an older loved one safe from the rigors of dog ownership, an unfortunate bite or a meeting with an experienced lawyer in West Jordan, take the time to make certain the perfect breed is chosen.

Personal Injury Lawyer Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a semi tractor trailer, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Friday, 14 December 2018

Can You Be Sued After Your Business Closes?

Can You Be Sued After Your Business Closes

When you closed your business and paid your creditors, you thought, “that’s the end of that,” and moved on to other endeavors. Well, maybe not. If you have products out there that can cause injuries, among other potential liabilities, you could be involved in a lawsuit long after you have closed your doors.

It’s always a good idea to work with a lawyer when closing down your business (although sole proprietorships are much easier to shutter), which can help you avoid post-dissolution lawsuits in the first place. Here are some things you may want to consider about post-dissolution lawsuits:

You will probably not be able to handle a lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. When you receive a Complaint or another type of legal document that indicates that you are being sued, do not contact the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney — contact your own attorney. If an injured person or the person’s attorney contacts you directly, you should listen and takes notes. Do not admit fault. Do not explain changes that were made to the product. Do not make promises. Do not detail the current status of your business. Your best strategy will be to take the person’s name, contact information, and the nature of the claim and inform them that your attorney will contact them.

Exactly follow the dissolution notification procedures set forth in your state statutes. In many states, if you notify creditors and the public, you will be able to limit the amount of time in which a person who is later injured may bring suit. If you do not follow notification statutes, the time in which a person can bring a suit against you will last much longer. For example, your state may have a law that says, as long as you follow notification procedures, you can only be sued for three years following your dissolution.

After your business has closed, keep your corporate records in order. Most states have laws that deal with disposing of claims against a dissolving or dissolved business. In most cases, even after the business is dissolved, it will continue to exist for the purposes of settling claims.

Determine the statutory time limitations for bringing a suit against your business.

If you were involved in a business that manufactured products that may cause future injuries, consider reserving a portion of your liquidation distribution for the time period during which a person can bring suit. If you were incorporated, the claimant will only be able to recover what you received in distributions. This is also an issue that you might want to consider when purchasing commercial liability insurance.

If you followed the notification statutes and the time periods for bringing suit against you have expired, your attorney should be able to get the suit dismissed.

Your state may have a statute that allows you to reject the claim and force the claimant to take further action. In this case, if within a certain time period the claimant doesn’t take further action after his or her claims is rejected, the claim will not be allowed and your attorney should be able to get the suit dismissed.

If you have sold your operating assets to another business or individual before you dissolved, they may be liable to the injured party instead of you.

Your commercial liability insurance might cover the costs associated with the lawsuit. Check your policy and contact your agent.

If there is no relief available, and it looks like you are going to lose your distribution in a lawsuit, determine whether it is really worthwhile to battle it out in court. In many instances of clear corporate liability, a settlement will be less costly. Taking a case to court will dramatically increase legal fees and will probably require your personal involvement.

Business Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with. If you need legal help call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Cyber Attack Law

Cyber Attack Law

The term cyber attack refers to any number of ways a criminal may attempt to damage or access sensitive information from a computer or networked device. The frequency and sophistication of these attacks continue to increase dramatically, while law enforcement and computer security companies frantically try to keep up. Entrepreneurs must wear many hats to be successful and can’t be expected to have technological expertise. However, it’s important for all business owners to become familiar with the most common types of cyber attacks.

How to Deal with Viruses

Viruses are perhaps the most familiar type of computer-related offense. They are programs or pieces of software code that are loaded onto your computer (or smartphone) without your knowledge, often by enticing the user to open an email attachment. Viruses can compromise a computer or an entire business network in a number of ways, including the deletion or corruption of files. New viruses hit the Internet every day, according to the Better Business Bureau.

  • Defenses – Antivirus software is widely available and should be regularly updated; train employees about the common ways computer viruses are spread; infected computers should be taken offline immediately.

What Should You Do with Spyware

Your computer may be infected with spyware without your knowledge. This type of malware (software used for nefarious purposes) secretly collects information from a computer, which can include credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, typically recording the keystrokes of the user. Spyware sometimes is used by marketers and spammers, covertly installed along with a downloaded application, but also can be used for credit card fraud and identity theft.

  • Defenses – Search online for anti-spyware software, some of which is free of charge; some signs that your computer may be infected with spyware include frequent pop-up ads, sluggishness and changed settings.

What about Phishing?

Chances are, you have received an official-looking email attempting to trick you into verifying your personal information at least once in the past few years. This is called “phishing,” and can also take the form of a fake web site attempting to take advantage of user mistypes (for example, typing “” instead of “” and being taken to a site that looks like but isn’t). In a business setting, a phishing attack may try to get an employee to give up the password to a customer database.

  • Defenses – A good spam filter may help block a majority of phishing attempts, but a well-informed workforce may be the best defense; also, check for the secure connection icon (a closed padlock) in the browser when transmitting sensitive data.

What is Pharming?

Similar to phishing, pharming redirects a web site request to a fraudulent site that closely resembles the intended one. The criminal hacks into the server to embed the malware so that users who type in a given address are automatically redirected to the fake site, which then collects information given by the user.

  • Defenses – Like phishing, an informed workforce is probably the best prevention to workplace pharming attacks; if a web site redirects to another address without providing an indication to the user, it could be a pharming attempt. Use an intrusion prevention systems and network scanners to secure your company’s web server.

Keyloggers, Bots, and Trojans are Issues as Well

These are applications that appear useful or at least benign, sometimes taking the form of screen savers that entice the user to download them. But they carry viruses or other malware that can be destructive to computer files and may compromise data security. The user is often unaware they even exist but the implanted malware can send sensitive personal information to a third party.

  • Defenses – Some companies have strict policies pertaining to the types of files employees may or may not download and install; regular virus and malware scans can help detect such attacks after the fact.


Cyber Attack Lawyer Free Consultation

If you’ve been a victim of a cyber attack and need legal help, then call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Finance and Banking Law

Finance and Banking Law

Opening up bank accounts, getting lines of credit (if needed), and managing your finances are crucial aspects to running a small business. Sure, you’d rather devote all your time and energy to actually running your business and following your passion — but without adequate resources and smart cash-flow management, it won’t last very long. Whether you’re about to start your first business or you’re a serial entrepreneur looking for new angles, the following information will help you find the right finance and banking resources for your business.

Financing Your Business

There are many ways to finance your business and no one method is right for everyone. Most businesses start out small, perhaps with loans from friends and family and a simple home office, while others need more substantial resources just to get off the ground (whether it’s a bank loan or equity investments). Your business plan will help you determine what you’ll need to reach your goals. The following resources correspond to the most common forms of business financing:

Business Loans

  • Business Loan Application Checklist – Checklist of which information and documents you may want to include in your business loan application, such as the financial history of your business and projections of future earnings.
  • Real-Life Loan Agreements – Collection of loan agreements with well-known corporate entities to help you get familiar with such agreements.
  • Business Loan Application Checklist (Small Business Administration) – SBA’s guide on how to apply for a business loan, covering such important considerations as the application form, your business plan, credit report, income tax returns, collateral, and more.
  • SBA Loan Application Checklist (SBA) – A helpful checklist of the various elements and considerations pertaining to a 7(a) loan, offered indirectly through (and guaranteed by) the agency.

Business Grants

  • Small Business Grants – Overview of the various grants — which do not need to repaid — available to small businesses, including state programs to retrain workers and programs meant to reinvigorate depressed regions.
  • Research Grants for Small Businesses (SBA) – Explanation of research and development grants available to certain small businesses, with links to various government agencies through which the grants are offered.
  • Search Federal Grants ( – Searchable database of all federal grants available to U.S. businesses, with various filters and search options to help you hone in on those that may be a good fit.

Equity Deals and Venture Capital

  • Debt vs. Equity: Advantages and Disadvantages – A guide to help you make an informed decision as to whether debt (loans) or equity is right for your small business.
  • What is Equity Crowdfunding? – The basics of equity crowdfunding, in which ordinary, non-wealthy individuals have the opportunity to invest just a few hundred dollars in your business in exchange for a small equity stake.
  • Venture Capital (SBA) – SBA’s overview of venture capital, angel investors (individuals who invest smaller sums of money as limited partners), and equity capital in general.

Other Business Finance and Banking Ideas

  • Business Banking and Securities Forms – A collection of checklists, sample forms, real-life financing agreements, and other resources pertaining to business banking and financing
  • Sample Business Balance Sheet – Brief explanation of the layout and purpose of a balance sheet, in addition to a sample balance sheet that your business can use as a template.
  • Is Your Business Fiscally Fit? (SBA) – SBA’s guide to determining whether your business is properly funded and healthy from a fiscal perspective, with suggestions and how-to guides to help improve your financials.

Banking and Finance Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Effects of Divorce on Children

Effects of Divorce on Children

I know that divorce is emotionally devastating for all parties involved because I’m a divorce lawyer. But things can be especially children. However, you can minimize the pain divorce causes your family by doing the following:

  • Cooperate for the sake of your children. Your partnership as a married couple may have ended, but your partnership as parents who love your children must remain. Show your children they are your top priority by putting past resentments aside and cooperating with your ex-spouse.
  • Never let money interfere with parenting. Never take your frustration over financial issues with your ex-spouse out on your children.
  • Never badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children. Your issues with your ex-spouse should be yours alone. You should let your children learn to love each parent equally. If you badmouth your ex-spouse, you force your children to choose sides and this can make them feel uncomfortable and conflicted.

  • Respect the privacy of your ex-spouse. You should never use your children as spies to obtain information on what your ex-spouse is doing.
  • Seek family counseling. You should look into divorce and family counseling programs. Sometimes children appear to fine when really they are deeply upset and need help opening up.
  • Visitation from the noncustodial parent. Children should always receive constant love and support from both parents. If you are the noncustodial parent, work with your ex-spouse to create a visitation schedule that allows you to spend time with your children.

A knowledgeable attorney like one at Ascent Law can guide you throughout the divorce process and protect your best interests.

Is There Common Law Divorce in Utah?

Common law marriage is the concept of a couple living together for a certain amount of time and thereby automatically gaining status as a married couple. While some states recognize common law marriages, Utah is not one of them. In Utah, a couple must take measures to legally wed in a civil proceeding or church ceremony in order to achieve married status.

As couples may not simply live together for a period of time and attain a marriage in Utah, a married couple also may not simply live apart for a period of time in order to attain a divorce. While some states do allow this, in Utah a couple must first enter into a valid separation agreement. In fact, for a long time, divorcing after one year of legal separation was the only path Utah couples could take to achieve a no-fault divorce. Since 2010, however, the state has granted divorces on no-fault grounds. Today, the following grounds for divorce in Utah are accepted:

  • Irretrievable breakdown — This is the relatively new no-fault basis for divorce. The couple must allege that for at least six months prior to filing, their marriage has broken down irretrievably. They do not have to live apart for that time period.
  • Cruel or inhuman treatment — A fault-based ground that alleges physical, emotional or verbal abuse by one spouse.
  • Abandonment — A fault-based ground alleging abandonment for at least one year

  • Incarceration — A fault-based ground that is valid if one spouse is in jail or prison for three or more consecutive years
  • Adultery — A fault-based ground alleging infidelity by one spouse. Adultery can be difficult to prove in court, and requires testimony from a third party or evidence to support the allegation.
  • Divorce following legal separation — While this is closest to the concept of common law divorce, couples in Long Island and throughout Utah must first obtain a legal separation agreement.

Divorce Attorney Free Consultation

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Electronic Signatures on Contracts

Electronic Signatures on Contracts

Given the rapid development of digital technology, it was inevitable that eventually contracts could be completed between two parties without ever meeting or physically signing a single piece of paper. Thanks to a federal law called the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), electronic signatures are just as valid and enforceable as those signed by the contracting party’s own hand. It’s important that business owners understand the main points of this law, since more and more legal documents are moving into the digital space.


ESIGN changed the status of all electronic signatures and made them as binding as their counterparts on paper. This was great news for companies that were beginning to realize the potential of online business. Companies dealing with financial, insurance and other services were greatly benefited by this law. The electronic signature law also helped those who needed a faster means of forming business to business contracts, such as supplies and services contracts. Technically, the law states that electronic signatures are valid as long as the two parties involved agree to that method of signing.

Electronic Signatures and Electronic Contracts

An electronic contract is a document that is created, transmitted and signed, all in electronic form. This means there is no waste of paper or postage fees. In addition, “clickthrough” contracts — typically found in online user agreements — are another form of an electronic contract. The user must click “I Agree” at the end of the user agreement before the online service or software becomes usable.

There are a number of ways to sign an electronic signature, such as one’s initials or full name. Other methods include clicking an “I Agree” button, or even scanning and pasting in an image of a person’s real signature.

Cryptography and Electronic Signatures

Cryptography provides a means of scrambling information from the sender, allowing the receiver to unscramble it on the other end. One of the more popular standards for online cryptography is the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). PKI uses an algorithm to scramble and encrypt electronic contracts and other documents so that they are only viewable and accessible to authorized users.

In addition, the Worldwide Web Consortium, the organization that sets standards used throughout the Internet, has developed guidelines for XML based digital signatures.

Paper Contracts Are Still Available

While ESIGN gives businesses and the consumers the power to create, sign, and complete contacts all through electronic documents, the same laws give consumers the right to opt for paper contracts as well. ESIGN provides that, prior to getting a consumer’s consent for using electronic contracts and signatures, a business must notify the consumer whether or not there are paper copies that can be used as an alternative.

The law also mandates that businesses inform consumers that, even if they give consent to use electronic documents, they can later change their mind and switch to paper documents. These notices must give the consumer information relating to any fees or penalties that will apply (since paper and postage costs money). Lastly, the notice must indicate the scope (how many documents the consent will apply to) of the consumer’s consent to use electronic documents.

Although electronic contracts and signatures may be great for business, they may harm low-tech consumers. These people may be forced to pay higher fees for continuing to conduct business on paper.

When is a Paper Contract Required?

There are still contracts that are required to be on paper in order to protect consumers. These documents include:

  • Documents dealing with adoption, divorce, and other family law matters
  • Wills, will codicils, testamentary trusts
  • Notices of utility termination or cancellation
  • Notices of foreclosure, eviction, repossession or default
  • Court orders, notices and other court documents
  • Notices of termination of health or life insurance benefits
  • Notices of product recalls due to health or safety reasons, and
  • Documents that are required by law to travel with hazardous materials


The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), adopted by most states, establishes the validity of electronic signatures in contracts much in the same way that ESIGN does. The UETA works like the ESIGN, but on an in-state level, while the ESIGN works on an interstate level.


Contract Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have a contract matter you need help with. If you do, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Buying a Business

Buying a Business

Prospective entrepreneurs have several options other than starting a business from scratch, including buying an existing business or franchise. But before you write a check and get started, it’s important to do your research and understand exactly what you’re getting into. This section covers all aspects of buying a business, such as purchasing a franchise; buying an existing business; understanding valuation and accounting terminology; what to expect when buying a business; and more.

Buying a Franchise

If you are considering buying a franchise you may want to consider the cost. Start-up costs and royalty fees can put a serious damper on a franchisee’s take-home pay. For example, if you were opening up a popular fast food franchise, the franchisee must not only pay money toward the location, he or she must also pony up a large franchise fee for the right to operate the business for a period of years. After that time is up, assuming the company agrees to renew the contract, another franchise fee can be charged. The total monetary layout to open a fast food franchise can range anywhere from $500,000 to $1.6 million depending on the popularity of the franchise.

Make Sure You Have Liquidity

The amount of cash a company has on hand or can generate quickly reveals how healthy the company is financially. High levels of available cash indicate that the business can pay off debt easily when due dates occur. The types of assets a company has and the marketability of those assets are where a discussion of financial liquidity begins.

Findings a Business For Sale

To many, online business marketplaces would seem the obvious place to start when searching for an online business for sale. The internet is the largest business for sale marketplace and has seen rapid growth in recent years. Online business marketplaces are attractive as they enable buyers to look across the industry at a range of available listings, helping them to identify potential investment opportunities. Buyers are able to request additional information on listings, which automatically alerts the seller or designated broker (if represented). Most established online business brokers have a presence on such platforms, using them as an additional outreach channel.

What is Due Diligence?

When you are considering buying a business, conducting due diligence ensures you have access to important information about the business you’re buying. It’s the best way for you to assess the value of a business and the risks associated with buying it. You usually conduct due diligence after you and the seller have agreed in principle to a deal, but before signing a binding contract. The information you collect during due diligence is highly sensitive and confidential. The seller might want you to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you access this information.

Hire a Business Attorney

When you’re faced with a business issue that is complex, time consuming, or has liability issues, you should consider hiring a knowledgeable business attorney. If you are a startup or small business owner, you will want to look for a lawyer or legal team that identifies with the startup and small business culture. For example, a lawyer who runs his own small legal practice—a solo practitioner–will likely have the legal expertise you need, as well as an understanding of your plight as a small business owner.

Once you have selected the perfect lawyer for your small business, build a comfortable working relationship with him or her over time. You will want to reach out to your lawyer for counsel and guidance on substantive and non-substantive matters alike.

Business Lawyer Free Consultation

When you are looking to buy a business, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What is Specific Performance?

What is Specific Performance

There are a few different legal remedies a party may consider when another party has allegedly breached its contractual obligation, including lawsuits and arbitration. However, sometimes a monetary remedy doesn’t quite make the plaintiff whole, which is the goal of any civil remedy.

Courts can order defendants in contract disputes to actually perform the contractual duties as originally agreed if it is determined that money alone cannot resolve the issue. This is called specific performance.

Specific Performance is a Legal Remedy Under the Law

Specific performance is a specialized remedy used by courts when no other remedy (such as money) will adequately compensate the other party. If a legal remedy will put the injured party in the position he or she would have enjoyed had the contract been fully performed, then the court will use that option instead. The most common reason courts grant specific performance is that the subject of the contract is unique, when it’s not merely a matter of money or where the true amount of damages is unclear. When a contract is for the sale of a unique property, for instance, mere money damages may not remedy the purchaser’s situation.

For example, Fred offers to buy Julie’s house and Julie accepts this, but later decides to keep the property. Real estate is considered to be unique. Since there is no other piece of property or house exactly like Juile’s, Fred may be entitled to specific performance on the contract. Julie would be compelled or forced to go through with the sale.

Specific Performance and Replevin

The term replevin — commonly referred to as “claim and delivery” — refers to a legal action in which actual property (not its monetary value) must be transferred to the plaintiff in a dispute. It is similar to specific performance and often used interchangeably in statutes. For instance, the UCC states that a buyer “has a right of replevin for goods identified to the contract if after reasonable effort he is unable to effect cover for such goods or the circumstances reasonably indicate that such effort will be unavailing…”

In other words, a court may order specific performance in the form of replevin (transfer of actual goods) as a remedy in a contractual dispute when cash damages are not sufficient.

When is Specific Performance Ordered?

Courts will enforce specific performance only if the underlying contract was fair and equitable. Other commodities that courts have found to support specific performance include works of art, custom-made products, and goods in short supply. Nearly all states have adopted the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which addresses specific performance. For example, Utah law states that specific performance may be compelled if:

  1. Specific performance would otherwise be an appropriate remedy;  and
  2. The agreed counter performance has been substantially performed or its concurrent or future performance is assured or, if the court deems necessary, can be secured to the satisfaction of the court.

As you can see, an order for specific performance is largely left up to the discretion of the courts. The second requirement is meant to ensure that the other party (the plaintiff) also has performed or will perform its obligations as specified by the contract.

Lawyer Free Consultation

If you need to get specific performance or replevin in your lawsuit, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Business Mediation

Business Mediation

If you are a business owner, whether it is a small, medium or big business, with a legal dispute on your hands, you should probably consider mediation. Even if a small business owner wants to go to court for a sure-win case, it’s often quite difficult for the business to come up with the money to litigate. If you can afford a business lawyer, you still may consider mediation – if it’s right for you business. Even just finding the time to attend hearings can cost a business substantial revenue. And because of the nature of small businesses, the owner could face personal repercussions for deciding to go to court, such as losing friends or harming his or her reputation in the community.

However, there is an option that many business owners fail to consider when faced with legal problems. Mediation can solve many issues without some of the drawbacks that litigation poses.

What is Business Mediation?

Mediation offers business owners another option when it comes to resolving problems. In the example above involving the smell from the neighboring business, the business owner could choose mediation over the other options, and come up with a solution that all parties agree on.

During the course of mediation, a neutral third-party (the “mediator”) meets with both sides of the dispute and helps the two sides frame a discussion. The goal of this discussion is to find a solution that both sides are amenable to. Also, because both business owners will give input into the settlement, both sides are more willing to follow the result of the mediation. Because the business owner has already laid the groundwork for solving problems, if any future smells (or other issues) arise between him and his neighbor, the two owners will have a relationship that they can build on to resolve their differences.

What is the cost of Business Mediation?

Generally speaking, mediation is much cheaper than hiring a lawyer at an hourly rate. You can generally find free to low-cost mediation services through local communication centers or bar associations. In addition, even if you end up paying for a mediation session by the hour, you will be splitting the costs with the other party. Lastly, mediation only lasts a few hours (compared to the hundreds of hours that an attorney might bill you for), which allows you to save time and can get you back to running your business sooner than if you had filed a lawsuit.

How to Find a Business Mediator

If you are involved in a dispute that you cannot seem to settle by simple discussion, you should probably start looking to find a mediator if the other party agrees. Many local bar associations (city and county) often have listings of mediation services in the area. In addition, you can check your local phone book under “mediation” or “conflict resolution.” The internet is also a great place to find mediation services in your area. Lastly, some private attorneys also offer mediation services in addition to their regular practice.

If your business is involved with or a member of a local business association (such as a chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau), you should check there first. Oftentimes, these associations have mediation services that are designed for business owners. This is helpful, as you will not have to spend time explaining to a mediator why certain aspects of your business are more important than others.

Next Steps in Business Mediation

In most situations, mediation will end in a settlement between the two sides. If you have a successful mediation, you will probably leave with an agreement that has been signed by both parties to the mediation. In other successful mediations, the parties leave with a memorandum that sets out what you and the other party have agreed to. In some circumstances, you can take your agreement to a court to have it officially enforced, but this is not always the case.

Even if you do not end up reaching an agreement or a settlement after mediation, you will have at least learned what the other party’s biggest complaints are. Also, having an unsuccessful mediation does not prevent you from filing a lawsuit in the future.

Mediation is very efficient and a great way to resolve disputes between business owners. One of the other great benefits of mediation is that you will probably not have to deal with public relations problems. Mediations occur very often and are mostly kept out of the public eye. So the next time that you have a problem that you can’t seem to work out on your own, consider mediation over a lawsuit.

Business Attorney Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Monday, 10 December 2018

Don’t Get on Facebook During Divorce

Don't Get on Facebook During Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, you have likely had many people advise you to be careful of what you post on social media, as it could come back to haunt you during the proceedings. But there are plenty of other reasons why you might want to avoid sites like Facebook during a divorce, beyond just the potential to damage your case.

The following are a few unexpected emotional reasons why removing yourself from the social media sphere could be wise during this difficult time:

  • It can be depressing. When you’re facing such big challenges, social media may only serve to emphasize just how bad you are feeling. People only really post the highlights of their life on Facebook, and seeing photo after photo of happy families spending time together could be tough to see. The reality is that nobody has a perfect life, but when you’re going through such a hard time, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing everyone’s life is better than yours.
  • It can exacerbate feelings of isolation. As you go through a divorce, you will start to lose touch with friends or family members who were connected to your spouse. If you are still friends with them on Facebook, you might see photos of a party or event to which you were not invited. This can be a difficult reminder of how your life has changed.

  • People can get rude or weird. You never quite know how other social media connections will interact with you as you go through your divorce. What are your former spouse’s friends going to say on your page? What about your technology-troubled aunt who doesn’t understand social media courtesy? You can avoid these awkward interactions by temporarily disabling your account.
  • You can damage yourself. Again, anything you post to the public may be used against you in court to show you exercise bad judgment or are otherwise unfit to have custody of your children. You could be completely responsible and social media savvy, but why take the chance?

Taking the High Road in Your Divorce

Going through a divorce is bound to elicit strong emotions — after all, you may be rehashing painful memories from your marriage and dealing with difficult issues such as child custody. It can be easy to let your spouse get the best of you emotionally, especially when he or she is acting in a spiteful, juvenile or contrary way. By keeping your own behavior in check, you can rise above the conflict and refuse to let it affect you. Remember the following tactics as you approach negotiations and other divorce proceedings:

  • Avoid bashing your spouse or venting about the details of your case on social media or in a public forum.
  • Remain honest with your attorney and with the court, and resist embellishing the facts in order to bolster your case, even if your spouse does it.

  • Never use your child as a tool to get what you want from your spouse — do not limit communication or visitation if he or she is being stubborn on a particular issue. If your spouse is withholding support payments, there are other legal tools you and your lawyer can use.
  • Focus on your parental duties as you look toward the future when it comes to interacting with your ex-spouse. While you may have no desire to ever speak with him or her again, it’s best for your kids to see you co-parenting in a healthy and productive way.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Taking Your Company Public

Taking Your Company Public

When a company plans on going public, the underwriter and its legal counsel are required to undertake a rigorous investigation of the company that intends to offer public shares. This is referred to as the “due diligence investigation.”

The goal of the due diligence investigation is to understand fully the business of the company, the risks and problems facing it, and to assure the investing public that the company’s registration statement is complete and accurate. The following checklist is intended to provide you with a general idea of the documents and information you will have to produce to cooperate with the underwriter and its legal counsel in its due diligence investigation.

  1. Organization and Good Standing
    • The Company’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and all amendments thereto.
    • The Company’s minute book, including all minutes and resolutions of shareholders and directors, executive committees, and other governing groups.
    • The Company’s organizational chart.
    • The Company’s list of shareholders and number of shares held by each.
    • Copies of agreements relating to options, voting trusts, warrants, puts, calls, subscriptions, and convertible securities.
    • A Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State of the state where the Company is incorporated.
    • Copies of active status reports in the state of incorporation for the last three years.
    • A list of all states where the Company is authorized to do business and annual reports for the last three years.
    • A list of all states, provinces, or countries where the Company owns or leases property, maintains employees, or conducts business.
  2. Previous Financing Efforts; Authorization for Going Public
    • Copies of any registration statements, private placement memoranda, or similar materials related to the Company.
    • Copies of corporate resolutions authorizing the initial public offering.
    • Any confidentiality or nonpublicity agreements.
    • Any broker or investment banking arrangements.

  3. Financial Information
    • Audited financial statements for three years.
    • The most recent unaudited statements, with comparable statements to the prior year.
    • Auditor’s letters and replies for the past five years.
    • The Company’s credit report, if available.
    • Any projections, capital budgets, and strategic plans.
    • Analyst reports, if available.
    • A schedule of all indebtedness and contingent liabilities.
    • A schedule of inventory.
    • A schedule of accounts receivable.
    • A schedule of accounts payable.
    • A description of depreciation and amortization methods and changes in accounting methods over the past five years.
    • Any analysis of fixed and variable expenses.
    • Any analysis of gross margins.
    • The Company’s general ledger.
    • A description of the Company’s internal control procedures.
  4. Physical Assets
    • A schedule of fixed assets and identify location.
    • All U.C.C. filings.
    • All leases of equipment.
    • A schedule of sales and purchases of major capital equipment during last three years.
  5. Real Estate
    • A schedule of the Company’s business locations.
    • Copies of all real estate leases.
  6. Intellectual Property
    • A schedule of domestic and foreign patents and patent applications.
    • A schedule of trademark and trade names.
    • A schedule of copyrights.
    • A description of important technical know-how.
    • A description of methods used to protect trade secrets and know-how.
    • Any “work for hire” agreements.
    • A schedule and copies of all consulting agreements, agreements regarding inventions and licenses or assignments of intellectual property to or from the Company.
    • Any patent clearance documents.
    • A schedule and summary of any claims or threatened claims by or against the Company regarding intellectual property.
  7. Employees and Employee Benefits
    • A list of employees including positions, current salaries, salaries and bonuses paid during last three years, and years of service.
    • All employment, consulting, nondisclosure, nonsolicitation or noncompetition agreements between the Company and any of its employees.
    • Resumes of key employees.
    • The Company’s personnel handbook and a schedule of all employee benefits and holiday, vacation, and sick leave policies.
    • Summary plan descriptions of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.
    • Copies of collective bargaining agreements, if any.
    • A description of all employee problems, including alleged wrongful termination, harassment, and discrimination.
    • A description of any labor disputes, requests for arbitration, or grievance procedures currently pending or settled within the last three years.
    • A list and description of benefits of all employee health and welfare insurance policies or self-funded arrangements.
    • A description of worker’s compensation claim history.
    • A description of unemployment insurance claims history.
    • Copies of all stock option and stock purchase plans and a schedule of grants thereunder.

  8. Licenses and Permits
    • Copies of any governmental licenses, permits or consents.
    • Any correspondence or documents relating to any proceedings of any regulatory agency.
  9. Environmental Issues
    • Environmental audits, if any, for each property leased by the Company.
    • A listing of hazardous substances used in the Company’s operations.
    • A description of the Company’s disposal methods.
    • A list of environmental permits and licenses.
    • Copies of all correspondence, notices, files related to EPA, state or local regulatory agencies.
    • A list identifying and describing any environmental litigation or investigations.
    • A list identifying and describing any known superfund exposure.
    • A list identifying and describing any contingent environmental liabilities or continuing indemnification obligations.
  10. Taxes
    • Federal, state, local, and foreign income tax returns for last three years.
    • States sales tax returns for last three years.
    • Any audit and revenue agency reports.
    • Any tax settlement documents for last three years.
    • Employment tax filings for three years.
    • Excise tax filings for three years.
    • Any tax liens.
  11. Material Contracts
    • A schedule of all subsidiary, partnership, or joint venture relationships and obligations, with copies of all related agreements.
    • Copies of all contracts between the Company and any officers, directors, 5-percent shareholders or affiliates.
    • All loan agreements, bank financing arrangements, lines of credit or promissory notes to which the Company is a party.
    • All security agreements, mortgages, indentures, collateral pledges, and similar agreements.
    • All guaranties to which the Company is a party.
    • Any installment sale agreements other than for goods in the ordinary course of business.
    • Any distribution agreements, sales representative agreements, marketing agreements, and supply agreements.
    • Any letters of intent, contracts, and closing transcripts from any mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures within last five years.
    • Any options and stock purchase agreements involving interests in other companies.
    • The Company’s standard quote, purchase order, invoice, and warranty forms.
    • All nondisclosure or noncompetition agreements to which the Company is a party.
    • All other material contracts.
  12. Product or Service Lines
    • A list of all existing products or services and products or services under development.
    • Copies of all correspondence and reports related to any regulatory approvals or disapprovals of any Company’s products or services.
    • A summary of all complaints or warranty claims.
    • A summary of results of all tests, evaluations, studies, surveys, and other data regarding existing products or services and products or services under development.
  13. Customer Information
    • A schedule of the Company’s 12 largest customers in terms of sales thereto and a description of sales thereto over a period of two years.
    • Any supply or service agreements.
    • A description or copy of the Company’s purchasing and credit policies.
    • A schedule of unfilled orders.
    • A list and explanation for any major customers lost over the last two years.
    • All surveys and market research reports relevant to the Company or its products or services.
    • The Company’s current advertising programs, marketing plans and budgets, and printed marketing materials.
    • A description of the Company’s major competitors.
  14. Litigation
    • A schedule of all pending litigation.
    • A description of any threatened litigation.
    • Copies of insurance policies possibly providing coverage as to pending or threatened litigation.
    • Documents relating to any injunctions, consent decrees, or settlements to which the Company is a party.
    • A list of unsatisfied judgments.
  15. Insurance Coverage
    • A schedule and copies of the Company’s general liability, personal and real property, product liability, errors and omissions, key-man, directors and officers, worker’s compensation, and other insurance.
    • A schedule of the Company’s insurance claims history for past three years.
  16. Professionals
    • A schedule of all law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, and similar professionals engaged by the Company during past five years.
  17. Articles and Publicity
    • Copies of all articles and press releases relating to the Company within the past three years.


Business Lawyer Free Consultation

If you want to take your business public, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Divorce Takes Longer Than Temporary Orders

Divorce Takes Longer Than Temporary Orders

I had the funniest thing happen about a week after a temporary order hearing.  The client said to me, “so now that my divorce case is done…” and I said “wait a second!” -> you’re divorce case isn’t done after a temporary order hearing has happened.  There is still a lot left to do in a divorce case if it doesn’t settle in mediation.

Sometimes in a divorce action a party will get some temporary spousal maintenance, also called temporary alimony. However, since Utah State reformed its alimony laws, courts have been asked to give greater scrutiny to how much alimony is awarded and for how long. Traditionally, temporary spousal support has run until the court issued a final divorce decree and made a decision about permanent alimony. Now, that won’t always be the case.

The court must apply one of two formulas for calculating temporary spousal maintenance, based on the income of each spouse (up to a maximum of $175,000 for a supporting spouse) and whether the supporting spouse must also pay child support. If the court wishes to deviate from the guideline amount, there are numerous factors the judge must consider. These include:

  • Income and property of both spouses
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • The present and potential future income of both spouses
  • The ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting
  • Whether children from the marriage live in the marital home

If the marriage is of relatively short duration and a dependent spouse is healthy, has a recent job history, and has no young children at home, the court will likely award a short period of maintenance. A judge might decide that six months is adequate for the dependent spouse to re-enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. If your divorce is complex, the process might not conclude before your spousal maintenance or temporary alimony runs out. In that case, you would have to make a compelling case to the court for an extension of support.

How to Start a Divorce Case in Utah

Are you wondering what you need to do to get your divorce case started in Utah?

Your first step is to file a petition for divorce in the district court where you have resided in for the last 3 months.  If you have minor children, you need to file in the district court where the children have resided for the last 6 months.  If you haven’t lived in a specific county for that long; then, you need to call us to talk about where we can filed your divorce case.

It is highly recommended that you work with an attorney to ensure you complete all the paperwork properly and guarantee service to your spouse. This will also put you in a position to achieve success in your divorce case.

Legal requirements for a divorce filing

In addition to filling out all the required paperwork, you must also meet certain legal requirements before you file for divorce in Utah.

First, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. You and your spouse must have lived in Utah without interruption for at least 3 months before you file. If you do not meet this minimum standard, you may experience delays in filing your divorce action.

You must also have legal grounds to get divorced in Utah. In the past, this meant proving fault on the part of your spouse, such as abandonment, cruel treatment, adultery or confinement in prison. As of recently, Utah allows for no-fault divorces that use the grounds of an “irreconcilable differences” in the relationship for no specific set of time.


Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Intestacy Law

Intestacy Law

When a person dies without having a valid will in place, his or her property passes by what is called “intestate succession” to heirs under probate law. In other words, if you don’t have a will, the state will make one for you. All fifty states have laws (or “statutes”) of this kind on the books.

The purpose of intestate succession statutes is to distribute the decedent’s wealth in a manner that closely represents how the average person would have designed his or her estate plan, had that person had a will. However, this default can differ dramatically from what the person really would have wanted. Even where it is known what the person intended, no exceptions are made where no valid will exists. Nor are there any exceptions made based on need or special circumstances.

The Uniform Probate Code

The 1990 Uniform Probate Code (the Code) serves as the starting point for many states’ laws. Nevertheless, the laws of different states can vary greatly from each other and from the Code itself. However, the Code represents the best reference for a general discussion.

Under the Code, close relatives take property instead of distant relatives. The classes of relatives whose members receive property under the Code include the decedent’s surviving spouse, descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), parents, descendants of decedent’s parents (siblings, nieces and nephews), grandparents, and descendants of grandparents (aunts and uncles and cousins). Adopted descendants are treated the same as biological descendants. If none of the above-named classes of relatives include any persons qualified to take the estate, the property “escheats” (meaning it goes automatically) to the state of Utah.

The Surviving Spouse’s Share of the Intestacy Estate

Under the Code, a surviving spouse is either entitled to the entire estate (after expenses and taxes of the decedent) or a substantial part of it. For example:

  • The surviving spouse is entitled to the entire net estate if the decedent is also survived by children who are all children of the decedent and the surviving spouse.
  • The surviving spouse is also entitled to the entire net estate if the decedent is not survived by descendants and parents.
  • If parents survive but no descendants survive, a surviving spouse takes the first $200,000 of the net estate plus three-fourths of anything exceeding that amount.
  • If the decedent is survived by descendants who are also the descendants of the surviving spouse, and by descendants who are not descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse takes the first $150,000 of the net estate plus one-half of anything exceeding that amount.
  • If the decedent is not survived by any descendants who are also descendant of the surviving spouse but is survived by descendants who are not descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse takes the first $100,000 of the net estate plus one-half of anything exceeding that amount.

The Descendants Share of the Intestacy Estate

Under the Code, if no spouse survives but descendants of the decedent survive, the descendants take the entire net estate by “right of representation.”

Do the Parents Get a Portion of the Intestacy Estate?

Under the Code, if a decedent is not survived by a spouse or descendants, the entire net estate passes to the decedent’s parents equally or, if only one survives, to the survivor.

What do Other Relatives Get?

Under the Code, if a decedent is not survived by a spouse, descendants, or parents, the entire net estate passes to the decedent’s parent’s descendants (siblings of the decedent). If there are no siblings or descendants of siblings, the net estate goes to the decedent’s grandparents or their descendants.

What is the Net Estate under Intestacy Law?

The “Net Estate” is the amount left for distribution to heirs after all debts, family protections, taxes, and administrative expenses have been paid. “Family protections” include homestead allowances, family allowances, and exempt property allowances.

Intestacy Lawyer Free Consultation

If you are here, you probably have an estate or intestacy issue you need help with. If you do, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506