Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Utah one of few states making divorce harder

Marriage has long been held as the cornerstone of American values. In the past, marriage was held with such high regard that divorce was a near impossibility. Just a hundred years ago, ending a marriage was much like a criminal trial. There had to be evidence of an act such as abuse or adultery in order for a couple to divorce and they were usually granted only after great difficulty. With the creation of no-fault divorce, spouses were able to dissolve their marriage for a wide range of reason with little difficulty.

Over the last 50 years, divorce has become a cornerstone of American life. While sad to some, the ability to end a marriage and start over is a blessing for others. The current comfort and ease of divorce all has to do with the national implementation of no-fault divorces. There are those who believe that divorce has become too easy and, in states such as Utah, people have worked toward making divorce more difficult. Over the last two years, Utah has enacted at least two laws making it more difficult to divorce. Laws such as these can be difficult to judge as they create an inconvenience for every person who seeks a divorce, but they may save marriages, which is viewed as a positive by much of society.

Utah passed the first law in 2012 when it reenacted the 90 day waiting period for divorces. The second law just recently passed and requires couples with children under 18 to take a class before custody or financial orders can be granted. Other states have gone further and passed laws extending the waiting period for divorce to a year or more, and more than a few states have attempted to do away with their no-fault divorce system.

Family laws will likely continue to change as people's ideas regarding the act differ. It would seem wiser though to focus on keeping a marriage from reaching divorce than punishing those who decide to divorce. However, divorces will continue to occur as will the difficulties that come along with them. Therefore, those who find themselves amidst divorce proceedings should seek competent legal assistance.

Source: Deseret News, "Get married, stay married? No fault divorce under fire" Eric Schulzke, April 18, 2014

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