Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Understanding the process of a Utah divorce

When a couple divorces in Utah, there are many issues that must be dealt with to the satisfaction of both parties. Given the nature of a split and what led to it in the first place, it's exceedingly unlikely that both spouses will agree on all of the divorce legal issues. However, the state has laws in place and informative sources designed to help people in the midst of a divorce navigate the process as much as possible.

During a divorce, the biggest issues that arise generally have to do with child custody, spousal support and the distribution of various assets. It must be understood before anything else that the state has residency requirements, making it necessary for the divorcing couple to have lived in Utah for at least three months. With child custody, the parent seeking custody must have lived in the state for at least six months. Grounds for the divorce must be presented. Frequently, the easiest path to take is to claim that there were irreconcilable differences. If there was abuse or adultery in the relationship, these may be referenced instead.

In the state of Utah, there are other aspects of the divorce process that are in place to make certain that the couple is certain of their decision. A ninety-day waiting period will be in effect from the date of the filing until the divorce is finalized. If there are minor children, the couple is required to attend a divorce class prior to it being granted. With issues that are being contested, there will be mandatory mediation. In a best case scenario, the couple is able to agree on the issues amicably and a trial can be avoided. If there are children involved or other dispute, it may be unlikely to avoid a trial.

With the significant life-changes that it entails, divorce is a major upheaval in the lives of everyone involved. This is a large concern when there are children involved. Since Utah takes the concept of marriage seriously and views divorce as a last resort, the couple must be prepared to follow all the numerous rules and, hopefully, agree to part ways without rancor. If that's not possible, gaining legal assistance and knowing the laws of the state and its intricacies can go a long way in making the process as smooth as possible.

Source: Utah Courts, "How to Divorce," Accessed July 29, 2014

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