Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

How to get divorced in Utah

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, then you will need to follow certain steps to file for divorce. This post will provide you with a general overview of the divorce process in Utah, but you may need to speak to an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

In order to get divorced in Utah, you and your spouse must live in a single county in Utah for a minimum of three months immediately before filing for divorce. You may also have to pay a fee to file the petition, as well as a number of other fees. Those who cannot afford the fees can have them waived if they can prove that they are unable to pay.

Once the petitioner has filed the appropriate documents, he or she must serve the respondent with the petition and other documents within 120 days of the petition filing. If the respondent was served in Utah, then he or she has 21 days to respond to the divorce petition. If the respondent files an answer, both parties must disclose a Financial Declaration to each other. The couple will also have to attend mediation to attempt to resolve any contested issues before the case can progress.

If the respondent does not file an answer within the 21 days, then the petitioner can request a default judgment. A default judgment allows for the petitioner to get what he or she asked for in the divorce without having to hear from the respondent.

Utah requires a 90-day waiting period between the date the petition was filed and the date the final decree is signed. This waiting period can be waived in certain circumstances.

If you have minor children, you will likely also have to deal with child custody issues. The child must reside with at least one of the parents in Utah for a minimum of six months before proceeding with a divorce that will contain child custody disputes. The court will consider the best interests of the child when evaluating any child custody determinations.

Before filing for divorce, you should make sure you understand the divorce process. Following the correct court procedures is not only essential to make sure your divorce is finalized, but it is also critical to ensuring that you are not taken advantage of throughout the process. Those who choose to seek assistance in navigating the divorce process and developing strong legal arguments to support their positions should consider contacting a legal advocate.

Source: Utah Courts, "Divorce," accessed on March 14, 2017

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