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Are Divorce Records Public In Utah?

Are Divorce Records Public In Utah

Utah natives may wonder if their divorce records are public. Before I talk about the divorce records being public, I would like to talk about divorce records in general and where we are now.

You can start with the Utah Territorial Divorce Records 1852-1859. Researchers need to know an approximate date or time frame in which divorce took place as well as where the partners were living when the divorce occurred. This will enable them find territorial divorce records. Very few of these records are name-indexed.

Due to this, researchers may find their work of researching taking a lot of time if they lack this information. Between 1852 and 1887, two separate courts had simultaneous power over divorce proceedings, the county Probate Court for each individual county and District Court which covered multiple counties.

Individuals seeking a divorce in Utah between 1852 and 1878 had the liberty to file the case anywhere within the region since there were no laws specifying your residence. Majority of the people from Utah filed their cases within the area that is in their county probate court or area district court.

The good thing is that there were no requirements while filing their cases. A residency requirement was initiated in 1878 whereby there were specifications about the location. This was to affect divorce cases from June 1878. Persons filing for divorce had to file in the County Probate Court which occurred through 1878 or the District Court with dominion over their place of residence.

In 1887, the Probate Courts’ power over divorce cases were removed by the Federal government and so all divorces were filed in the District Court only between 1887 and 1896. District courts had power over several counties. Very few records which have territorial divorce proceedings are name-indexed. Actually not all of them have survived.

Consult multiple series for the same agency when researching divorces: while case files series generally provide the largest amount of information about divorce proceedings, occasionally files do not survive when minute book entries do or vice-versa. Also different record types document different aspects of the case.

Divorce Records, 1896- Present

Divorces must be filed in the county in which at least one of the parties reside at the time the objection is filed. Records of divorces filed since 1896 in many District Courts are still accessed directly through those district courts, though some have made arrangements to store records older than 50 years with the State Archives.

Is Divorce public in Utah?

Yes and No. The Utah State Legislature has made privatized divorce records. This means that if you, as a citizen off the street, takes a stroll down into the Matheson Courthouse down at 450 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah and walk into the court clerk’s office and ask for divorce filings, he or she would certainly not agree.

This is to mean that divorce records are private. If you have been divorced for a number of years in Utah, there is a set of data in which you can search or even ask the court clerk to find it for you in the database. In addition to this, it is possible to search and see if someone has documented a divorce or if there is any ruling regarding divorce that has been entered.

It is good to confirm the divorce decrees especially if you are dating a person claiming to be a divorcee. You will be able to see if he or she has divorce records or if they are not being honest with you. This will save you a lot of future trouble in your relationship or marriage especially if the person is lying to you about his or her divorce.

You will be able to make a good decision with all the facts at hand. There is an added advantage to an attorney or guardian ad litem since they can access since they can access court documentations by filing a ‘Notice of Appearance’ or ‘Appearance of Counsel’. Notice of Appearance is a document from an attorney or parties to show the court your involvement in the case.
If you represent one of the parties in court then through the Notice of Appearance you should be allowed to see the information in the court docket which contains both decided and pending cases. It may also contain all pleadings. In addition to that, if the case is yours meaning that you are the one seeking the divorce or the Respondent, you are entitled to see the court file since the case is yours.

Parents, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren may also place a request. Only them can be allowed to make such requests. In Utah, divorce papers are concealed.

However, the digital era has made it possible to access information online. The information can be obtained in certain websites. You can access if you have viable data concerning the city, county and state.

Divorce records database are maintained by many companies and allow users through the internet access their websites.

It is important to become a member of authenticated and secure website. Free information is also available but is basic and does not provide enough information. It is good to choose the best website to get sufficient information.

Records That Are Essential To The State of Utah

All vital records in the state of Utah concerning the citizen’s’ most important life events are maintained in The Office of Vital Records. These crucial records may include: birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. The records are usually assembled and stored in permanent central registry state entities. These records are used to compile data that is, developing statistical analysis of the population of Utah.

Birth Records

Birth records are contained in a birth certificate. They are usually written when a child is born. A birth certificate can either be the original document showing or confirming the birth or a photocopy of the original birth certificate which still has the information on birth.
The birth records catalogs of the state of Utah are divided into these categories: early-1905 and late-1905. When it comes to early-1905 category, all records were collected from Utah church registers not forgetting the county records of essential statistics which provide the earliest evidence of birth.
Majority of the clerks kept better records in the final years of the 1890s. The records from these times are kept and found at the Utah Family Library History and Utah State Archives. In the second category which is 1905- present day, records are kept and found at the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

Death Records

When a person dies records are also kept to show that he or she no longer exists. A death record has more or less of the information in the death certificate. Some states such as California have two categories through which death records are managed.
These may include; County records and State records. Collected from Utah counties represents every record contained in the county records. These records contain microfilmed copies of the original records obtained from many counties to the Utah Bureau of Vital Records.
When it comes to the second category, records are collected yearly at the Utah Department of Health.

Marriage and Divorce Records

The government of Utah issues a marriage or divorce record only after civil registration of the marriage or divorce occurs. The record is usually issued by a government official. Civil registration of marriage was not necessary or was not a requirement in Utah until 1887.
This does not mean that there are no records of marriage prior to 1887. Some of them are in the justice of the peace or probate court records.
These early marriages records were usually interfiled with other court matters. Most of these court records are now at either the county clerk’s office or the the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has pre-1887 court records for a number of Utah counties. There were over two thousand divorces from 1847 to 1877.

If we take a look during the territorial period, the federal district courts had power over divorce cases from the year 1852 to 1895.
The probate courts also had dominion from 1852 to 1887. After 1896, power over divorce was given to state district courts. Currently divorce records are kept at the Utah State Department of Health. A law by the name the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act in 1991 was passed by the Utah State Legislature.

This law was enabled in 1997 and its aim is to ensure that court records and other public records are disclosed to the public. This law has been of assistance since any citizen can request to see all public records via the assigned specialized offices within the set terms.

For years it has been reported that Utah has a higher than average divorce rate but census data shows that Utah’s men and women are least likely to be divorced. This is the reason why: Utahns get remarried faster and those second or third marriages seem to last.

Due to this, Utah has the fifth- lowest and percentage of divorced men, at 8.2 percent, and the fourth lowest percentage for women at 10.2. The factor that distinguishes Utah from other states is that its residents get married at an earlier age compared to residents of other states in the same nation. Due to that, Utah has slew of young divorced couples who have a higher probability to re-enter the dating world than a person whose marriage breaks later in life.

Age is a great determinant after divorce because it determines if you will be remarried or not. In addition to this, The Church of Latter-day Saints plays a big role in all of Utah’s marriage and divorce statistics. The Mormon faith also encourages marriage at a young age and puts a lot of emphasis on the marriage institution.

This greatly challenges divorced and widowed Mormons to get back into dating. This is a good explanation why Utah has a higher percentage of people who have or are married. According to the information from 2013 census in Utah, 73 percent of Utah women and 68 percent of Utah men have been married at least once, while nationwide, 70 percent of women and 64 percent of men have tied the knot.

Ten Cities In Utah With The Highest Divorce Rates

1. Vernal
2. Washington Terrace
3. Ogden
4. Moab
5. Sunset
6. Murray
7. Price
8. Midvale
9. Roy
10. South Salt Lake

If you can, you should try to avoid divorice. This is because divorce has disadvantages such as:
1. It reduces living standards
When divorce occurs it usually results into two families where there was one family. It is usually said that two are better than one. When there was unity or before the divorce both partners use to support the family using their income but now that the family has split up the living standards will lower since each partner will be supporting himself or herself wherever she is living. If you had a lavish lifestyle you will start watching your budget and being keen on how you spend your money.

2. Divorce changes relationships

It is obvious that your relationship with your ex will change. Apart from the spouse, your relationship with his or her family and relatives will change. Divorce can make you lose people who at one time were the dearest to you.

This usually happens when friends take sides and start viewing you as the worst person. After divorcing, the divorcees find themselves distancing themselves from married people. They mostly stay with single people so as to get a little comfort.

3. Divorce Hurts Children

Children of divorced parents are more likely to have problems such as depression, delinquency, low school performance and social problems. These problems may come as a result of marital conflicts at home or due to the divorce itself.

There are some factors at home that are bad enough that unless they are eliminated a divorce might be better for the children. They may include violence against children or spouse, continuing and open substance abuse, recurring inappropriate expressions of anger for example constantly yelling or destruction of property and continuous involvement of the children between the conflict of the parents. In the absence of one of these factors however, research has found out that in the absence of one of these factors, intact but unhappy homes are on average happier and better than children whose parents have divorced. This is applicable even when parents make all the right decisions to help their children through a divorce.

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 for your free consultation. 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

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Michael Anderson

About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.

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