Divorce is also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony (spousal support), child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person.
Divorce is different from annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash.
Divorce in Utah
If you are like most people, the decision to get a divorce was a long and hard choice. You have likely been under considerable stress, and just want to move forward as quickly as possible. Fortunately, Utah makes getting a divorce straightforward and relatively simple, especially if you and your spouse are in agreement on related issues. To seek an uncontested divorce in Utah, you simply need to fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit your forms to the county clerk. Online divorce paper preparation services like CompleteCase.com make the process even easier and less costly.
If you are in a situation where you and your spouse do not agree on issues – such as child custody, child support and spousal support – you may have a more complicated divorce ahead of you. Utah requires that you and your spouse come to an agreement on all matters such as these before it will grant a divorce. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will be forced to outline the terms of your divorce as best it can. Leaving the court to decide often results in terms that neither party is happy with.
One of the least expensive ways to resolve differences is through mediation. Divorce mediation in Utah requires meeting with your spouse and a professional mediator and working through the sticking points in your divorce. Ideally, the mediator can help you and your spouse come to a workable agreement on the important issues, allowing you to present the court with terms that are equitable and fair.
If you cannot work through things with a mediator, you will need to present your side to the judge and hope he or she decides in your favor. At this point it is advisable to seek the help of a divorce attorney, as your spouse will probably be doing the same. The more disagreements that need to be worked through with attorneys, the higher the financial cost of the divorce.
Utah Divorce Facts
In 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in Utah is 3.7 for every 1,000 residents. This rate is on the lower end of divorce rates in the United States. Utah is a state that allows both fault-based and no-fault divorces. In a fault-based divorce, you must prove grounds for the divorce, such as adultery, willful neglect and habitual drunkenness. In a no-fault divorce, you only have to list “irreconcilable differences”; the marriage is no longer salvageable.
No-fault divorce is usually the more popular option, as it is cheaper and easier to pursue. It also helps avoid any embarrassing information from being aired in front of the court. However, some people choose fault-based divorce instead. Proving problems like adultery can be influential when trying to seek child custody, child support and spousal support.
Utah’s residency requirements for divorce are three months. Either you or your spouse must live in a single county in the state for that period of time before you can file for divorce.
HOW DO I FILE A DIVORCE PETITION IN UTAH?
You may be thinking about starting the divorce process on your own without an attorney. If so, we’d like to run you through the steps of filing a divorce petition, in hopes of making your work a little easier.
How to File a Divorce in Utah
In Utah or elsewhere, divorce for any married couple will accomplish two things: (1) severing the marital relationship, and (2) dividing assets and debts. If they have been married for a significant length of time and one of them will be unable to be self-supporting after the divorce, the issue of alimony may also arise. If there are minor children, they will also need to resolve issues of child custody and support.
Residency and Where to File
In order to file for divorce in Utah, the party filing for divorce must be a resident of Utah and the county for at least 3 months. The case must be filed in the District Court in the county where the residency requirement is met.
The simplest procedure is an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse reach an agreement about the division of your property, and, if you have any children, what arrangements will be made for them. You begin the divorce procedure by filing a Complaint for Divorce, along with various supporting documents. For an uncontested divorce, one of these documents will be a marital settlement agreement outlining the division of assets, and your agreement regarding any children. These documents are filed with the court, and copies of them are provided to your spouse. You will attend a court hearing, at which time the judge will make sure that all of your paperwork is in order, perhaps ask you a few questions, and enter your Decree of Divorce.
Collaborative Divorce. Utah offers this process where each party hires a lawyer to assist them in trying to reach an agreement on all issues. There may also be a facilitator involved, to help focus the discussion. It is what we like to call mediation. Both parties must agree to this process, and either may stop it at any time. Any agreement will be signed by the parties and submitted to the court to be incorporated into a judgment or decree.
Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for divorce are legally recognized reasons to get a divorce. This is the justification for severing the marital relationship. Utah, like most states, has what are commonly called no-fault grounds for divorce, and several traditional fault-based grounds.
To get a no-fault divorce in Utah you need to state in the Complaint for Divorce that “there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage,” or the parties have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for 3 years under a judicial decree of separation.”
The fault-based grounds for divorce are: impotence, adultery, willful desertion for more than 1 year, willfully neglecting to provide the plaintiff with the common necessities of life, habitual drunkenness, conviction of a felony, cruel treatment to the extent of “bodily injury or great mental distress,” and incurable insanity. However, in most cases, there is no reason to use any of these, since they add complexity to the process by requiring proof.
When you have completed all of the divorce papers for your Utah divorce, you will need to file them with your local county clerk. You will either submit your paperwork to the county court where you reside or where your spouse resides. Make at least two copies of your documents, one to keep for your records and one to serve to your spouse.
Utah allows you to mail in your divorce papers. If you choose this option, make sure to use registered mail so you get a receipt that verifies the documents were received. You can also deliver your paperwork in person to the court. Before you leave to file the papers check online for the current fee schedule, or contact the county clerk to verify. You will need to pay the state fee when you file, using a payment method that is accepted by the court.
Steps for Filing a Divorce Petition online
1. The first thing you will want to do is visit the Utah courts’ online assistance program by clicking here. Fill out the form for the divorce petition.
2. After you have completed the divorce petition through OCAP, print it out, review it, and sign it. Make a copy for you and you can give the original to the court.
3. After you have the divorce petition completed, take it to your nearest district court located in the county where you reside, find the office of the clerk of the court, and hand the petition to the clerk and let them know you are filing a divorce petition. the clerk will ask you for a $310 filing fee which you can pay by card, check, or cash.
4. You should also fill out a vital statistics form and file it along with the petition. The clerk will charge you an $8 filing fee for the vital statistics form.
5. After you file the petition for divorce with your county district court, the clerk will let you know what your case number is and who is the assigned commissioner and judge to your case. You should include the case number, name of the judge, and name of the commissioner on every court paper you file thereafter.
6. Next, fill out a summons. A summons is a documents that requires your spouse to file an answer to your divorce petition.
7. Next, you need to serve your spouse with the summons and divorce petition. You can do this through a process serving company or anybody else who is over 18 years old. The process server or other person who will serve the papers needs to do so personally by handing the documents to your spouse.
8. Once your spouse has been served with the divorce petition and summons he will have 20 days to file an answer to the petition. If he does not respond within that time you can ask for a default judgment.
REQUIREMENTS TO FILE FOR A UTAH DIVORCE
- Utah allows you to divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
- You or your spouse must have resided in the state of Utah for at least three months prior to filing for divorce.
- If you are parents of a minor child, you or your spouse must have resided in Utah for at least 6 months prior to filing, although the courts may make exceptions in certain circumstances.
- You may need to attend a Divorce Education class if you are parents of minor children.
GROUNDS FOR A UTAH DIVORCE
- As in most states, Utah divorce law allows you to obtain a no-fault divorce. You must merely demonstrate that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.
- Utah also allows you to seek a divorce if
your spouse has committed one of the following:
- inability to perform sexually upon marriage
- willful desertion for at least 12 months
- willful neglect
- habitual intoxication
- felony conviction
- extreme cruelty
- incurable insanity
- If you have a minor child in the household, you must have resided in Utah for at least 6 months prior to seeking a divorce. If there are no minor dependents, then this requirement is shortened to 3 months.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Utah
Utah requires that you serve copies of the divorce documents to your spouse within 120 days of filing. Although the 120-day window may seem like a lot of time, you should begin the serving process as soon as you file. It may take time to locate your spouse, and any delay in your serving the papers will prolong the time it takes to complete the divorce.
You have several options for serving your spouse, including hiring a sheriff’s deputy, hiring a private process server and serving the documents yourself. Hiring a third party will require paying a fee, but may be necessary if you and your spouse are not on good terms. However you serve the divorce papers, you will need to submit verification of service to the court to complete the filing process
Divorce Attorney Free Consultation
When you need divorce help to file online, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506