Divorce and Minor Children

Divorce and Minor Children

Divorce is not easy for anyone involved, but it can present particular hardships for the children of a failed marriage.

A clear sense of how children react to a divorce may help parents better help their children through the process and secure better long-term outcomes. Parents should be aware of these issues, and try to follow these guidelines – Respect the relationship. Just because partners may divorce doesn’t mean that a child is divorcing a parent, even an absent one.

Respecting their desire to maintain a strong relationship with their mom or dad — for whom there is no replacement — will help your child deal with the aftermath of divorce.

Parents need to be especially vigilant to avoid putting their children in the middle of conflicts between parents. Sometimes children try on their own to smooth the relationship between them, but they shouldn’t have to shoulder that responsibility or have their loyalty pulled in opposite directions.

Many times parents will act out of guilt and go easy on their children after a divorce, understanding the difficulties it creates in their lives. Parents need to resist the temptation to be too soft and still discipline their children in appropriate ways.

Sometimes children will try to fill in the holes left by divorce, such as attempting to solve a parent’s loneliness or taking on an authoritative role over younger siblings. Even though kids are trying to help, they need to be encouraged to attend to their own needs, interests and personal development rather than take on undue responsibilities.

Grounds for Divorce – Being in Jail or Prison

While the state of Utah does allow no-fault divorces, you can still also pursue a fault-based divorce if you wish. In such a scenario, it is your responsibility to prove the other spouse’s misconduct in the marriage caused its irretrievable breakdown. Common grounds for fault-based divorce include adultery, cruelty, substance abuse and insanity.
Imprisonment can also be used as a ground for divorce in Utah. It may or may not be more advantageous to file for no-fault divorce or separation rather than waiting for a prison sentence to be handed down. But if you do pursue imprisonment as a ground for divorce.

To do this, you need to file for divorce on the ground of imprisonment. Make sure you speak with a lawyer before you do this. Remember, you must be able to prove a judge sentenced your spouse to a prison term and that it occurred during your marriage. In Utah, your spouse must be sentenced to at least three consecutive years in prison, with that sentence beginning after your marriage began.
Proving your spouse was sentenced to prison is easy — that information is public knowledge to anyone who wishes to see it. You must also meet the residency requirements to file for divorce, which is 180 days in Utah.
After you file for divorce, you will submit a copy of the paperwork to the court and your spouse. Typically you are able to have this paperwork professionally served, but if your spouse is in prison this step could have some extra complications. There are specific legal requirements for how to serve court papers to a prison inmate. You might, for example, need to send all the documents to a prison litigation coordinator, or mail the papers to the prison’s warden with your spouse’s inmate number included on the envelope. You can speak with the prison administrator for more information about how to go about this.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will 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
Ascent Law LLC
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