Doing your own divorce through a Utah Legal Clinic is not easy and not economical. You should always hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney will save you substantial money in the long run.
In order to represent yourself that is for you to do your own Do-It-Yourself Divorce both you and your spouse must agree upon all terms of the divorce such as debt division, property division, and child custody. In order to complete a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be simple. Parties that have been separated for a long time, who have few debts, and who have already physically divided their entire property can easily proceed with a Do-It-Yourself Divorce. We encourage you to have already mutually agreed with your spouse as to all terms of the divorce before you come in for your appointment. You should prepare a complete list of all items that have been resolved, how debts and property should be divided, etc. Our office can help you determine if your divorce is considered simple. Representing yourself in a divorce involving complicated terms or extensive debts and property is discouraged.
The filing fee for a divorce in Utah is $318. That fee is paid directly to the Court when you file your divorce papers. Our fee for the Do-It-Yourself Divorce without minor children (for an action not involving custody of minor children) is $275.00. That amount includes 30 pages of typing necessary for the divorce. Thus, your total cost with the court filing fee is $593.00. Our fee for the Do-It-Yourself Divorce with minor children (for an action involving custody of children) is $375.00 which includes 50 pages of typing. Thus, your total cost with the court filing fee is $693.00. In many circumstances the filing fee may be waived. For more information on waivers, you can visit the Court’s website.
There is a mandatory thirty (30) day waiting period for all divorces in Utah. This waiting period is intended to allow a “cool off” period for parties contemplating divorce and offer a chance at reconciliation. In some cases, the court will waive the mandatory waiting period. To have the waiting period waived, the parties must demonstrate to the court that the parties have attempted to reconcile but have been unable to do so, or that there are other circumstances that prevent the parties from reconciling. Our office can prepare the additional paperwork asking the court to waive the mandatory waiting period for an additional $25. However, we cannot guarantee that the Court will waive your waiting period.
If you have minor children from your marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend a mandatory one-hour Divorce Orientation and a two-hour Divorce Education Class. Information about both classes can be found at Utah Courts. The cost for the Divorce Orientation is $20 per parent, and the cost for the Divorce Education Class is $35 per parent, for a total per-parent cost of $55. The costs to attend those required Courses are the responsibility of each parent. Proof of attendance for both you and your spouse must be filed with the Court prior to your divorce being entered. You should plan on attending the orientation and parenting class as soon as possible after you have filed your initial papers and received your case number. You do not have to attend that class with your spouse.
Under some circumstances, simple Do-It-Yourself Divorces may be handled by our office over the telephone and through the mail, with no appointment necessary. We charge an additional fee of $25 for this service. When you call, ask for more information if you are interested in our “divorce by mail” service.
Uncontested divorces are an option available to divorcing Utah couples with or without children. These types of divorces are generally less expensive and faster than traditional divorces because you avoid the expense of attorneys, custody evaluations and hiring experts for trial. If you and your spouse are able to agree on all issues regarding your divorce, including child custody, visitation and support, then an uncontested divorce is a real option. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on any issue in your divorce, then your divorce becomes contested and you will be required to attend a trial where a judge will decide the remaining issues in your divorce case.
The following is a list of some of the major issues that must be resolved between you and your spouse before filing an uncontested divorce action in Utah:
• division of real estate and personal property
• division of debts and assets
• child custody and visitation if you and your spouse have minor children
• child support, health and insurance coverage
• alimony or spousal support, and
• any other issues related to your marriage.
Beginning the Uncontested Divorce Process in Utah
To obtain an uncontested divorce in Utah you must meet the following criteria:
• you or your spouse have resided in Utah for at least 3 months, if minor children are involved, you must have resided in Utah for 6 months
• you and your spouse have agreed on all issues in your divorce, and
• child support and spousal support, custody and visitation are not requested, or there is a written agreement signed and notarized by both parties resolving those issues.
If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for filing the right documents with the right court. Utah’s district courts oversee divorce cases and trials. Utah has approximately 70 judges serving in the state’s eight judicial districts. Where you live will determine where you file for divorce because generally, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county in which you live. If you and your spouse have separated but still reside in Utah, either the county in which you lived, or where your spouse has lived for the last three months is proper to file your paperwork.
The Utah Courts site offers online forms for completing an uncontested divorce available here and or in hard copy at your local courthouse. The following documents must be filed with your divorce paperwork:
• Civil Coversheet
• Petition for Divorce
• Vital Statistics Form/Certificate of Dissolution
• Acceptance of Service
• Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds
• Military Service Declaration and Order
• Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law
• Decree of Divorce
If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, then the following forms must be filed as well:
• Child Support Worksheet
• Affidavit of Income and Compliance with Child Support Guidelines
• Financial Declarations, and
• Child Support Locator.
The required paperwork to complete a divorce in Utah may vary in your particular county, and thus, forms in addition to those listed above may be required to complete your divorce. Check with your local court clerk for more information and to determine whether you need to file additional forms.
Utah has a mandatory 90-day waiting period to complete a divorce. Under extraordinary circumstances, the 90-day waiting period may be waived. However, before a divorce will be granted to parents of minor children, both spouses must complete the Divorce Education Course. Utah does not require that you attend a court hearing before a judge will finalize your uncontested divorce. Instead, if all your paperwork is filed correctly and the judge finds that your agreement is reasonable and/or in the best interests of your children, then the judge will sign the Findings and Decree of Divorce. Note that the date the judge signs your Decree, is when your divorce becomes final.
• Consider hiring an attorney: If your divorce is complicated, an attorney can help guide you through the process and ensure everything is done correctly. You may have difficulty going it alone if you have complex child custody or support issues, if you and your spouse have been married for a while and have a lot of property and joint assets, or if you and your spouse disagree about any of these issues.
• Prepare your forms: Rather than physical forms, Utah has an Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) you can use to prepare the petition and other documents you will need to file for divorce. The online system includes instructions on how to fill out the forms correctly. After you input all the necessary information, the program will personalize the forms for you and prepare all the paperwork you need the only thing it won’t do is file the forms for you. When you file the forms, you also will be charged a $20 document preparation fee for using the OCAP service. Sign your divorce forms in the presence of a notary. Once you’ve finished preparing your forms and printed them, you must sign them in front of a notary public. If you’re unsure where to find a notary, check your bank – many banks offer notary services free of charge to their customers. You also may find notaries in private businesses such as check-cashing services, or at the courthouse.
• Serve your spouse. Within 120 days after you’ve filed your initial petition, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the petition, the summons, and all other documents you filed. You can either mail the documents using certified mail, or have the sheriff’s department or a private process serving company provide service for you for a fee After the other party has been served, you must file a proof of service document. The court won’t act on your petition until all parties to the action have been served.
• Wait for an answer. After you serve your spouse, they have 21 days to file a response to your petition. This time is extend to 30 days if he lives in another state. If your spouse files an answer, both of you must disclose to each other a Financial Declaration. On this form, each party discloses all income, assets, debt, and expenses both to the court and to each other. In addition, you must attach a number of financial documents, including pay stubs, copies of tax returns for the two tax years before the petition was filed, loan applications, financial statements, real estate appraisals, and other documents pertaining to any item listed on the form. If your spouse does not file an answer within the time specified on his summons, you may ask the court for a default judgment. A default judgment means you get everything you’ve asked for, and your spouse doesn’t have an opportunity to protest or tell their side of the story. Instead of a response contesting your petition, your spouse also may file a written stipulation that he agrees to the divorce. If you agree on the terms of the divorce, you can answer the questions in the OCAP Stipulation Interview and prepare agreed documents. However, you can only do this after you’ve filed a petition and served it on your spouse.
• Request a child custody evaluation. If you have outstanding issues regarding child custody and support and you and your spouse cannot agree, you can get a professional evaluator to perform a child custody evaluation and report their findings to the court. Either party may request an evaluation, or a judge may order one even if neither party requests it. These evaluations may be expensive. Typically, the cost is split among both parents. The custody evaluator observes and considers many factors related to the best interest of the child, the standard courts use to make child custody decisions. The evaluator reports on the child’s preference, bonds with each parent, the parents’ moral character, religious compatibility with the child, financial conditions, and other factors.
• Attend the pre-trial conference. Before the court schedules a trial, you must attend a pre-trial conference and make one last attempt to settle your case. If you cannot come to a resolution, you will schedule a trial and determine which issues need to be determined at trial.
• Prepare for your final hearing. After your pre-trial conference, the court will schedule a full trial to make a final decision if you and your spouse still have unresolved issues. Before your hearing, try to go to the courtroom where your hearing will be held and observe another hearing so you have some idea of what to expect. Collect all of your documents and evidence you intend to present and organize them neatly so you can find anything you need without shuffling a lot of papers or taking up time unnecessarily. Have at least four documents of any items you bring, if possible, so each party, the judge, and any witness can have their own copy to look at. Review the court map and make sure you know how to get to your courtroom. If necessary, go to the courthouse early and find it so you can make sure you know where you’re going.
• Attend your final hearing. Appear in court at the designated date and time of your hearing, dressed professionally and conservatively with all documents and witnesses you intend to present. Plan on getting there at least 30 minutes early so you have time to go through security, find your courtroom, and take a seat. You don’t want to be rushed. Leave any cell phones, electronic devices, or other items that might be confiscated at home. When your case is called, stand and identify yourself to the judge. Remain standing while the judge speaks to you. Treat the judge with respect, and don’t interrupt them or speak out of turn. The judge will give each spouse the opportunity to present their story. Don’t interrupt or argue with your spouse while they are talking. If the judge has any questions for you based on what he said, they will ask you once your spouse is finished speaking.
• Get copies of the final decree. You are not legally divorced until the judge signs the decree. Once the decree is finalized, you should get copies for your records. The judge may announce her decision at the conclusion of the hearing, or you may get it later. You should call the clerk’s office if you haven’t received a final written decree 60 days after your hearing. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you have 30 days to file an appeal.
Attorney For Divorce Utah County Free Consultation
When you need a divorce in Utah County, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506