To quickly answer this question – there is no way to do an entire divorce online in the State of Utah – we can help you get divorced, but you need to sign documents and at least talk to us over the phone (or meet with us once). Most of the process can be done via our online portal if your case is not contested – you don’t even need to show up in court. If you are going through a divorce, you know how difficult it can be. On top of the emotional stress of ending your marriage, you are also required to wade through the legalities of splitting up your relationship, children, home, and family. Below, we answer some common legal questions about dissolution of marriage in Utah.
What are the Utah residency requirements?
When the divorce petition is filed, either the spouse who files it (the petitioner) or the spouse whom it is served on (the respondent) must have lived in Utah for the past six months. One of the spouses must have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at last 90 days before the filing.
How does a divorce begin?
The divorce process starts when one spouse files an “Original Petition of Divorce,” is filed. The petition is a written document you submit to the Utah court, asking the judge to grant your divorce. The petition must be served on your spouse.
After receiving your petition, your spouse has the right to file a written response. Some attorneys believe there is a definite benefit in being the one who files the petition, while others think it makes little difference to the ultimate outcome of the case.
Should I settle or go to court?
Like most states, Utah favors voluntary settlements in divorce cases, by which divorcing spouses attempt to resolve their conflicts without court intervention, if at all possible. To this end, Utah law allows the spouses to agree — or the court to require the spouses — to mediate their case. Most divorce cases are settled out of court, requiring only the court’s signature on the Final Decree.
Can I have an uncontested divorce?
Yes, if you and your spouse essentially agree on all issues. Uncontested divorces are most common for couples who have no children, have not been married long, and have not acquired lots of assets (or incurred lots of debts) during their marriage. If you and your spouse are among the lucky few who are having a truly amicable divorce, you will have to put your agreement in writing and attend a hearing before the judge at which your divorce is finalized.
How long will my divorce take?
It depends on your situation. A contested case will take much longer than an uncontested case, for example. In any event, Utah law require you to wait at least 60 days after filing your petition before the court grants your divorce. This is called a “cooling-off period.” In theory, it grants the couple time to reconcile before a Final Decree is issued. Of course, that doesn’t happen often.
What’s the difference between fault and no-fault divorce?
Utah allows divorce for both fault grounds and no-fault grounds. In a no-fault divorce, a couple essentially states that their marriage is no longer working, without assigning legal blame to either spouse. The grounds for no-fault divorce are:
- Insupportability: The marriage has become “insupportable” because discord or a conflict of personalities destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
- Separation: The spouses have lived apart, without cohabitation, for at least three years.
The fault grounds for marriage include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and insanity.
How will our assets be divided?
Utah is a community property state. The judge will divide the marital property equally between the spouses. Each spouse will get to keep his or her own separate property, which includes property the spouse earned prior to marriage and gifts or inheritances to that spouse alone during marriage.
Can I get spousal support?
Utah isn’t particularly friendly to the idea of alimony. Generally, a court will award alimony only in limited circumstances. For example, if you are unable to support yourself due to a disability, or unable to work because you must care for a child with a disability, the court may award spousal support.
Will I be granted custody or visitation rights?
In Utah, both parents are typically appointed as “Joint Managing Conservators” of the child. In essence, this means the parents have joint legal custody of the child, and share the right to make important decisions about how the child is raised, educated, and so on. Utah law presumes that this arrangement is in the best interests of the children. However, the court will make other arrangements if there has been domestic violence or abuse.
The courts also usually implement the Utah Standard Possession order, which determines each parent’s physical custody and visitation rights.
What about child support?
Child support guidelines in Utah are pretty cut and dried. The parent who does not have custody must pay a certain percentage of his or her net income for child support. The percentage depends on how many children the parent is supporting: For one child, the court generally awards 20% of the net resources of the non-custodial parent for one child, 25% for two, and higher percentages for more children.
This provides a baseline amount that is presumed to be fair. However, if a parent believes that the amount generated by using the guidelines is too high or too low, the parent can ask the court to change the award, based on a long list of factors provided in the Utah Family Code. These factors include the child’s needs, any special expenses the child or parent incurs, and how much time each parent spends with the child.
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. We will fight for you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506