If you enter into marriage under the age of 20 and/or have an income of less than 25,000, your risk of divorce skyrockets. Throw in a spouse losing their job or a surprise pregnancy, and your marriage may be doomed before it begins. Here in Utah, we have a tendency to marry quite young. The median age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men. Now compare that to the average age of marriage in Utah, which is 24 for women and 26 for men.
Divorce Has Declined Nearly Everywhere Except Utah
Utah’s divorce rates run slightly higher than the national average. Statistics often attribute this to Utah having larger families than the national average, citing more than 5% of families have 7+ family members compared to the 3.25 national average (2013).
Utah Requires Divorcing Couples to Attend a Divorce Education Class
Utah legislators have created a mandatory divorce orientation course that couples must complete. Your divorce cannot be finalized until both you and your significant other have completed the course. You are only required to take the divorce education class if there are minor children involved. The one-time class reviews resources for custody and child support issues, clarifies the divorce process, and consequences of divorce. More information about Utah Divorce class requirements and fees can be found here.
People May Judge You and Ask Why
The news that you are getting divorced has spread through your church, neighborhood, and/or workplace, and we are a curious species. Don’t be surprised when people you barely know ask you why you the nitty-gritty on why you are getting divorced. Insensitive comments such as, “did she leave you for someone younger?” and other flagrant comments are to be expected. For the sake of your children, you may not wish to respond in detail.
While you are preparing your financials for your divorce, be sure to take some time to handle the emotional side as well. People may even tell you that they haven’t liked your ex since before you got married. They are not usually trying to make you feel bad; quite the opposite, they are usually trying to tell you that they agree with your decision and are trying to make you feel better. My point – PREPARE YOURSELF for these comments.
Friends and family members may also take sides or disappear completely. You may be the spouse who was cheated on, and people may still not take your side. Divorce is a distressing topic, and people may want to distance themselves from the perceived drama. Just remember to stay true to yourself, cut out the negative people, and create a foundation of support. Divorce gets easier as time goes on, and surrounding yourself with those that will help you weather the storm helps the process move faster.
You May Feel Terrible About Getting a Divorce – It’s OK
There is much guilt and regret present in nearly every divorce. You may easily blame yourself because you run through all the things you could have done differently, because your children blame you, or you may feel guilty simply because you were the one who filed the divorce papers. This is normal!! Make a choice to move forward, and take care of yourself. Throughout the divorce process you will have good days and bad days. Feeling guilty or overwhelmed does not mean that you should give the other spouse everything. Doing so will probably not lessen the grief on either side, and you are still entitled to half of everything.
Additionally, people may want to tell you their divorce horror stories. Please remember that every situation is different, and you shouldn’t let someone else’s negative experience stress you out. When you are feeling stressed, rely on professional advice from your family law attorney, mental health counselor, or financial advisor as they are qualified to give you answers pertaining to your specific situation.
Parenting After Divorce May Become More Difficult
There will be many disagreements – maybe not fair or logical ones. There may be pain when you refer to your ex as “mommy” to your kids, however that is her name to them, and you need to be the adult about it. No matter what are your kids are, please practice HIGH levels of self-control and not bad mouth the other parent in front of your children. You may think with the other spouse out of the picture, that you can make all parenting decisions by yourself. If you’re granted sole legal custody, then you can make major decision about the kid(s) by yourself. Having sole physical custody simply means that you are the parent the kid(s) live with. Make a choice to try to co-parent as best you can. If you can’t get along, you may need to have separate birthdays, and the more times in your kids’ lives you are going to miss out on. Just because you are divorced, doesn’t mean that you have to be enemies.
If the Utah Divorce Decree is Violated, There Can be Serious Consequences.
Once the court has ruled and the papers have been signed, both parties are bound to the terms set forth in the divorce decree. Violating any part of the agreement may put the violator in contempt of court, and your family law attorney can help you file a contempt motion. The most common divorce violations are non-payment of child support, not complying with the visitation schedule, withholding visitation, and non-payment of alimony. If your ex does not bring the kids back at the time set forth in the divorce decree, the police will not help you bring them back unless there is an immediate threat to them. What the police will do is come to your house and make a record of “visitation interference,” which your family law attorney can use as evidence in a contempt hearing. In your court hearing you must be able to state what areas of the decree have been violated, and the burden of proof always lies with the accuser. If you are found in contempt, the violator may be given a period of time to correct the issue or they may face jail time until the matter is resolved.
If you ex is not paying alimony or child support due to unemployment, you can’t make your spouse pay if they do not bring in an income, however, past due child support will accrue. Your family law attorney will likely recommend that you contact the Utah Office of Recovery Services (ORS). The ORS makes sure that Utah parents are responsible for their children’s support, and can help you collect a judgment. Click here for more information on the Office of Recovery Services.
Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney
I understand that a Utah Divorce is emotionally exhausting, even outside of the legal realm. We are a family-owned law firm specializing in handling many difficult circumstances when it comes to Salt Lake City family law situations. We specialize on father’s rights in Utah and are equally skilled in representing a mother’s position as well. Whether you are dealing with divorce, separation, alimony, child support, custody, paternity, domestic violence, or visitation issues, Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law can help. We offer legal representation that is cost-efficient and trustworthy. Call us to take advantage of our free divorce consultation.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce (DIY Divorce)
For uncontested divorces, our most popular service offered is our Do-It-Yourself Divorce. Doing your own divorce through Utah Legal Clinic is easy and economical. The process will save you substantial money and allows you to end a marriage with minimum involvement by lawyers and the legal system. We have been helping people in Utah do their own divorces since 1973. To qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce, your divorce must be completely uncontested. This means you and your spouse must be in full agreement as to all terms. Many times, Utah Legal Clinic can determine quickly over the phone if you qualify for the Do-It-Yourself Divorce service. In most cases, no court hearing is required for uncontested divorces.
We recommend that you come in and visit us and stay away from do it yourself divorce stuff. You wouldn’t do your own dental work. You would do your own open heart surgery. Don’t do your own divorce.
• Intake appointment with a Paralegal and/or Attorney to determine that you qualify for a Do-It-Yourself Divorce;
• Preparation of all necessary documents;
• Notary for all your signatures requiring a notary on the divorce paperwork;
• Detailed step-by-step instructions for filing your own papers and getting all necessary signatures from your spouse;
• Copies of all executed documents for you;
• Copies of all executed documents for your spouse;
• Assistance throughout the steps of your “Do-It-Yourself Divorce,” if needed.
Who Is Eligible?
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 all of their 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. In some circumstances the filing fee may be waived. For more information on waivers, you can visit the Court’s website.
Utah’s waiting period and other requirements
In Utah, you can expect your divorce to take at least one month. Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 provides that couples must wait 30 days after filing their divorce petition before a final order can be entered.
Prior to 2019, there was a 90-day waiting period was required in divorce cases. The waiting period could also be waived for any good cause set forth in the divorce papers.
In 2012, the Utah legislature amended Utah Code Ann. §30-3-18 to prevent parties from waiving the 90-day waiting period unless they can establish extraordinary circumstances. While it remains, unclear what may qualify as extraordinary circumstances, it is clear that the legislature wanted to make it more difficult for couples to get a speedy divorce. Under the prior version of the statute, couples needed only to assert that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to reconciliation and that they were certain any further attempts to save the marriage would be futile. Now, couples will need to show that there is some other pressing reason, such as a new marriage or extraordinary financial situations, in order to obtain a waiver of the mandatory waiting period.
Even under the best set of circumstances, it will likely take at least 90 days after you file your Utah Petition for Divorce to obtain a final order. If the divorce is contested or the required papers are not filed, the divorce may take much longer. There are numerous affidavits, information sheets and other documents which must be filed with the court before the judge will enter the Decree of Divorce.
With contested divorce cases, it may take years to obtain a Decree of Divorce. Couples are required to fully disclose all financial assets through a lengthy discovery process. It may be necessary to retain other professional to assist in the division of property, such as forensic accountants, home appraisers and tax experts. Couples with children frequently retain guardian ad litem attorneys to interview the children or psychologists to complete a thorough custody evaluation.
Hopefully, Utah lawmakers will eventually realize the need for a faster and simpler divorce process. The current Utah belief seems to be that the courts can save marriages by slowing down the divorce process. When a couple decides that their marriage is so irretrievably broken that they need to divorce, it is generally not in anyone’s best interests to try to keep that couple together. Nobody knows whether a marriage can be saved better than the two individuals who are living in that marriage. If a couple is able to work out a divorce resolution without court intervention, Utah should let them be divorced.
The family law team at Ascent Law LLC understands the need to have divorce cases handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. Family law attorney Hailey Black can guide you through a contested divorce or work with you to ensure all required papers for your uncontested divorce are in order. During your initial consultation, we will advise you on your options and provide you with an approximate timeline for resolving your divorce case.
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.
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