Uncontested divorce can be relatively quick and less dramatic since it most often will avoid a trial. Your divorce is traumatic enough so going the uncontested route shows empathy for both parties and hopefully a solid foundation for co-parenting if children are involved. In the state of Utah, an uncontested divorce is certainly an option, this type of divorce is generally less expensive and faster than traditional divorces because you can avoid sky-high litigation fees, and the stressful drawn out trial hearings, which wind up being a complete waste of time. This is where hiring an experienced divorce attorney comes in, as understanding the divorce process can be very daunting. However, if you and your spouse can agree to be fair at least on the major issues regarding your divorce such as financial and property distribution, and child custody particulars, then an uncontested divorce is a real option.
Before you and your soon to be ex-spouse can rest easy you must first pummel through the following areas with a fine tooth comb:
• Real estate and personal property distribution
• Distribution of debts and assets
• Child custody and visitation agreement
• Child support, health, and insurance coverage for all children
• Alimony or spousal support & any lingering issues that need addressing
To obtain an uncontested divorce in Utah, you must meet the following criteria:
• Residency requirements: you and your spouse must have lived in Utah for 3 months; if you have minor children you must have resided in Utah for 6 months.
• All custody and support issues are agreed upon in writing and notarized by both parties.
If all criteria are met, you may begin divorce proceedings in the state of Utah, by completing the necessary forms. You may also seek help by researching online for help with completing the forms through online publications or by speaking with an experienced Divorce Attorney to help you complete the necessary forms.
What Forms Are Needed
The Utah court sites offer a detailed description of the forms that need to be completed. However, to make sure you complete the correct forms, understand the process better, and not relinquish your rights, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney.
To give you a more detailed explanation of the types of forms needed to complete your divorce process, you will expect to complete and sign the following forms below:
• 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 completed as well:
• Child Support Worksheet
• Affidavit of Income and Compliance with Child Support Guideline
• Financial Declarations, and
• Child Support Locator.
Can I file for my divorce in the State of Utah?
In almost all cases, you file for a divorce in the state where you reside. This means that if you are a resident of Utah, you file in Utah and are governed by Utah’s divorce laws even if you were married, for example, in California. You must meet Utah’s residency requirement for a Utah court to have jurisdiction over your divorce. Utah Divorce works as long as both you and your spouse agree about everything and both of you are willing to sign the divorce paperwork.
Do I need a lawyer to file for divorce in Utah?
Thousands of people divorce in Utah every year without hiring a lawyer. When spouses cannot agree about the terms and conditions of their divorce, they sometimes end up in court where a judge makes decisions for them. This is called a contested divorce, and hiring a lawyer is a good idea in this case. When a Utah divorce case is uncontested and both parties are willing to sign, (when you and your spouse agree about everything) filing your own divorce is a common choice in order to cut down legal expenses.
The residency requirements for a divorce in Utah are as follows:
• Either the Petitioner or the Respondent must be a bona fide resident of Utah for three months and of the county of filing. This applies to members of the armed services who are stationed in Utah.
• No hearing for the divorce may happen until 90 days have elapsed from the filing unless the court, “for good cause shown and set forth in the findings, otherwise orders.” This 90-day provision does not apply in any case where both parties have completed the mandatory classes.
What if my spouse does not live in Utah?
After you have printed all the divorce paperwork, you simply mail the documents to your spouse and he or she signs them. After your spouse returns them, you file in your local district court.
The grounds for divorce in Utah are as follows:
• No Fault: a) irreconcilable differences of the marriage, b) husband and wife living separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive months without cohabitation.
• Fault: a) impotency of the Respondent at the time of the marriage, b) adultery committed by the Respondent subsequent to the marriage, c) willful desertion of the Petitioner by the Respondent for more than one year, d) willful neglect of the Respondent to provide for the Petitioner the common necessities of life, e) habitual drunkenness of the Respondent, f) conviction of Respondent of a felony, g) cruel treatment of the Petitioner by the Respondent causing injury or great mental distress to the Petitioner.
How long does a divorce take in Utah?
Once the divorce paperwork has been filed in court, it takes at least 30 days for a divorce to be final unless a party is exempt from the 30-day provision mentioned above. The start to finish time of the divorce may vary depending on the caseload of the court and the availability of judges to sign the final divorce papers. In Utah, a divorce hearing is not typically required unless you and your spouse have children. If there are children involved, a short hearing, generally about 15 minutes, gives the court an opportunity to make certain that you understand the parameters of custody, visitation and support that are ordered as part of your divorce. If there are no children, the process in very streamlined. Since you and your spouse are in agreement, there is nothing for the court to decide.
How do I calculate how much child support I owe?
We provide Utah Child Support Worksheets inside your account. These worksheets make it very easy to calculate a monthly support amount. The support calculation is based on a number of variables, but the primary one is income. Once you have calculated the amount, you and your spouse decide if you want to deviate from it and the reasons for doing so.
Utah permits deviation from its child support guidelines if the court finds sufficient evidence to rebut the Utah Child Support guidelines by considering all relevant factors, including but not limited to: a) the standard of living of the parties; b) the relative wealth and income of the parties; b) the ability of the oblige to earn, e) the ability of an incapacitated adult to earn, or other benefits received by the adult child on the adult child’s behalf including Supplemental Security Income; f) the needs of the oblige, the obligor, and the child; g) the ages of the parties; and h) the responsibilities of the obligor and the oblige for the support of others. Child support can be modified based on a change in circumstances. In Utah, a change in circumstances means “a significant change in circumstances,” generally, changes “not considered when the original judgment was entered” that are “permanent and substantial” and/or “affect one’s current standard of living.”
What documents do I receive with my Utah account?
• Utah Filing Instruction
• Cover Sheet for Civil Filing Actions
• Verified Petition for Divorce
• Acceptance of Service, Appearance, Consent and Waiver
• Marital Settlement Agreement
• Schedule for Visitation/Parenting Time of Minor Children (attach to MSA)
• Affidavit Regarding the Children
• Affidavit of Income Verification and Compliance with the Uniform Child Support Guidelines
• Child support Obligation Worksheet (Sole Custody)
• Child Support Obligation Worksheet (Joint Custody)
• Child Support Obligation Worksheet (Split Custody)
• Insurance Premium and Child Care Adjustment Worksheet
• Child Support Obligation Table
• Child Support Obligation Worksheet Required Location Information
• Motion fort Entry of Default Certificate
• Default Certificate
• Petitioner’s Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds for Divorce
• Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
• Decree of Divorce and Judgment
• Notice to Submit for Entry of Default Decree of Divorce
• Certificate of Divorce. Dissolution of Marriage, or Annulment
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.
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. Utah has a mandatory 30-day waiting period to complete a divorce. Under extraordinary circumstances, the 30-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.
There Are Predictors for Divorce in Utah
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 averages (2013). Modifications of court orders can sometimes be legally complex and hard to understand. Sometimes the order itself will dictate if and how an order may be modified. Often, discussion and mediation between the parties is a pre-requisite before a petition to modify may be filed. Having a post divorce modification lawyer in Utah on your side can help you can be fully informed of your rights If you have additional questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce in Utah, contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance.
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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law 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