Divorce is very stressful and can be hard on everyone, from spouses to children and even extended families. While most people don’t consider divorce ideal, there are times when it is in the best interest of a family to explore divorce as an option. Having the right information on the divorce options available to you can help you feel more confident in making your decision one way or another. Divorce proceedings can vary by state, and filing for divorce in Utah has its own set of requirements and expectations. If you’re considering divorce, here’s what to know to make it as easy as possible on you and your family.
Utah offers couples the ability to file for an uncontested divorce and avoid the hassle, stress and financial burden of a potentially lengthy divorce trial before a judge. This type of divorce is available to couples with or without children. How do you know you’re a candidate for an uncontested divorce? You and your spouse agree on all issues including:
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Child support
- Property division
- Asset division
- Alimony or spousal support payments
If you and your spouse agree on these things, uncontested divorce is a definite possibility to pursue. If you can’t agree, then it’s likely you’ll have to involve a law firm like ours to take your divorce case to court and involve a judge in the decision making. In addition to agreement on the above items, you and your spouse must have lived in Utah for at least 3 months. If you have minor children, you’ll have needed to live in Utah for a minimum of 6 months before filing for an uncontested divorce. Additionally, you’ll need a written agreement signed and notarized by both individuals, laying out the expectations and agreements on child or spousal support as well as child custody and visitation.
Where you live in Utah will determine where you file for divorce. Generally, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county in which you live. If you and your spouse have separated but still both reside in Utah, either the county in which you lived together or the county where your spouse has lived for the last three/six months is the proper county in which to file your paperwork.
Preparing the paperwork
Marriage is a deeply personal relationship, but it’s also a legal union. Therefore it requires certain documents and paperwork to legally dissolve it. Depending on the county in which you live, you should plan on preparing the following paperwork as part of your uncontested divorce petition in Utah.
- 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
For couples with children under the age of 18, you’ll need to add the completion of the following documents to the list as well:
- Child Support Worksheet
- Affidavit of Income and Compliance with Child Support Guidelines
- Financial Declarations
Hard copies are available at your local courthouse and court websites provide the forms online for download.
Additionally, Utah has a mandatory 90 day waiting period to complete a divorce, though certain extreme circumstances warrant the waiving of the 90 day waiting period. Regardless, before a divorce will be granted to parents of minor children, one more step must be taken: both spouses must complete a divorce education course. This course teaches parents how to communicate with children about the divorce and help them process the transition. It helps to set the expectation of how divorce will impact families over both the short and long-term.
Finally, an uncontested divorce in Utah means you don’t have to attend a court hearing, but a judge will still be involved in finalizing your divorce. If paperwork is filed correctly and the judge finds that your agreement is reasonable, fair and in the best interest of any involved minor children, then the judge will sign the Findings and Decree of Divorce. The date of judge’s signing of the decree is the date that your divorce is legally final and complete.
Uncontested divorces are meant to facilitate the divorce process between parties who don’t want to draw out a proceeding in court, but you don’t need to go it alone. Need help with filing documents? Not sure an uncontested divorce is for you? Already have a lot of disagreements between you and your spouse? You may already know you’ll need an expert to help you get through your divorce. We’re here to help. If you have questions about divorce proceedings in Utah or need help with other family law issues, give us a call today. We offer free consultations to talk about your unique family and financial situations to help you feel more confident in your decisions for a better future.