What To Know About The Divorce Process In Utah?

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What To Know About The Divorce Process In Utah

The stigma surrounding divorce is one rife with negative connotations and other formidable challenges. It’s a process notorious for being emotionally, financially, and spiritually traumatic.  As with most all other legal processes, the statutes and guidelines for divorce are subject to State jurisdiction. The Beehive State, better known as Utah, is no exception to this rule. 

Understanding the divorce process in Utah is a smart move for anyone contemplating entering or already involved in matters related to civil union. Understanding the official protocols in your state is a way to ensure a smoother transition in the event of a divorce. Whether you’re contemplating divorce or just curious, talking with a divorce attorney in Utah is a smart move.

Grounds For Divorce

Utah has fault-based and no-fault divorces. These are the two legal grounds upon which a divorce is granted. The majority of divorces in Utah are no-fault, meaning both parties are absolved of being solely responsible for the failed marriage. Fault-based grounds can still be established when adultery, impotency, willful desertion, and habitual drunkenness are involved.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be awarded in divorces where one spouse is financially dependent upon another. Factors like the length of the union, each party’s financial needs, and respective earning capacities are considered to determine alimony. Unlike child support, the amount of spousal support awarded is subject to the court’s discretion.

Child Custody Matters

Unfortunately, child custody is a cornerstone issue in divorce proceedings. As is the case in most jurisdictions, Utah courts consider the child’s best interests when determining custody. Unless proven to be detrimental to the child, joint legal custody is preferred. Hinging upon issues like each parent’s role in the child’s life, physical custody can be joint or sole.

Child Support

The two factors determining child support are the amount of time each parent spends with the child and the income of both parents. Based on its influence, the Utah Child Support Guidelines have a role in determining child support. Parents will also want to make sure that their income reports are fully accurate before submitting them for review. After that, a decision can be made.

The Filing Process

Getting divorced in Utah starts with a petition. The petitioning spouses are known as petitioners. They submit the petition to their district county court. The non-petitioning spouse is called the respondent, and they are the ones to whom the divorce papers are served. The respondents are given 21 days to respond. Failure to respond can result in an uncontested divorce. 

Regarding Residency 

To file for divorce in Utah you must meet state residency requirements. You or your spouse will need to have been a state resident for a minimum of three months before filing. This legal guideline facilitates that the state has necessary jurisdiction before divorce proceedings begin. Follow residency requirements to ensure divorce proceedings are completed on time. 

Temporary Orders

During divorce proceedings, matters such as the division of assets, child custody, and spousal support need to be settled. Utah courts are known to address these issues by granting temporary orders until the divorce becomes final. Temporary orders aim to provide a measure of stability and to bolster the wellness of all involved parties while proceedings are ongoing.

Mediation And Dispute Resolution

Before arriving in court, Utah prefers divorcing couples to reach agreements through mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation facilitates a forum for spouses to share their feelings about the divorce, and negotiate the stipulations of their split. A neutral third party is usually present during ADR. This can shorten the process and promote an amicable air.

Dividing Property

In Utah, the equitable distribution principle is applied when discussing how to divide marital property. 50/50 splits aren’t guaranteed. The goal is to reach a fair division. The factors considered vary, and include the length of the marriage, each person’s contributions, and financial health. Accurate disclosure of assets and liabilities is also part of this process. 

Final Words On Divorce

Navigating divorce comes with many responsibilities and challenges. In Utah, a comprehensive knowledge of the state’s laws and procedures can be gained with research and the guidance of a lawyer specializing in divorce. Important issues include: 

  • Residency requirements 
  • Child custody 
  • Property division
  • Spousal support 
  • Temporary orders and more

The outcome of the divorce is affected by each one of these factors. Your divorce attorney can also assist you with alternative dispute resolution methods, helping you stay informed and protecting your rights as proceedings unfold.

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