UTAH DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
|This is a reference guide to understanding Utah divorce information. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.|
- Time Frame: A divorce can become final 90 days from the date of filing the initial paperwork with the court.
- Where to File: District court, which may be the Family Court Division of District Court, in the district court of the "________ Judicial District, in and for_________ County, State of Utah."
- Statute Statutes: Utah Code Annotated; Section 30.
- Name of Action: Petition for Divorce.
- Name of Parties: Petitioner, who files, and respondent, who answers the Petition for Divorce.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Both no-fault and fault offered.
- Primary Documents Filed: Petition for Divorce and Decree of Divorce.
- Physical Separation Required: Yes, for no-fault under judicial decree of separation.
- Separation Time to File: Yes, for no-fault under judicial decree.
- Legal Separation Permitted: Yes.
- Grounds: No-Fault, which means irreconcilable differences of the marriage, or the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation; and fault, which includes impotence, adultery, willful desertion for more than one year, willful neglect, habitual drunkenness, conviction for a felony, cruel treatment, and incurable insanity.
- Residency Requirement: The petitioner must have lived in Utah in the county where the action is filed for at least three months before the commencement of the divorce action.
- Mediation Required: In Utah, when a divorce is contested the couple must submit to at least one session of divorce mediation, and the spouses share the cost of the mediator. Couples are encouraged to resolve their differences rather than rely on the court. For couples that cannot come to an agreement, a waiver requesting that divorce mediation be waived may be filed.
- Counseling Required: If either or both spouses files a Petition for Conciliation with the court during the 90-day waiting period after initiating the divorce, the court may refer both spouses to a domestic relations counselor.
- Parenting Classes Required: Parents must attend a course on the affects of divorce on children (although this may be waived by order of the court). The court does not issue a Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Decree of Divorce and Judgment until both parties complete the course requirements and return a certificate of course completion. The petitioner should complete the courses as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after filing; the respondent, no later than 30 days after being served. The fee for the parenting class is approximately $30 per person (may vary by county). However, the fee is discounted $15 for a petitioner or respondent that takes the class in a timely manner after filing and/or being served. The family code statute is Title 30-3-11.3.
- Filing Fee: $310-$330. (See UT Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: Utah provides for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent paying child support, much like income tax withholding. The Utah Department of Human Services works to make sure parents are financially responsible for their children.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: Utah uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must pay on monthly basis. The Income Shares Model estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. The support amount is often modified if a significant change in circumstances has occurred since the last support order was issued.
The income Shares Model is described in Utah Code section 78B-12-204 through 205: Child Support Guidelines. This method uses both parents' gross income and applies a percentage to it based on the number of shared minor children. The court uses the combined income of both parents and works out the proportion each contributes. That number is then divided proportionately based on each parent's ability to pay and the parent who has primary custody. In Utah, gross income includes income from any source, for example, salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts, prizes, dividends, severance pay, interest, alimony from a previous marriage, Social Security benefits, but not include means-tested welfare benefits. The court adjusts gross income, subtracting previously order alimony and child support. The court cannot use these child support guidelines when the parents share joint physical custody or split custody or the non-custodial parent's adjusted gross income is $1,050 or less per month. Also, parents can agree on an amount of support, but the court must see it as reasonable before approving it and will often compare it to an amount generated using the state guideline calculation. The court calculates imputed income when faced with a party who is underemployed or unemployed. Support ends at 18 or upon high school graduation, but the court may extend it to 21 or the parents can agree to do so as well.
- Property Division: Equitable distribution, along an all-property regime.
- Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property is marital.
- Attendance at Hearing: No, if there are no minor children in the marriage. A hearing is required if there are children, however.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: Judges may divide property unequally.. Rather than rely on a hard and fast set of rules for property division, they enjoy discretion to consider factors unique to each marriage. They consider the length of the marriage and how the spouses acquired the marital property and look at conditions each spouse faces alone after the divorce.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: The respondent normally waives service with an uncontested divorce by signing an acknowledgment and acceptance of service.
- Divorce Records: The Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics
In Utah, divorcing couples complete a Department of Health, Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage (UDOH OVRS Form 404). The Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics maintains records for all divorces that are filed within the state. Records for divorces are available from 1978, either with the county clerk office or with the district court where the divorce was filed and finalized. The divorced spouses, an immediate family member, legal guardians, or a designated legal representative can request copies of divorce certificates. You must have a legitimate reason for needing a copy. Utah divorce certificates are certified copies that can typically be used for proof of divorce and other legal purposes and will not include information regarding the actual divorce settlement. Information regarding the divorce settlement is available in a copy of the actual Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and the Decree of Divorce and Judgment which is kept at the county court where the divorce was granted.