No one thinks of divorce when tying the knot. But people change and circumstances do their part. All of a sudden, being together isn’t what it used to be, and calling it quits may be the only option to save what’s left of the relationship.
However, getting a divorce can be a complicated and grinding process. It’s financially burdensome, stressful, and full of bureaucracy. Things can become even more complicated when you don’t even know where to begin to legally end your marriage.
But don’t rush to give up the idea of getting your freedom back. Getting a divorce in Utah isn’t that hard when you know where to start. Here, in this guide, you will learn all you need about the Utah divorce process and figure out what your first steps on the way to marriage dissolution should be.
Step 1. Make Sure You Qualify to Get a Divorce in Utah
As much as with any other state, the Utah divorce process has a number of requirements. A residence is one of them. If you don’t qualify, you won’t receive a divorce in the state.
Under Utah law, both spouses should have resided in the territory of Utah for the last 3 months prior to filing for divorce. Similarly, this period extends to 6 months if you have minor kids in wedlock.
In other words, you can’t divorce in Utah if you have just moved to the state. The same goes for couples who have just welcomed a newborn. Even if 3 months have already passed, there are another 3 to wait since you have a child now.
Step 2. Choose the type of Utah Divorce Process
In Utah, there are two types of divorces: contested and uncontested. They largely differ in expenses, procedures, and the required periods to finalize the divorce.
As expected, an uncontested divorce is the least troublesome Utah divorce. Its cost may be as little as $325, which is currently the filing fee. Furthermore, you can have a completely online divorce in Utah if it’s uncontested. The court may only ask you to appear for a brief trial if you have minors in the marriage and their issues require additional attention from the judge.
To go through an uncontested procedure, spouses must come to an agreement as to all issues arising in the divorce, including property, custody, support, visitation schedule, debts, etc. However, if you think your couple fits for it, then here’s what you need to do to start an uncontested process in Utah.
Understandably, the process starts with the complaint about divorce. Along with that, you need to attach a request to include your settlement agreement in the final decree. Then you need a settlement agreement itself. And also, a respondent’s Acceptance of Service, Appearance, Consent, and Waiver, which proves that the other party received the copy of the complaint, waive their right to respond to it, and doesn’t mind that the court may satisfy the terms put out in the complaint. If you are parents of minor children, you will also need to attach a number of documents, which include a parenting plan, a visitation schedule, and your affidavits of income among others. Under Utah law, you have to wait 30 days before your marriage will be officially ended.
However, if you couldn’t solve your conflicts and chose a contested trial, then move on to the next step.
Step 3. Filing for Divorce in Utah for the Contested Process
In a contested case, the papers must be served to the other party once the petition of divorce is filed with the court. As a petitioner, you will have 120 days to deliver the following paper copies to your spouse: Verified Complaint about Divorce, Court Summons, and Temporary Injunctions.
There are several ways how you can ensure the service of the documents. One of them is by mail. You can use either US Postal Service and order a registered or certified mail. Or you can try a commercial courier that confirms the delivery with the return receipts. Alternatively, the papers can be delivered in person. This can be done by a private process server, a local sheriff, or by anyone else who is older than 18 and is not a party to your case. To go on with the divorce, you will need to submit a signed by a process server proof of service to the court.
Step 4. What Happens After the Service?
As soon as the other party receives the papers, they will have 21 days if they live in Utah, or a 30 for residents of any other state, to file the answer. After that, there are 3 ways how things may turn out:
- No Answer. If the party refused or was late to file the answer, the court will consider them unwilling to take part in the trial. Most likely most or all of the terms of the Complaint will be satisfied.
- Agreed to All. If it happens that the other spouse files the Answer where they agree to every term in the Complaint, the divorce will become uncontested. There will be no need for a formal court trial, and the divorce will be finalized according to the law.
- Didn’t Agree to the Terms/Filed a Counterclaim. This means that a contested divorce will happen and the court will order a discovery process to collect necessary papers and other evidence. It may also oblige spouses to go through a mediation procedure, especially if there are minor kids involved.
A highly contested Utah divorce process may continue from a few months to years and be merciless to your finances. Therefore, if you decided to part with your spouse, try to reach an agreement to make it less stressful and costly.
Passionate Writer, Blogger and Amazon Affiliate Expert since 2014.