In today’s globally connected environment, people often get information about important things in their life that may be true in one place, but is not in another. This is especially common for people going through a divorce. Laws surrounding divorce can vary greatly from state to state, which is why it is important to learn a few of the most important things concerning divorcing in Utah.
Utah Allows Both No-Fault and Fault-Based Divorce
Many states only permit ‘no-fault’ divorce, but that is not the case in Utah. While no-fault divorces are possible when both parties agree that there are irreconcilable differences, it is also possible to seek a fault-based divorce when necessary. There are eight recognized grounds for fault-based divorce:
- Inability to Perform Sexually (from the start of marriage)
- Willful Neglect
- Willful Desertion of One or More Years
- Habitual Drunkenness
- Incurable Insanity
- Extreme Cruelty
- Felony Convictions
Must be a Resident of Utah for at Least Three Months
In order to file for a divorce in Utah, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of three months. This is among the shortest time requirements of all the states in the union.
Utah is an Equitable Distribution State
When a court needs to divide up marital assets, they attempt to split things up in such a way that it will put both parties in the best possible position. This does not mean that all assets will divided equally. Instead, things like income, responsibilities, pre-marital assets, and much more can be taken into account when splitting the marital assets.
Utah May Mandate Counseling or Mediation
If one or both parties requests it, the courts may require that both parties seek marital counseling or mediation to attempt to preserve the marriage. Requiring this type of effort can delay the actual divorce, but it is often seen as one last effort to save the marriage, and is sometimes effective.
Each Party Must Retain their Own Attorney
Divorcing couples cannot have the same attorney, even if they agree on how they want to split up assets. Having the same attorney is seen as a conflict of interests, and is not permitted in Utah.
Utah Imposes a 90-Day Waiting Period
Once one of the parties’ files for a divorce, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. In most cases, this time will be spent working out all the details or even going to court. Even if everything is agreed upon ahead of time, however, the divorce will take at least 90 days to be completed.
Most Divorces in Utah are Completed Without Going to Court
In Utah, the majority of divorces never actually have to go to court. The courtroom litigation people see on TV just isn’t very common. Instead, most divorces are completed through mediation or even when both parties can come together and agree on all the important issues right up front.
You Must File Forms in the Proper County Court
The county lines are not always drawn as clearly or logically as people might think. When filing for divorce, the papers must be filed in the county court’s office where you live, even if it is not the closest one to your house. Your attorney will typically handle this for you, but it is important to know.
If you have any questions about any of these things, please contact us [Link to CONTACT US page]. We’ll be happy to talk with you about any issues, and how they may impact the divorce process in your specific case.