Basic Things You Should Know About A Utah Divorce

Grounds for A Utah Divorce

The grounds for a Utah divorce are impotency, adultery, desertion for a year, failure to provide support, drunkenness, felony conviction, cruel treatment, irreconcilable differences, incurable insanity, or separation of three years under a decree of separate maintenance. Either the husband or the wife must be a county resident for 3 months (see Utah Code 30-3-1) before filing the divorce action. At the beginning of a divorce case the petitioner needs to file a cover sheet, certificate of divorce, and complaint. An affidavit of impecuniosity may be filed if the petitioner has low income and that way the fees for filing the divorce can be waived.. Otherwise the cost of the divorce is $318.00.

The Complaint

The complaint must be served on the respondent within 120 days after the filing of the complaint or the case will be dismissed without prejudice. If the action is started by serving the summons and petition, these documents and the proof of service must be filed within ten days of service or the action is to be deemed dismissed and the court no longer has jurisdiction.  Service may be by personal service, by someone 18 or older but not a party or a party’s attorney. Rule 4 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure says that service may be waived in writing. Service may also be done through alternate service (e.g., by publication, email) if the identity or whereabouts of the person to be served are unknown. Proof of service must be filed with the court in accordance with Rule 4(e) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Response

The respondent, who is served in Utah, has 20 days to answer the complaint. Claims that the respondent has against the petitioner should be included as counterclaims.” The respondent can also seek dismissal of the complaint (e.g., for lack of jurisdiction) or try to quash service. If the parties have no minor children they need to wait ninety days before the judge will sign a decree of divorce or they can try to get this requirement waived. If there are children of the marriage the parties, instead, must attend a divorce education class or try to get this requirement waived. The court may also order the divorce education for unmarried parents who are involved in a custody or visitation case.

Final Divorce Papers

A divorce case can be resolved by default, stipulation, or trial. If the case is resolved by default (which means the respondent doesn’t respond to the petition), the petitioner may need to file a default certificate, to be signed by the court clerk. In default or stipulated cases the parties will need to file documents called: “Motion for Default” and “Affidavit of Grounds and Jurisdiction.” If the case is resolved by stipulation a copy of the stipulation needs to be filed with the court. In all divorce cases (whether resolved by default, stipulation, or trial), the following two documents must be filed: “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” and “Decree of Divorce.”

Our experienced family law attorneys can help you with your Utah divorce.  Our law firm provides excellent family law services to individuals across the state.  Call us at 801.413.1753 to find out how we can help you.