Jurisdiction Over Non Residents in a Utah Divorce

Personal Jurisdiction refers to the court’s power or ability to order a person to something or refrain from doing something. A Utah court must have personal jurisdiction over all the parties involved in a divorce in order to enter an order on any issue other than the state of the marriage. While the court can declare a marriage terminated and enter a divorce under some circumstances without much trouble, custody orders, property matters, and other issues can sometimes present interesting jurisdictional questions. Sometimes the court does not have the power to order a person do anything at all in a divorce and thus parties sometimes find themselves going through a divorce in a state other than Utah. Everyone filing for divorce should be aware of the basic rules governing Jurisdiction Over Non Residents in a Utah Divorce that apply. This article explains the these basic rules.

Utah Jurisdictional Rules

If both parties live in Utah, jurisdiction is rarely an issue and is obtained through personal service on the Respondent. The Utah Jurisdictional Rules get a little trickier when the person you are trying to serve with a petition and initial documents is not a resident. If the other party is not a resident of Utah, a two part test must be applied to determine the courts authority over that individual. First, the claims in the action must arise under Utah’s Long Arm Statute which applicable section reads as follows:

“with respect to actions of divorce, separate maintenance, or child support, having resided, in the marital relationship, within this state notwithstanding subsequent departure from the state; or the commission in this state of the act giving rise to the claim, so long as that act is not a mere omission, failure to act, or occurrence over which the defendant had not control.”

Reading the statute above it is clear if the parties ever lived in Utah during the marriage, personal jurisdiction would exist over the Respondent. The Second part of the test is that the Respondent’s contact with the state must not violate the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the US Constitution. This second part of the test is where it can get really complicated so it is best to consult with a lawyer always if you are filing for divorce and your soon to be ex does not live in Utah. Without going into great deal on the due process element, it suffices to say the Respondent must have minimum contacts with the state such as substantial telephone contact or personal holdings, etc.

Salt Lake City Divorce Lawyer

There are other jurisdictional issues that may arise in a divorce other than simply a party not living in the state of Utah. Child custody and related issues can present their own unique and complex questions. It is important to consult with a Salt Lake City Divorce Lawyer if you think any jurisdictional issues may arise in your case. Taking the time to at least speak with an attorney can make all the difference in the success you find in your case and can help ensure you don’t run into a situation where your case is dismissed for some procedural defect you didn’t see coming. Something this
important deserves sounds advice and forethought. Call 801.413.1753 and speak with a member of Salcido Law Firm’s team today.

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