Utah Changes When A Parent Must Take the Divorce Orientation Class

Utah Code § 30-3-11.4 has governed when a parent must take the divorce orientation course for some time. Specifically, it requires the petitioner in a divorce action to take the divorce orientation course without 60 days of filing the divorce petition, and it requires the respondent to take the class within 30 days of filing his answer.  The problem with this law is that it provided no teeth or way to enforce the timing provisions.  Courts didn’t really care.  They didn’t hold parties in contempt for not taking the class on time.  Attorneys didn’t even bother to tell their clients about the timing provisions because they were never enforced.

For some reason the Legislature was not happy with people not taking the class when they were supposed to so they proposed legislation which would require a divorcing couple to take the class even before filing the divorce petition.  See my post here.  That suggestion was ultimately rejected, but the great statesmen up on the hill reached a compromised that now prohibits either divorcing party from obtaining temporary orders until they have taken the test.

Temporary orders allow the parties to get orders regarding alimony, child support, property possession, etc. established to last for the pendency of the action until a final order is issued.  Apparently the Legislature thinks this class is so important that it is willing to deprive children and spouses from getting needed support until they take the class.  One has to ask why.

There is no logical connection between temporary orders and the divorce orientation class and I’m unclear as to what the Legislature hopes to gain from imposing this punitive measure on divorcing couples.  It’s not like they are going through a divorce for fun.  Why rub salt in the wound by preventing them from seeking support orders until they do the class.  Has the class ever prevented or stopped divorce?  It there any empirical evidence that the class helps anyone in anyway?  Probably not, but hey our masters on the hill want it, so they’re going to get it.

So effective July, you better get that class done if you want a divorce, child support, alimony, or one of your two cars to take your kids to school.

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