Contested Divorce Utah

Contested Divorce Utah

A Contested Divorce Utah can be a difficult situation for the parties involved including the children. Often the parties are unable to agree on major issues involved with the termination of the marriage. A contested divorce is a divorce in which the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on at least one issue related to the termination of their marriage. Often parties will fight over such issues as what the custody arrangements should be, how much if any alimony should be paid, who should be allowed to stay in the home, etc. When parties to a divorce cannot agree on major issues, they must go to court and ask the court to resolve their differences.

Contested divorce Utah is somewhat common because there are numerous issues to be resolved between a husband and wife when they divorce or separate. Often the parties are unable to amicably resolve the issues between them. Utah law encourages parties to resolve their issues before asking the court to resolve them. However, there are many circumstances where fundamental disagreements prevent the parties from resolving issues.

Aggressive Representation on Your Side

Contested Divorce Utah
Contested Divorce Utah

A contested divorce Utah is a much more involved and difficult process than an uncontested divorce. Contested divorces often involve a full length court process that may go all the way through trial or at least will require mediation. Because of this, it helps to have an attorney on board from the beginning. A Utah divorce attorney at Salcido Law Firm can help begin the process of filing for a divorce and can represent your interests in getting you a fair resolution to your case. We will be aggressive advocates to help ensure your rights and the rights of your children are protected through the divorce. We are ready and able to aggressively represent you through trial if necessary.

If you are considering filing for divorce, contact our Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo Divorce Lawyers today and schedule a free consultation. We will advise you on your options, rights, and responsibilities in filing a divorce. We can also help you negotiate the issues in your divorce that you and your spouse are unable to agree upon.

If you have been served with divorce papers, and you are contesting issues in the divorce, don’t delay. There are time limits imposed on your ability to respond to a petition for divorce.  For example, if you live in Utah, you have only 20 days to respond to the petition after being served.  If you live out of state you have 30 days to respond to the Petition.

In the event you do not respond within the time limits prescribed by the applicable rules, you may have a divorce entered against you by default.  A default judgment is when the court gives the petitioner everything he or she asked for in the petition because the respondent simply did not respond as he or she was required to.  Imagine the gravity of this.  If your soon to be ex-spouse asks for fully custody of the children, all of the retirement and financial accounts, 80% of your income in alimony, all of the equity in the home, etc. and you don’t respond in a timely fashion, you have basically given your ex the ability to take everything without a fight.  Now, in domestic relations cases courts do not like to grant default judgments and if a spouse who has failed to respond, does so, albeit untimely, a court is generally willing to set aside the default judgment so that the case can be tried on the merits.  This is not the case with other civil matters.  Contested Divorce Utah is different because it involves human relationships and the best interests of children so courts are much more lenient when it comes to default in divorce actions.

The Process of Commencing a Contested Divorce Action

You may be thinking about hiring an attorney for your divorce action.  You may be thinking about doing the divorce yourself.  Although having a divorce attorney represent you is definitely the easiest way to go about things, hiring an attorney is sometimes out of the question.  Regardless if whether you will have hired legal counsel or you’ll go about your case solo, it’s important to understand the process of how a contested divorce Utah is commenced and what the duties of the parties are.

First, a contested divorce Utah is commenced in court by the filing of a Petition for Divorce.  We get calls all the time from people who have received “divorce papers” from their spouse and the receiving party sometimes thinks that they have to sign the papers.  You don’t have to sign off on anything.  The spouse who files the petition has an obligation to “serve” the other party with the papers.  A third party who is not the filing spouse has to serve the other spouse and has to sign an affidavit saying that he or she effected service.  The receiving spouse can sign an “acceptance of service” and waive the service requirements.  The 20 day time period to respond starts ticking the moment “service’ takes place (whether by formal service or by waiver).  The spouse who files the divorce petition is called the “Petitioner”; the spouse who is “served” with the petition is called the “Respondent.”

Second, the Respondent has to respond to the Petition Contested Divorce Utah within the 20 day (Utah residents) or 30 day (out of state residents) time period.  The Respondent has to go through paragraph by paragraph and either “admit” or “deny” each paragraph.  An admission to any paragraph in the Petition means that issue is not disputed and there is nothing for the judge to decide.  A denial means the parties are contesting the issue and the judge will need to decide it.  Along with the response, the Respondent can file a “counter-petition” which is basically another Petition for Divorce, but which sets forth what the Respondent wants.  The Petitioner will then have 20/30 days to respond to the counter-petition for divorce.

What If I Can’t Afford A Lawyer?

If you can’t afford an attorney and you are looking to prosecute your divorce by yourself you should first look to the state’s OCAP system.  It provides a multitude of  free forms and a way to fill out those forms online.  You can then print them out and file them. There are also some free legal services offered on a county-by-county basis.  You would have to check with the court in your specific county to find out if there is an organization that provides free attorney services to qualifying applicants. Call us now for specific on your Contested Divorce Utah.