Let us say you have recently become a Utah resident and your spouse has just served you with a petition for divorce. Whether you anticipated this, or it came from out of the blue, you likely want to know what is going to happen as you go through a divorce in our state.
First, be aware that you or your spouse must reside for at least three months in a single Utah county before you can begin the divorce process. Your spouse is the petitioner who files for divorce, and you are the respondent. Once she serves you with the petition for divorce and related documents, you must respond within 21 days. If you file an “answer,” you must both proceed to make initial disclosures to one another, which will include a Financial Declaration. Keep in mind that if you do not file an answer in a timely fashion, the petitioner can request a default judgment.
If you disagree
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on certain matters, you must attend mediation or file an application to excuse mediation. Next, you will both file a proposed settlement, update financial declarations and attend a pre-trial conference.
Going to trial
Next, you head to court, where the judge decides the case and orders one of you to file final documents. If you have children, filing will include your proof of income and a certificate showing you have completed divorce education courses. The judge will review the final documents and sign the divorce decree, finishing the case.
If you agree
If you are both in agreement on the issues, the procedure is much simpler. You file a Stipulation, wait 30 days, then file the final documents. The judge reviews and signs the decree, completing the divorce.
It is always advisable to seek legal guidance when facing divorce. This is a difficult, stressful time, and relying on someone who knows Utah law, who can answer questions and offer professional assistance, makes the process much easier to manage.