Utah Divorce Procedures

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Utah, a state in the Western United States has formed its own divorce laws and guidelines. Couples who want to file for divorce in Utah have to follow those guidelines and proceedings. One has to meet the residency requirements, show the proper grounds for divorce and submit all the legal documents and then only the divorce process will get started. Utah divorce procedures are devised in accordance with the state divorce laws to address different issues faced by separating couples.

Generally when any person decides to file a divorce, he/ she approaches and hires a lawyer. In the initial consultation, the divorce lawyer asks questions to the person, some of which are as follows:

  • Why are you opting for a divorce?
  • What is the reason for the divorce? Is any partner at fault?
  • What is the long term and short term aim for the divorce?

Further, the lawyer needs the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Marital information
  • Financial concerns
  • Legal documents

So you have to be ready with all these documents and provide the correct information. The role of the lawyer is extremely important as he/ she will guide you throughout the divorce proceedings.

Role of a lawyer in the initial Utah Divorce Procedures

Once the initial interview is complete, the lawyer takes up the task of preparing the essential paperwork and most importantly, a divorce petition. The role of the lawyer is to draft a divorce petition, file it in the divorce court and serve it to the Respondent.

The service of the petition may require some weeks. In cases wherein the Respondent has moved out of the state or avoids the service, the service of the petition may take longer. When the Respondent cannot be located, then the divorce lawyer publishes a notice in the local newspaper for some months. If the Respondent does not respond to the service even by publication, the divorce court reserves the right to issue a default divorce.

If the Respondent desires to file an Answer to the Petition, the divorce lawyer of the Respondent drafts a Response. In this document, the allegations made in the divorce petition are either denied or accepted. Any applicable affirmative defenses are raised. Sometimes a counterclaim is filed by the lawyer.

Temporary Orders in Utah Divorce Procedures

It is quite possible that the divorce court issues a sequence of temporary orders that are in force only till the divorce procedure is pending. After the divorce petition is finalized, the temporary orders are dissolved. The temporary orders relate to some topics which are mentioned below:

  • Preservation of marital property
  • Covering the needs of the children
  • Helping a partner who does not have an income source
  • Confirming that the household bills are paid
  • Forcing one of the partners to pay specific bills
  • Prohibiting one of the partners from contacting the other

The Process called Discovery

The Discovery process is said to be the heart of the divorce procedure. The divorcing partners are supposed to divulge information to each other regarding extramarital affairs, child custody, income, assets and other issues pertaining to the divorce. This is not a contested process and the divorcing partner has to adhere to the rules of procedure for exchanging the needed data. If it is found that one of the partners is reluctant to reveal the information, the lawyer can approach the court and procure an order that coerces the spouse to provide the information.

The Trial When the divorcing partners fail to develop a divorce settlement, the court sets up a date for a trial. During any trial, the divorcing parties have the freedom to explain their sides of the story, present witnesses to support the facts and cross examine the witnesses of the opposite side. Generally, the trial does not take place before a jury. The Judge takes the final decision.

Basic procedures in an Utah Divorce To give you a brief idea, we have created a list of processes that are usually needed in an Utah divorce:

  • The petitioner prepares petition and files for divorce with the district court
  • The petitioner serves the respondent with the petition, summons and other necessary papers.
  • The respondent files an answer within a certain period. The respondent may also stipulate or agree in writing to the petition.
  • If the spouses have no minor children, the waiting period is of 90 days starting from the date the petition is filed till the divorce decree is signed. If there are children, the spouses must attend divorce orientation and divorce education classes.
  • When the respondent files an answer, both the spouses must go for a divorce mediation class in order to resolve issues before the trial sessions begins.

These are the basic Utah divorce procedures. Make sure you finish all your paperwork before actually going through the divorce process.

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