Filing for Divorce in Utah: Process, Costs, and More

This is an image of a rainbow coming through storms at Bryce Canyon National Park.Filing for divorce in Utah doesn’t have to be a battle.

When spouses are willing to collaborate on the terms of their divorce, this can be the first step toward a more peaceful process.

In this article, we’ll look at the different types of divorce in Utah, the steps required to file a divorce petition in Utah, and how mediation can benefit the process.

What are the different types of divorce in Utah?

There are three types of divorce in Utah: contested, uncontested, and default.

  • Contested divorce is when spouses initially do not agree on one or more issues. An example of a contested divorce would be when spouses don’t agree on custody, parenting time, or who will keep the house. In contested cases, the couple can use divorce mediation to reach agreements or the court will step in to make decisions.
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  • An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all divorce issues. Since both spouses are on the same page in an uncontested divorce, it’s a smoother, faster process.
  • Default divorce is when one spouse can’t be reached or refuses to participate in the proceedings. A default judgment goes straight to the judge to sign.

Utah allows fault-based and no-fault divorces (more on that in the FAQ section).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

If you’re having trouble talking with your spouse about divorce, read our 10 Tips for Talking With Your Spouse About Divorce.

How to get a divorce in Utah

In Utah, divorce rates are consistent with the rest of the nation, and spouses are more likely to go through a more cooperative process.

Utah’s courts impose a residency requirement. This means you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least three months before you can file for divorce.

Here’s the typical process for filing for divorce in Utah:

1. Meet with a divorce mediator or attorney

Your first step to filing for a divorce in Utah is meeting with a divorce mediator or attorney. A mediator can be a strategic guide to help you and your spouse reach the best possible agreements.

This is an image of a rainbow coming through storms at Bryce Canyon National Park.

2. Prepare and file your divorce documents

Whether you and your spouse agree on most things or don’t believe you agree on anything, you can reach all of your agreements in mediation. Your mediator can file the documents with the court.

Some other benefits of mediation include:

  • Less stress: Divorce is stressful enough. Mediation provides a peaceful and safe setting. Your mediator is there to support you every step of the way.
  • Productive and respectful communication: Mediators are skilled communicators. They’ll make sure you have the opportunity to express your feelings.
  • Custom solutions: Courts use a one-size-fits-all approach. While mediators help you find your own personalized solutions.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out Utah State Courts’ Roadmap for Divorce Cases.

3. Service of the petition

When spouses aren’t able to resolve disputes in mediation, the litigation process begins when one spouse presents the other with their demands in a petition. After being served, your spouse has 21 days to respond if they were served in Utah or 30 days if they were served in another state.

If a response is filed, both spouses complete a Financial Declaration outlining all relevant financial items.

4. Complete the waiting period

Utah divorce laws require a 30-day waiting period between the date the petition is filed and the date the divorce decree is signed. The waiting period still applies if both spouses agree on all matters.

5. Settle unresolved matters

At this point, spouses must settle any unresolved issues.

But, spouses still don’t have to go to court. All agreements can be reached with the help of a trained mediator. Spouses who opt for the mediation process can complete their entire divorce process while staying in complete control of their agreements and never having to go to court.

Ninety-five percent of Aurit Center clients fall into that category. After reaching an agreement, their mediator drafted their court documents and filed them on their behalf. Simple as that.

Additional steps for cases with minor children

Here are some other steps to take if you and your spouse have children:

Attend mandatory divorce education classes

If you and your spouse have minor children, you must attend two mandatory classes before the petition is granted. One is a divorce orientation class, and the other is a divorce education class.

Enroll your children in a free divorce education class

If your kids are between the ages of 6 and 17, you can enroll them in a free divorce education class. It’s taught by a mental health professional, and it aims to help kids understand and cope with the coming changes.

Attend court-ordered mediation (in the case of contested issues)

Utah courts require that all divorce cases attempt at least one mediation session before proceeding to litigation. Under Utah law, spouses choose thier mediator and equally pay mediation fees unless the court makes an exception.

A father walking while holding his child.

Aurit Center Certified Mediators are highly qualified and ready to help you and your spouse find the best possible solution.

Obtain a child custody evaluation (optional)

In court, if you and your spouse disagree on child support or custody issues, you can ask and pay for a child custody evaluation.

A professional evaluator will observe you, your spouse, and your kids and submit a formal recommendation to the court regarding the children’s best interests.

How mediation can help the divorce process

There are many benefits of working with a mediator to complete your divorce process.

  • More affordable. Mediators are much more affordable than attorneys
  • Stay in control. The spouses — not a judge — choose the divorce terms
  • Confidential. Everything stays confidential, unlike in court where documents are public record
  • Less time. Mediation is much faster than slow-moving court systems
  • Better for kids. Mediation prioritizes your children’s well-being
  • Better for parents. Mediation can sets future co-parenting relationships up for success
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FAQs about filing for divorce in Utah

Here are just a few frequently asked questions about filing for divorce in Utah:

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Utah?

To file for divorce in Utah, there’s a filing fee.

Depending on the case, the total cost of a divorce in Utah can also include:

  • divorce attorney fees;
  • mediation fees;
  • notary fees;
  • third-party expert fees;
  • And other fees related to serving divorce papers.

How does alimony work in Utah?

To determine the amount of alimony to award, Utah courts look at:

  • how long the spouses were married;
  • if children are involved;
  • the standard of living at the time of the separation; and
  • the standard of living at the beginning of the marriage (for short-lived marriages if no kids are involved)

Unless there are concrete reasons to do so, courts can’t order alimony for a period longer than the marriage lasted.

How long does it take to process a divorce in Utah?

An uncontested divorce in Utah can take about three months to complete. A contested divorce, on the other hand, can take from nine months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the spouses’ issues and marital assets.

Even the fastest divorce in Utah will take at least 30 days since there’s a 30-day waiting period.

What’s the difference between a fault and a no-fault-based divorce?

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove the other is to blame for the end of the marriage by demonstrating specific grounds for divorce, such as adultery, substance use disorders, or abandonment.

In contrast, a no-fault divorce allows spouses to obtain a divorce decree without assigning blame. And remember, Utah is a “no-fault” divorce state.

The Aurit Center can help you through your divorce

We hope you’ve now gained some clarity about the divorce process in Utah.

Now that you know what to expect, you can approach the process with confidence. You got this!

If you want to learn more about working with an Aurit Center Certified Mediator and how our process works, we’d love to hear from you. Fill out our contact form or schedule your free 1-hour consultation.

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