Uncontested Divorce in Utah
Generally, there are two kinds of divorces: contested and uncontested divorce.
- A contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot agree on their divorce issues, including property division, alimony, child support, child custody, etc. Thus, the divorce case can progress to trial, and the judge will hand down a final judgment of divorce.
- In an uncontested divorce, neither party is fighting. Instead, the spouses negotiate and settle all their disputes out of court. Then, they write up a marital settlement agreement that relays their terms regarding child-related issues, marital property or debt division, etc., and present the signed document for court approval.
Uncontested divorces tend to move more quickly and be more affordable than contested divorce proceedings. Even if the spouses have some disagreements but are ready to negotiate and avoid litigation, they can use alternative dispute resolution methods and online divorce services, saving legal fees.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
Even an uncontested Utah divorce requires proper paperwork. Sometimes, a single mistake in completed forms can cause delays in a divorce process and increase its cost. DivorceOnline.com was explicitly designed to prevent such a problem and help couples who do not have appropriate experience to prepare divorce papers in Utah online.
If you and your spouse agree to have an amicable uncontested divorce, you are eligible to use our self-guided online questionnaire to select and complete all the papers required in your particular case. Although Divorce Online cannot give legal advice, we strive to provide excellent service. We do not just sell blank forms. We provide only the relevant uncontested divorce forms and help fill them out following the state's Family Law, local court rules, and unique circumstances of your case in two business days. For as little as $139, you will receive your unique ready-to-sign completed divorce papers and comprehensive court filing instructions.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Utah
The Utah divorce process commonly includes several consecutive steps.
To file for divorce in Utah, the couple must meet the state's residency requirements. According to the Utah Code, the divorce petition can be filed in the county in Utah where either spouse resides. Thus, either party must have been a state resident and lived in a single county for at least three months immediately before starting the case.
According to Utah divorce laws, the filing spouse (the plaintiff) must inform the court about the grounds for divorce. The State of Utah recognizes both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce.
No-fault grounds mean that it is enough to state that the marriage is broken, and there is no chance for reconciliation. No-fault grounds for divorce in Utah include:
- Irreconcilable differences;
- Living separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three years without cohabitation.
To obtain a fault divorce, the plaintiff has to prove to the court that the other spouse committed misconduct. In Utah, these fault-based grounds include:
- Willful desertion for more than one year;
- Willful neglect;
- Habitual drunkenness;
- A conviction for a felony;
- Cruel treatment to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress;
- Incurable insanity.
To start a divorce in Utah, the petitioner should file the completed divorce forms with the District Court in the county where either spouse has lived for the past three months.
Divorce papers in Utah
Divorce papers and forms required in Utah may vary depending on the county where the case is filed and the couple's unique circumstances, such as kind of divorce (contested or uncontested), having minor children, type of service of process, and more. However, basic Utah divorce documents include:
- Utah Courts Cover Sheet for Civil Actions
- Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution, or Annulment
- Verified Petition for Divorce
- Acceptance of Service, Appearance, Consent, and Waiver
- Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds for Divorce
- Decree of Divorce
When the plaintiff files divorce papers with the Court Clerk's Office, they need to pay a court fee. In Utah, the courts charge from $310 to $360 depending on whether the spouses have minor children.
Generally, a filing fee is mandatory unless the plaintiff qualifies for an exemption of court fees due to financial hardship.
Utah requires a mandatory waiting period of at least 30 days between the date the petition is filed and the date a Divorce Decree can be granted. However, if either spouse can show the court that some extraordinary circumstances exist, they may ask to waive this waiting period.
When the case is filed, the plaintiff must serve the other spouse (the defendant) with copies of the divorce petition, summons, and other necessary forms. The service of process can be accomplished in several ways:
- through the sheriff's department or a private process server;
- personal service by a constable, United States Marshal, or any adult not involved in the divorce case.
The divorce papers must be delivered to the recipient spouse no later than 120 days after filing the petition.
Whoever serves the summons must complete the Proof of Service and Certificate of Service, mail copies of these forms to the other party, and file the originals with the court as an acknowledgment of service.
In most cases, no court hearing is required for an uncontested divorce in Utah. So, after the 30-days waiting period has passed, the spouses can file their marital settlement agreement and the final divorce forms with the court.
The judge will review all the paperwork to ensure everything is completed correctly and the agreement is fair. If so, the judge approves the settlement agreement and gives the couple a divorce decree that shows that the divorce is final.
Otherwise, if the spouses cannot settle all their disputes independently, divorce can become contested, requiring several court hearings and taking much more time.
Getting a Divorce With Children
There are two primary forms of child custody: legal and physical custody. Legal custody determines who has the decision-making authority, and physical custody determines with whom the child lives and who takes care of the child on a daily basis. Both these forms of care can either be sole or joint.
Utah courts presume that joint custody is in the child's best interests unless proven otherwise (for example, if there is a history of domestic violence, either child or parent has special needs, or there is a large distance between the parents' homes).
Thus, in a Utah divorce with children involved, family courts encourage the spouses to cooperate and create their own parenting plan. If divorcing parents cannot come to terms and a dispute arises, the court decides custody on a case-by-case basis. The judge shall consider multiple relevant factors to settle child support, custody, and visitation following the child's best interests.
According to the Utah Code, these factors include but are not limited to:
- each parent's willingness and ability to meet the child's needs;
- each spouse's parenting skills;
- each parent's willingness and ability to communicate with the other parent and encourage frequent and close contact between the child and the other parent;
- the parents' preferences concerning custody and visitation;
- the parent's financial responsibility;
- the child's relationship with each parent;
- who has been the primary caretaker of the child during the marriage;
- any evidence of domestic violence, neglect, and abuse;
- and any other factors the court may deem relevant.
Anyway, all spouses with minor children must complete a mandatory divorce orientation course.
In the context of child support, Utah Child Support Guidelines consider the gross monthly income of both parents, the number of children, child-related expenses, and the number of overnights the child spends in each household. Generally, child support ends when the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
Filing for Divorce in Utah Without a Lawyer
Although legal aid is necessary in complicated divorce cases, some simple uncontested divorces can be handled without a lawyer at all.
To arrange a DIY divorce, the spouses have to prepare the required divorce papers and file them with the local court as the Utah divorce procedure requires.
Spouses can resort to mediation and reach agreements with much lower costs than hiring an attorney. And once the agreement is ready, the couple can use online divorce services to prepare for the filing process.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Utah
- If both you and your spouse are ready to negotiate and draft a marital settlement agreement, you can take advantage of our website's services and avoid the main risks associated with DIY divorce.
- All the online divorce forms we provide are relevant, and following the questions in our online interview, you won't miss a detail completing your documents.
- Divorce Online helps facilitate the DIY divorce process and reduces red tape. This online divorce assistance service offers a straightforward, quick, and cheap way to complete the court forms necessary for a particular case from the comfort of your home.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Utah divorce timeline is defined by a mandatory 30-days waiting period and also depends on whether the spouses contest the claim, whether they have children, etc. Commonly, uncontested divorces take 60-90 days on average, much less than contested ones (which usually take about six months or even more).
It is impossible to predict the exact cost of divorce in Utah. It depends on many factors and circumstances, including lawyers' fees, the cost of parenting class, online divorce paperwork preparation, mediation, and any other services the spouses may choose.
On average, the cost of uncontested divorce in Utah is about $2000, but it can be lower if the spouses arrange their own divorce without a lawyer.
The court filing fee is mandatory for all couples except those eligible for a fee waiver due to low income, so it can be said that there is no such thing as a free divorce in Utah. Still, there are many ways to reduce the cost of divorce if the spouses do not contest the case and do not need the services of a law firm. Do-it-yourself divorce is the most inexpensive way of arranging the process, though this option does not suit every couple.
Utah divorce forms that can be needed to be filed vary depending on the conditions of a particular case. They can include but are not limited to Utah Courts Cover Sheet for Civil Actions, Certificate of Divorce, Dissolution, or Annulment, Verified Petition for Divorce, Acceptance of Service, Appearance, Consent, and Waiver, Child Support Obligation Worksheets, Affidavit of Income Verification and Compliance with Child Support Guidelines, Decree of Divorce.