How you file for divorce in Utah will depend on your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It also hinges on whether you will have underlying conflict that you need to work out as part of the divorce proceeding.
Some couples agree on most of the major aspects of the divorce and can use a simplified process that makes the separation much faster. You should talk to a Salt Lake City divorce attorney to determine which option will work best for you.
Although you have likely heard horror stories of how terrible divorces can be, not all divorce proceedings are like a soap opera. Sometimes both spouses agree that separation is appropriate and can easily work out how they want to deal with property, child custody, and other related issues.
If the couple can work out an agreement between them, they can file for an uncontested divorce. This process allows the couple to avoid going to trial, which can be extremely stressful and expensive. Instead, the couple can agree on their own that will govern their relationship moving forward. It must also be approved by the court, but no formal hearing is required.
Filing for an uncontested divorce is much faster, but it does not automatically waive the mandatory 90-day waiting period required in Utah.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on every aspect of your divorce, you must move forward with a contested divorce. Keep in mind that uncontested divorces are only appropriate when every single issue that must be addressed in the divorce is agreed upon. While there are indeed circumstances where agreement as possible, many high conflict couples just cannot file an uncontested divorce because of the contentious nature of their relationship.
Contested divorces closely resemble civil lawsuits. You must start the process by filing the divorce petition and serving the papers on the other spouse. Then, your spouse will answer the petition, and you may have to have an initial hearing to establish temporary orders while the divorce is pending. This temporary order may address things like:
- Living arrangements
- Child visitation
- Bank accounts
- Child support
While this initial order is temporary, it can have a significant bearing on the overall divorce decree. That means that you should take this proceeding seriously and involve a Salt Lake City divorce attorney in the process.
The next step in the contested divorce process is going through a divorce certification class. Parents who have minor children may also need to complete additional education requirements as well.
You will then proceed to mediation and a potential settlement conference. In these steps, you and your spouse will work through various issues that you have not been able to agree upon so far. If you cannot reach an agreement at this stage, the divorce will proceed to trial.
Getting Help with Your Utah Divorce
Filing an uncontested divorce has some significant benefits, but it is not always possible. However, you should keep in mind that involving an attorney early can be helpful to resolve issues before the divorce is even filed. That means that you may be able to submit an uncontested divorce even if you do not agree on everything right now.