Read LawJuly 28, 2021
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Utah? Understanding the Waiting Period
Are you considering filing for divorce in Utah? You may be wondering how long the divorce process will take. After all, getting a divorce can be a financially, emotionally, and mentally draining process. Many people hope that it will be over as soon as possible. Every divorce has its facts and issues that will arise. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all time frame for how long a divorce in Utah will take. However, there are three things you should keep in mind when you are considering the timeline of your divorce case.
The Mandatory Waiting Period
Under Utah law, you must wait at least 30 days after filing a divorce petition before your divorce is finalized. Utah law requires couples to wait 90 days between the date their divorce petition is filed and the date the decree is signed. However, the legislature changed the waiting period to 30 days. Suppose you and your spouse have decided to get divorced. Even in this scenario, you will still need to wait 30 days after you file the divorce decree before the court can finalize your divorce.
How Long Do Uncontested Divorces Take?
Most divorces will not be resolved and ready to be finalized after the 30-day waiting period is over. In an uncontested divorce, spouses agree on all of the final terms of their divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses usually resolve their issues faster because there is not a need for hearings in front of the judge, litigation, and the spouses are not required to file as many documents and gather as much evidence as they would in a contested divorce.
Suppose you are pursuing an uncontested divorce. You have decided that you want an uncontested divorce and file for a no-fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. You have even agreed on all the significant issues that spouses typically find difficult to agree on, including the division of property and child custody matters.
Even in this scenario, you will still need to wait 30 days after you file the divorce decree before the court can finalize your divorce. In most divorces, at least one matter that spouses cannot agree upon can extend the timeframe of how long the divorce takes. In many cases, even when a divorced is uncontested, most are finalized within 60 to 90 days of the divorce petition.
At Read & Read, we have represented many Utah residents seeking uncontested divorces. One common scenario we run into involves divorcing couples who think they have resolved all their issues. They are pursuing an uncontested divorce and remain amicable with each other until we begin drafting the final divorce paperwork. In some cases, they realize that there are issues they have not discussed or resolved yet. For example, perhaps they have not considered how they will divide their retirement accounts.
In other cases, they have not considered the right of first refusal regarding parenting time or who will get the kids on summer holidays or other holidays. Failure to consider all of these critical issues in a divorce or the inability to agree upon them will delay a final settlement of divorce, even when the parties are pursuing an uncontested divorce.
There are so many issues to be resolved in a divorce. It is difficult to consider everything, and it is almost inevitable that a contested issue will arise. However, even when a problem does arise, one of our experienced lawyers can help you resolve the issue. Whenever possible, we help clients pursue an uncontested divorce as swiftly as possible.
How Long Do Contested Divorces Take?
In a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on the final terms of the divorce. As mentioned above, contested divorces take longer than uncontested divorces. In some cases in which the spouses have many issues they cannot agree upon, the divorce can last longer than a year or even two years. The time the divorce takes depends on several different factors, including the following:
- The number of issues the spouses cannot resolve.
- The number of hearings the spouses need to schedule with a Utah family court.
- Whether you need to hire expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants, or custody evaluators, it will take time for these experts to evaluate your situation and prepare their statements.
- Whether the spouses have the money to continue funding the divorce by hiring experts and paying the attorney fees.
- Whether there are delays in the divorce while one or both spouses tried to find more money to fund the divorce.
- Whether the divorce case settled during the mediation process.
- The complexity of assets owned by the couple and the difficulty involved in separating the assets.
- Whether you can waive the minimum waiting period.
- Whether you can obtain a default judgment.
- Whether you have any minor children together.
- Whether one spouse files an appeal after the divorce.
The Average Length of a Utah Divorce
On average, but extenuating circumstances, most Utah divorce are resolved between eight months in a year. However, whatever a divorce case proceeds to trial, which is a tiny percentage of cases, the divorce process can last longer than one year. Your spouse may file an appeal after the divorce is finalized. However, your spouse will need to file an appeal within 30 days of the court’s final entry of the divorce decree. Additionally, if your spouse experiences a substantial change in circumstances, you have the right to petition the court to modify your original child custody or child support.