Q: During my divorce process, is there a checklist for Utah residents that I can reference?
A: Staying organized is crucial when you’re going through a Utah divorce. Having an organizational system that works for you will prevent you from drowning in a sea of paperwork. We recommend keeping an accordion folder for all of your files and taking it with you to meetings. Some of the paperwork you will need includes the following:
- Financial statements/affidavits for both parties
- At least three years of income tax returns for both parties
- Details regarding investments
- Employee benefits and retirement information
- Information regarding your mortgage(s)
- Most recent paycheck stubs for both parties
- Non-marital property inventory and/or receipts
- Household inventory using the household inventory worksheet
- Household bills are receipts
- Bank account statements (joint and separate)
- Credit card statements (joint and separate)
- Child or spousal support (paid and received)
- Insurance information
- Any other documents that have a bearing on your financial situation
Q: What do I need to do before filing for divorce?
A: Filing for divorce is the first legal step you’ll need to take, but there are several things you’ll need to do before you file for divorce. First, you’ll need to be certain that filing for divorce is what you want. Make sure there is no hope for reconciliation before you serve your spouse with divorce papers. Next, you will need to interview attorneys and decide which law firm to hire. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the better.
Your attorney can help you understand which financial documents you need to gather and advise you on the steps you should take before filing for divorce. You also need to determine your goals for child custody, alimony, and property division and figure out your living situation.
Lastly, parents of minor children in the State of Utah are required to go through court-approved divorce education. For more information on this, please see:
Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Utah?
A: Utah recognizes no-fault and fault-based divorce. No-fault divorce involves one or both spouses claiming that they have irrevocable differences that have resulted in the breakdown of their marriage. Fault-based grounds for divorce include the following:
- Adultery committed during the marriage
- Impotence at the time of the marriage
- Willful desertion of the other spouse for more than one year
- Willful neglect to provide the common necessities of life
- Habitual drunkenness
- Conviction of a felony
- Cruel treatment to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress, as in mental or physical cruelty
- The spouses have lived separately and apart in a legal separation for three consecutive years
- Permanent and incurable Insanity as established by competent medical testimony
For more information, please see:
- Adultery and Divorce in Utah- What You Should Know
- Does Alimony Increase If My Spouse Had an Affair?
Q: What is the average cost of a divorce in Utah?
A: It is difficult to provide an estimate of how much your divorce will cost. The cost of your divorce depends on several different factors, primarily the time your attorney will need to spend on your case. The more time your attorney spends on your case, the more expensive your divorce will be. Also, if you and your spouse pursue an uncontested divorce in which you agree on all major issues, the divorce will be less expensive and will proceed more quickly. The average cost of an uncontested divorce is around $2,500.
Q: Is Utah a 50-50 divorce state?
A: In community property states, judges will divide the community property, also called marital property, 50/50 between the spouses. Utah is not a community property State. Instead, Utah judges use the legal principle of equitable distribution. Marital property is divided fairly or equitably, which typically is not a 50/50 split between spouses. Spouses can agree on how to divide their property outside of the court, but if they cannot agree, the judge will step in and divide the property.
Q: Do I have to be separated before divorce in Utah?
A: In Utah, you do not need to be separated from your spouse before the court finalizes your divorce. Regardless of how long you have been separated, the court will grant your divorce 91 days after submitting the filing.
For more information on legal separation, please see:
Q: Does it matter who files for divorce first in Utah?
A: You may be wondering if it is beneficial for you to file for divorce before your spouse does. As with many issues in divorce, the answer depends on your unique circumstances. Some advantages come with filing first or waiting. The advantage of filing first is that you choose the timing of the divorce, which could allow you to save money or protect marital assets. You will also be able to present your case first during the trial. However, most divorces do not end up at trial. When you do not file first, you will have the opportunity to review the divorce petition and develop a legal strategy accordingly. The best thing to do is discuss whether you should file first with an experienced lawyer.
Q: Is Utah a ‘mother’ state for child custody?
A: Utah judges cannot award child custody based on the sex of the parent. Instead, they must consider many different factors to decide what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. In other words, you will not lose custody of your children just because you are the father.
Q: How long after a divorce can you remarry in Utah?
A: There is no waiting requirement for getting remarried after your divorce petition has been finalized. The moment the judge signs the decree, you have a right to get married again.
Q: Who has to leave the house in a Utah divorce?
A: The answer to this question depends on several factors. If there is a safety issue or a protective order in place, the spouse who allegedly committed the dangerous acts will need to move out. If that is not the case, you may be able to negotiate an agreement with your spouse about who leaves the house. If not, the court will decide who can temporarily use the home before the divorce is finalized.
For more information, please see:
Q: Is child support mandatory in Utah?
A: Utah state law requires the child support obligation to follow the child. This means that the court will enforce the obligation against the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. If neither parent has physical custody of a child who is living with another relative, the court will enforce the child support obligations of both parents.