How Do I File for Divorce in Utah
Here are the basic forms you'll need to file and steps you'll need to take to start the divorce process in Utah.
If you're thinking of filing for divorce in Utah, you might not know where to begin. Fortunately, Utah has gone to great lengths to assist individuals who wish to handle their own divorce. This article provides information about divorce in Utah, which is referred to as "dissolution of marriage."
Reasons for Divorce
Like a majority of states, Utah allows both no-fault and fault-based divorce. Because no-fault cases are generally faster and less expensive, most couples prefer to file their divorce without assigning any type of blame to either side. Utah provides two kinds of no-fault grounds: "irreconcilable differences" and living apart for at least three years under a separate maintenance order issued by any state.
If you and your spouse can't agree on an amicable divorce, Utah also offers eight fault-based grounds, which include:
- inability to perform sexually (at the time of the marriage)
- willful desertion for more than one year
- willful neglect
- habitual drunkenness
- felony conviction
- extreme cruelty, and
- incurable insanity.
Utah's residency requirement is among the shortest in the nation. To obtain a Utah divorce, you or your spouse must reside in one county continuously for at least three months.
Preparing Your Forms
To get your case started, you must file a number of forms, including a complaint. Fortunately, the state provides residents with a free online form generation service, which prepares all the necessary forms on your behalf. TheOnline Court Assistance Program, which is maintained by the Utah State Courts, allows users to input all their information and answer a series of questions. At the end, the system automatically produces all the forms you need to file your case.
The standard forms include the following:
- Cover Sheet for Civil Actions
- Department of Health Form
- Verified Complaint for Divorce
- Parenting Plan (if minor children)
Filing Your Forms
Once you have all your forms in order, you must file the originals with the appropriate county court. This is the county in which you live or the county where your spouse resides. Utah law allows the filing spouse, known as the "petitioner", to file by mail, however, the state recommends using registered mail to guarantee receipt of delivery. You can also hand-deliver your initial paperwork to the county clerk.
Serving Your Forms
In Utah, as in every other state, you must "serve" the opposing side with a copy of all your divorce documents. This is referred to as "service of process" and it enables the other side to respond or file a counterclaim. Under Utah law, you have 120 days from the date you file your divorce complaint to serve copies on the opposing side. Utah permits various forms of service, including hiring a private process server, handing over the documents yourself in person, and sheriff's service.
Like many states, Utah requires the parties to exchange financial information, including a list of all assets and debts. Under state law, both spouses must file a Financial Declaration. This form is filed after the Respondent submits his or her response to the original divorce petition.