Divorce can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. But it doesn't have to involve a drawn-out, expensive court battle. If you and your spouse can agree on how you'll deal with the legal, financial, and practical details involved in ending your marriage, you can save money and time by getting an uncontested divorce in Utah.
If you want to file for an uncontested divorce in Utah, you must meet three basic requirements: state residency, agreement on the reason for your divorce, and agreement on the issues in your case.
In order to get any kind of divorce in Utah, you or your spouse must have lived in the state, and in the county where you file for divorce, for the three-month period just before you file. (Utah Code § 30-3-1(2) (2022).)
You must have a legally accepted reason (or "ground") to get divorced in any state. Utah allows both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. When you file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse should simply agree that you have "irreconcilable differences." That basically means you can't get along, and there's no reasonable chance that you'll get back together. (Utah Code § 30-3-1(3)(h) (2022).)
Before you file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will need to work out agreements on all the issues in your case, including:
If you're having trouble agreeing about any of these issues—or any other matters you want to address in your divorce—mediation might help you find solutions that work for both you and your spouse. Most mediators will prepare a document that reflects any agreements you've reached during the process. You can use this document to prepare your written marital settlement agreement (called a "stipulation" in Utah divorce proceedings).
The Utah Courts offer an Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) to help divorcing couples prepare divorce paperwork without an attorney. There are separate packages of forms for the spouse who initiates the divorce proceeding (the "petitioner") and the other spouse (the "respondent").
To simplify matters, you could instead file for divorce online with a service that will complete the proper uncontested divorce forms for you, based on your answers to a questionnaire. These services will typically also help you create a settlement agreement or stipulation (and some will take care of filing the divorce papers, for an additional fee).
Utah's forms for uncontested divorce include:
If you and your spouse have dependent children, you'll also include forms showing your agreements about custody and support, including:
The required paperwork to complete a divorce in Utah might vary from county to county. Check with your local court clerk for more information and to determine whether you need to file additional forms. (You can also request a hard copy of any required forms from the clerk's office.)
Once you've completed and signed all of the forms, take them for filing to the court clerk's office in the district court covering the county where you or your spouse have lived for the past three months. You can find locations and contact information for district courts at the Utah State Court Directory.
You'll almost always need to pay a fee to file the divorce papers (more on that below).
Because the initial divorce papers included the respondent's acceptance and waiver, there's no need to complete formal service of process, and the respondent doesn't need to file an answer to the divorce petition.
After you've filed the divorce petition, Utah has a mandatory 30-day waiting period before you can get your final divorce decree. A judge may waive the waiting period only under extraordinary circumstances. (Utah Code § 30-3-18 (2022).)
In the meantime, if you and your spouse have minor children, be sure to take the two educational courses that Utah requires for divorcing parents: a divorce orientation course and a course on children's needs during divorce. You can take the courses online or in person. Normally, parents must complete these courses within 60 days after filing the divorce petition, but take care of this as soon as possible if you want a quick uncontested divorce. (Utah Code §§ 30-3-11.3, 30-3-11.4 (2022).)
There's usually no need for a court hearing to finalize your uncontested divorce in Utah, because the responding spouse has agreed to entry of the divorce decree under the terms of the settlement agreement. You may file an application for entry of the divorce decree without a hearing, along with a supporting affidavit. (Utah Rules of Civ. Proc., rule 104 (2022).)
Unless a judge decides that there's some reason for a hearing, the judge (or a court commissioner) will review the paperwork to ensure that it's complete, reasonable, and in your children's best interests. If so, the judge will sign the final divorce decree and judgment, which will incorporate your stipulation.
As a rule, uncontested divorce is a lot cheaper than a traditional, contested divorce. That's because many couples can get through the uncontested divorce process without hiring lawyers to represent them—which leads to big savings on the normal cost of divorce.
The basic expense for an uncontested divorce will be the court fee for filing the divorce papers. Utah's filing fee for divorce is $325 (as of 2022, but always subject to change). But if you can't afford to pay, you may request a fee waiver. If the court decides that you qualify for a waiver, you won't have to pay any court costs in your case, including the fees for the parents' educational courses ($65 for both).
Beyond the filing fee, your costs will depend on whether you get a "pure" do-it-yourself divorce or you need some help with the process.