This is a sponsored guest post.
Getting a divorce can be overwhelming. You’re dealing with enough as it is, and trying to sort out all the legal jargon can only add to your stress. We’re here to make everything easier to understand.
First, divorce is also called the dissolution of marriage in Utah. They both mean the same thing, so don’t get confused if you see one term instead of the other.
Also, you don’t have to go to court to get a divorce. You might not even need an attorney. Getting a divorce can be affordable. But every divorce is different.
How Much Do I Have to Pay to Get a Divorce?
One expense which is the same in every case is the filing fee which is $318. But the overall cost of divorce depends on if you and your spouse have agreed to all the details of your case. Attorneys are usually the most costly expense. Their fees add up very quickly, as they typically charge by the hour.
To keep costs down, your best option is to try to agree on as many details with your spouse as possible before involving an attorney. You may find that you won’t even need an attorney at all.
The average cost of a divorce around the nation is estimated to be about $15,000. This is mostly due to lawyer fees associated with divorce cases that end up in court.
Can I Get a Divorce in Utah?
If you want to get a divorce in Utah, you’ll have to meet the state requirements. You and your spouse need to have lived in Utah for at least three months.
Additionally, if you have minor children with your spouse, the child needs to have lived with one of you in the state for at least six months.
While we all know there’s plenty of reasons to get a divorce, the law puts these reasons into categories that you select from when presenting your case to the court. Utah has a list of eight that you should know about.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Utah?
Grounds for divorce basically just means the reason for the divorce. Utah has two main types of grounds for divorce – fault and no-fault. We’ll be covering the fault-based ones first.
For a fault-based divorce, you’ll have to prove that your spouse has committed one of the actions from the following list:
●Deserting you for more than a year
●Abuse (mental and/or physical)
●Conviction of a felony
●Incurable insanity: this is where your spouse has a serious mental illness. Medical professionals will evaluate this claim.
●Impotence when you were wed
If you see something on this list that applies, then a fault divorce may be a good option for you.
What is a No-Fault Divorce?
Fault divorces usually have to go to court, as they can be complex. Therefore, if you are looking to avoid court to save expenses, a no-fault divorce is a better option. The process of a no-fault divorce is usually faster and more affordable since you don’t have to prove that your spouse did anything wrong.
To get a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse will have to agree that you have “irreconcilable differences.” Every divorce is different and only you know the exact circumstance, but irreconcilable differences are a very common reason for dissolution in Utah. It basically just means that you no longer get along, and you are unable to fix the marriage.
If you’ve already agreed that your relationship isn’t working out or you’ve lost the spark, a no-fault divorce is likely the easiest option for the two of you.
You can also get a no-fault divorce in Utah if you and your spouse have lived apart for three years or more.
What if We have Children?
Utah does have specific requirements for couples who have children and are getting a dissolution of their marriage. The court mandates that you and your spouse take divorce classes to help you and your children through this time.
There are two classes you will need to take: Divorce Orientation and Divorce Education for Parents.
The thing that causes the most trouble in divorce cases is often child custody and visitation rights. It’s best if you can agree on this before going to court, but we know that’s not always possible.
What Happens When You Can’t Agree on Custody?
When you and your spouse can’t agree on child custody, the court will usually do a custody evaluation. In a custody evaluation, a trained professional will observe your parenting, talk to your child, and do an interview with you as well as your spouse.
The cost of a custody evaluation depends on if the evaluator works for the state or is a private professional. Private evaluators typically cost more.
Is it Possible to Get a Divorce Without an Attorney in Utah?
It is! You do not need an attorney to get a divorce, although attorneys can be very useful if you need legal advice. Having an attorney when you can’t agree with your spouse is highly recommended. You shouldn’t have the same attorney as your spouse.
You may be able to get support from the state or from non-profits instead of paying for an attorney. This is a good option if you and your spouse are in general agreement or you just need to sort out a few details.
You might be able to get support from Utah Legal Services. To get this support, you’ll have to apply online and fill out their form. If you live in Salt Lake, we recommend that you contact the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake.
Sadly, going to court to finalize the details of the dissolution of your marriage is going to make the process longer and cost you more. An uncontested divorce is the ideal scenario.
What Exactly Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is where you come to an agreement on all of the issues of your divorce so that you don’t go to court. If you have children, getting an uncontested divorce is still possible, but it may be more difficult, depending on your circumstances.
An uncontested divorce is very popular because hiring an attorney isn’t required and you don’t have to pay for a custody evaluation.
If you and your spouse have kids, you’ll have to agree on details such as who gets child custody, a visitation schedule for the other parent, and how much each parent will contribute financially to help raise the kids.
Your divorce will become contested if you and your spouse can’t agree. In that case, you will have to go to court to hammer out the details.
Filing for An Uncontested Divorce
You will have to put all details into a settlement agreement, which must be signed by both parties. This is the most important thing for keeping the costs down in your divorce case.
All of the following may or may not apply to you, but some of the details that you should keep in mind are:
●The division of real estate and items
●Child custody and child support
Once you have decided on all the details and put it in writing, you can go forward and file for divorce. Keep in mind that you still need to meet the standard requirement of living in the state for at least three months (or 6 months if you have minor children).
What Happens Once I File for Divorce?
After you’ve filed your petition for divorce and other required forms, you’ll need to get a copy of the paperwork to your spouse. You can do this by asking the sheriff’s office or someone you trust over the age of 18. The person that serves the papers acts as a witness that your spouse received the documents.
After this, your spouse has the option to respond. If they live outside of Utah, they have 30 days to respond. If your spouse lives in Utah, they have 21 days.
If they don’t respond, the petitioner (the spouse that filed the case) can move for a divorce by default.
If they do respond, what happens next really depends on your particular case, as no divorce case is the same. If you and your spouse are arguing over some details, you will have to go to court. If you are in agreement about everything and have submitted a settlement agreement, you just wait for the case to be reviewed by a judge at a final hearing.
How Long does it take to get a Divorce in Utah?
There’s no exact time period for a contested divorce. How long a contested case takes will depend on how hard both sides fight in court to get their way and how many details are being contested. A contested case can last more than a year.
The waiting period for an uncontested divorce in Utah is 30 days once you have filed the petition. That means that if you have everything in order, including a settlement agreement, your case can be over quickly.
Can I Do the Divorce Myself?
Maybe. A do-it-yourself dissolution is certainly possible, but only for certain couples. There are a few things you should keep in mind.
• Filing for a divorce yourself is an easier process if you don’t have children
• Having few assets will speed up the process
• You and your spouse will have to agree that alimony is not required
If these apply to you, then a DIY divorce is a good option for you. As usual, you’ll have to get the paperwork in order. Utah does have online resources available to help you.