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Divorce Laws in Utah

In Utah, either or both spouses may file for a request for conciliation. This will put a hold on the divorce for 60 days. A conciliation request may be filed before or after divorce has been filed. The purpose is to try to save the marriage, or to reach an amicable agreement to the terms of divorce without getting the court involved.

Utah has a 90-day waiting period for divorce. The waiting period will be waived if the couple has attended the required class for divorcing parents, or participated in mediation. The court will often waive the waiting period for couples who have attended marriage counseling, couples who have been separated for more than 90 days, and couples who can prove that there is no hope of reconciliation.
Residency and jurisdiction in Utah
At least one spouse must live, or be stationed by the military, in Utah and in the county where divorce is filed for at least three months before filing.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Utah
Utah grants fault and no fault divorce. Grounds for no fault divorce are as follows:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Legal separation without sexual relations for at least three years

Acceptable grounds for fault divorce are:

  • Impotence at the time of marriage
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for at least one year
  • Intentional lack of support
  • Habitual alcohol abuse
  • Felony conviction
  • Cruelty
  • Incurable insanity

Division of property in Utah
Utah is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. All joint property is divided during a divorce. Separate debts will remain separate except for any debts incurred on the behalf of children and debts for necessities such as medical care. Separate debts are defined as debts which are incurred:

  • Before marriage
  • During the marriage, unless the debt was for the benefit of the family
  • After divorce or during a legal separation

Spousal support in Utah
Spousal support, in Utah, may be temporary or permanent. The court must consider many factors when determining spousal support including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial condition and needs
  • Earning capacity and income sources
  • Ability to pay support
  • Child custody
  • Whether spouse seeking support worked for the other spouse during the marriage
  • Contributions to the education or earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Marital fault

Child custody and support in Utah
Utah courts give very little weight to the wishes of the child when determining child custody. Children are not required to testify in court during custody proceedings. Parents who have been abandoned by their spouse are automatically granted child custody. When determining physical custody of the child the court must consider:

  • Physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child
  • Ability of the parents to give the welfare of the child first priority
  • Ability of the parents to work together in making decisions for the best interest of the child
  • Willingness and ability to foster a close relationship with the other parent
  • Participation in raising the child prior to divorce
  • Geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
  • Wishes of the child
  • Maturity of the parents and their willing to protect the child from conflict within the relationship
  • Ability of the parents to make decisions jointly
  • History of and potential for child abuse, spousal abuse, or kidnapping

Utah follows the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Utah, contact an experienced Utah divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Utah and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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