family lawyer utah

Begin Questions & Answers- Divorce — public

No, you do not need an attorney to end your marriage. However, unless both you and your spouse agree on all the provisions of the divorce, we would recommend that you have one. It is a good idea to have someone who is familiar with the law and the court system to help you. You may be able to get help free of charge from the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake if you are in Salt Lake County, or from Utah Legal Services in all other areas of the state. You should contact them to see if they may help. If they can't help you, you may still hire an attorney to help you.

May one lawyer represent both me and my spouse?

No. There is always a conflict of interest in a divorce and one lawyer cannot represent both sides. But the Respondent could decide not to fight, in which case he/she would not need an attorney.

May I move either before or after a divorce is filed?

Yes. However, it is best if you notify the other person, especially if there are children involved. While the courts will usually not prevent you from moving, they will take a move into consideration when determining where the children should reside, etc. There can be consequences to the person moving children in that transportation costs will go up and the one moving usually has to pay them.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Utah?

The answer to this question depends upon the circumstances. Some ideas follow:

Uncontested divorce with or without children. Utah law imposes a 90-day waiting period after filing for a divorce before it may be granted, so even if you and your spouse agree on all the issues, it would take a minimum of 90 days. However, you may try to waive the waiting period. Divorcing parents are required to take two (2) classes: the Divorce Orientation class and the Divorce Education for Parents Class.

Contested divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, then it could take months or even years.

Is there an advantage to filing first?

The only advantage to filing first is that if you may be able to affect where the case is within the state if you and your spouse live in different areas of the state. Otherwise, there generally will not be any advantage to being the first to file.

Where do I file for a divorce?

Utah has a residency requirement for filing for divorce. You or your spouse will have to reside in the county that you want to file in for at least three months before you file. In addition, if you have children, you may need to reside in the state for at least six (6) months before filing.

Do I have to go to court?

No. You will only have to go to Court if you can not agree on the terms. In fact, the vast majority of cases are resolved without going to Court.

What is mediation and do I have to go?

Mediation is a process that may help you and your spouse talk about the issues in the divorce and come to an agreement. If you do not agree on your own, Utah law requires you to go through the mediation process before you may go to trial. This requirement may be waived, however, for good cause such as having had domestic violence in the relationship.

May I date or have another relationship before I am divorced?

Any relationship with someone else before you are divorced may hurt your case. Also, this situation may anger your spouse and make settlement more difficult. If you have children, this is especially true, and you should get some professional advice about how much your children should know about your adult relationships.

May I get help preparing the forms for a divorce?

Yes. The Utah Courts have put the forms on their Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP). After having you input all the needed information, this program will personalize and prepare all the paperwork needed to file a divorce.

May I get immediate order to help me survive?

You may ask the Court to have a hearing to establish temporary orders that will last while the divorce is pending. You may ask for a hearing at the same time that you file. However, they are not immediate. The court will not enter temporary orders without a hearing. However, they will usually try and schedule a hearing as soon as they may. This may be especially helpful if you have children so they may be taken care of with child support orders, etc.

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