Is Utah a No-Fault Divorce State?

In Utah, when you file for a divorce, you must submit a petition to a court providing a legal reason for your request. However, Utah is a no-fault divorce state, which means one spouse does not have to be guilty of misconduct for proceedings to begin. You can claim you are ending your marriage because of irreconcilable differences. When a divorce is sought for this reason, you are telling the court that issues exist that cannot be resolved, and the marriage isn't working anymore.

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Other Grounds for Divorce in Utah

Grounds for divorce are the reasons you are seeking to end your marriage. Although in Utah you can claim irreconcilable differences, there are several other statutory grounds that can be listed as reasons for a divorce on the petition.

Grounds for divorcein Utah include:

  • Impotency
  • Adultery
  • Willful desertion
  • Willful neglect
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Felony conviction
  • Cruel treatment
  • Incurable insanity
  • Separation for 3 consecutive years

When you pursue a divorce for a reason other than irreconcilable differences, you must prove to the court that your spouse engaged in the alleged conduct.

Divorce Process

Regardless of the reason for a divorce, the process you must go through to dissolve your marriage is the same. To file for a divorce in Utah, you must be a resident of the state and the county for at least 3 months.

If you meet the residency requirement, you must submit a petition to the court, including your reason for the dissolution of your marriage. As the person filing for the divorce, you are referred to as the petitioner. Your spouse is referred to as the respondent.

Serving Divorce Papers to Your Spouse

You must have the petition and a summons served to your spouse within 120 days after you submitted it to the court. Your spouse has 21 days (or 30 days if they live outside of Utah) to “answer” (or respond to) the petition.

If your spouse does not answer the petition within the specified deadline, you may file a motion for a default divorce. If a default judgment is granted, your divorce will be finalized without your spouse giving their side of the story.

Waiting Period

In Utah, you must wait 30 days from the date you submitted your petition to the date the court holds a hearing for your case. You may request to have the waiting period waived. To do this, you must file a motion with the court. Your request may be granted only if you can show the court that extraordinary circumstances exist.

Other Mandatory Requirements

If you and your spouse have children together, you are both required to attend mandatory education classes for divorcing parents.

The process for seeking a dissolution of marriage can be lengthy, complex, and emotional, but you don't have to go through it on your own. Our Salt Lake City attorneys at Lokken & Putnam, P.C. can provide compassionate guidance every step of the way. Call us at (801) 829-9783 or contact us online today.