Overview of Divorce in Utah

Divorce laws in Utah are not all that different from those in other states.  However, any lawyer will tell you that it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state before beginning any legal procedure.  Here are some of the key issues regarding divorce in Utah.

Residency Requirements for Filing

In order to file for divorce in Utah, at least one spouse in the divorcing couple must be a legal resident of the state.  Either the plaintiff or the defendant (or both) must have been a resident of Utah for at least three months, and filing must take place in the county in which he or she resides.

Additionally, Utah courts will not hold any divorce hearings until 90 days have passed from the time the divorce complaint was filed.  The only exception to this is if both spouses have completed the educational course for divorcing parents.

Grounds for Divorce in Utah

The grounds for which Utah courts will grant divorces are not much different than the grounds elsewhere.  There are two ‘no fault’ grounds through which the court may decree a dissolution of the marriage:

  • Irreconcilable differences in the marriage.
  • When the spouses have been living apart for three consecutive years.

 

Plus, there are eight ‘fault’ grounds for which Utah courts will give divorces.  With these, the plaintiff needs to prove that their chosen ground does exist in their marriage.

  • Impotency at the time of marriage.
  • Adultery committed after the time of marriage.
  • Willful desertion for more than one year.
  • Willful neglect to provide the spouse with life necessities.
  • Habitual drunkenness.
  • Conviction of a felony.
  • Cruel treatment of the spouse, causing injury or mental distress.
  • Incurable insanity.

 

Child Custody Factors in Utah Divorces

Utah courts might award any form of custody and may come up with any type of custody arrangement; however, they always—in every case—consider joint custody first.  The courts do, of course, want whatever is best for the child; however, it is generally accepted that allowing children to spend time with both parents is typically in the best interest of most children.

When making custody decisions, Utah courts take a great many factors into consideration, including these:

  • The child’s desires regarding custody.
  • The parents’ desires regarding custody.
  • The parents’ ability to act in the child’s best interests.
  • How the parents and child interact.
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