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Utah divorce recovery

Utah Divorce Forms

Y ou may do your own search for divorce forms Child custody strategies(just below), or you can select one of the featured forms. When you click on a form link, you will see:
  • A description of the package or form
  • Notes related to the selection
  • Utah laws that are related to that form
Once you have viewed a legal form, you can return to this page by clicking the back arrow on your browser.

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Packages:
With Adult Children and with or without Property and Debts View
For people with Minor Children View
For Persons with No Children with or without Property and Debts View
Name Change for Brides, Court Ordered Name Change, Divorced/Marriage View
Frequently Ordered Forms
Separation and Child Custody and Property Settlement Agreement View
Name Change for Brides, Court Ordered Name Change, Divorced, Marriage View
Newly Divorced Individuals Package View
Qualified Domestic Relations Order View
Motion for Contempt of Final Decree of Divorce View
Separation Forms
Separation and Child Custody and Property Settlement Agreement View
Separation and Property Settlement Agreement View
Separation and Property Settlement Agreement no kids, w/Property or Debts View
Separation Agreement and Specific Release View
Separation and Property Settlement Agreement View

Annulment

Q. Explain the difference between an annulment Annul a marriageand a divorce.
A. A divorce end a legal marriage and resolves child support, child custody, spousal support and the division of marital assets. An annulment is the court’s decree that the marriage was never valid, and should not have taken place.
Q. How does one know if they can get an annulment?
A. There are grounds for annulment just like there are grounds for divorce. To receive an annulment, a marriage must fit the description of a void marriage or a voidable marriage. Grounds include entering a marriage by Fraud and Duress, Mental Illness, Bigamy, Impotency, and Consanguinity (marrying a relative too closely related.)
Q. What is the difference between void and voidable marriages. They both can be annulled?
A. A void marriage is a type of marriage which is on its face unlawful under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is or was entered 1. one or both of the parties are below the legal age to marry and did not have parental consent, 2. the parties degrees of consanguinity are too close, for example, a brother and sister or a parent and a child, 3. the form of the marriage is forbidden by statute (such as same-sex marriage, and bigamy (multiple marriages).

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-1-1 to 3; 17.1]

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Child Custody

T he courts in Utah determine joint or Child custodysole custody according to the best interests of the child, and will consider the following:
  • the past conduct and moral standards of the parents
  • the welfare of the child
  • the child’s preference if the child is at least 12 years of age
  • which parent is likely to act in the best interests of the child

Physical custody – describes where and with whom the child will live.
Legal custody – describes a custody award where one or both parents have the rights and responsibilities to make important legal decisions for the child in the areas of education, religious affiliation and health care.
Sole Physical custody – arrangement where a child lives with one parent and the other parent receives visitation privileges.
Joint Physical custody - 

  • means the child stays with each parent overnight for more than 30% of the year, and both parents contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to paying child support;
  • can mean equal or nearly equal periods of physical custody of and access to the child by each of the parents, as required to meet the best interest of the child;
  • may require that a primary physical residence for the child be designated; and
  • does not prohibit the court from specifying one parent as the primary caretaker and one home as the primary residence of the child.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

Sole legal custody – describes a custody award only Child custodyone both parent has the rights and responsibilities to make important legal decisions for the child in the areas of education, religious affiliation and health care.

Joint legal custody

  • means the sharing of the rights, privileges, duties, and powers of a parent by both parents, where specified
  • may include an award of exclusive authority by the court to one parent to make specific decisions
  • does not affect the physical custody of the child except as specified in the order of joint legal custody
  • is not based on awarding equal or nearly equal periods of physical custody of and access to the child to each of the parents, as the best interest of the child often requires that a primary physical residence for the child be designated; and
  • does not prohibit the court from specifying one parent as the primary caretaker and one home as the primary residence of the child. [UT Code § 30-3-10.1]

Terms of joint legal or physical custody order – Unless the court orders otherwise, before a final order of joint legal custody or joint physical custody is entered both parties will attend the mandatory course for divorcing parents and present a certificate of completion from the course to the court. An order of joint legal or physical custody will provide terms the court determines appropriate, which may include specifying:

  • either the county of residence of the child, until altered by further order of the court, or the custodian who has the sole legal right to determine the residence of the child
  • that the parents will exchange information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child, and where possible, confer before making decisions concerning any of these areas
  • the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child’s present and future physical care, support, and education
  • provisions to minimize disruption of the child’s attendance at school and other activities, his daily routine, and his association with friends; and
  • as necessary, the remaining parental rights, privileges, duties, and powers to be exercised by the parents solely, concurrently, or jointly.

Will the Ex manipulate you with the kids’ schedule?

It’s all in the details

The court will, where possible, Alt Textinclude in the order the terms of the parenting plan. Any parental rights not specifically addressed by the court order may be exercised by the parent having physical custody of the child the majority of the time.

The appointment of joint legal or physical custodians does not impair or limit the authority of the court to order support of the child, including payments by one custodian to the other.An order of joint legal custody, in itself, is not grounds for modifying a support order.

An order of joint legal or physical custody will require a parenting plan incorporating a dispute resolution procedure the parties agree to use before seeking enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the order of joint legal or physical custody through litigation, except in emergency situations requiring ex parte orders to protect the child. [UT Code § 30-3-10.3]

There will be a rebuttable presumption that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child, except in cases where there is:

  • domestic violence in the home or in the presence of the child
  • special physical or mental needs of a parent or child, making joint legal custody unreasonable
  • physical distance between the residences of the parents, making joint decision making impractical in certain circumstances; or
  • any other factor the court considers relevant
Requirement to file a Parenting Plan

The person who desires joint legal custody must file a proposed parenting plan. A presumption for joint legal custody may be rebutted by a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that it is not in the best interest of the child. The children may not be required by either party to testify unless the trier of fact determines that extenuating circumstances exist that would necessitate the testimony of the children be heard and there is no other reasonable method to present their testimony.

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

The court may inquire of the children and take into consideration the children’s desires regarding future custody or parent-time schedules, but the expressed desires are not controlling and the court may determine the children’s custody or parent-time otherwise. The desires of a child 14 years of age or older will be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor. If interviews with the children are conducted by the court, they will be conducted by the judge in camera (in chambers). The prior consent of the parties may be obtained but is not necessary if the court finds that an interview with the children is the only method to ascertain the child’s desires regarding custody.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-2-10, 30-3-5, 30-3-10]

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Do It Yourself Divorce

U tah offers its residents the choice Child custody strategiesof fault and no-fault divorces. To become a resident, at least one of the spouses must have lived here for at least 3 months just prior to the filing. No fault divorces are filed using the reason for the marriage ending as irreconcilable differences, or you have lived separate and apart for at least 3 years with no cohabitation.

The Process – File the paperwork

The spouse filing for divorce (the Petitioner) must file a Petition for Divorce in the district court of the county in which either the Petitioner or their spouse lives. You can file in the county in which you live, either the county in which you lived if you have separated and you both still live in Utah, or in the county where your spouse has lived for 3 months or more.

Below are forms you will need to complete your filing:

  • Petition for Divorce
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Vital Statistics Form/Certificate of Dissolution
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Affidavit of Jurisdiction and Grounds
  • Civil Cover Sheet
  • Stipulation
  • Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law
  • Military Service Declaration and Order
  • Decree of Divorce (if you want downloadable forms with instructions, find them here)

Make several copies of each form and take them to the court house with you. The Clerk of the Court will accept your paperwork and charge you a filing fee. At last check, in the State Capitol, the fee was $310.00 – fees vary by county though so do inquire ahead of time).

Serve your spouse

It is your responsibility to serve (notify) your spouse. The court clerk will give you your options on how service gets accomplished. Once your spouse responds to the service, and returns his or her answer, a 90 day waiting period begins. This time can be used to settle differences, if there are any. If you are parents, you are required to take a mandatory parenting class before you can be divorced. If you both complete the course early on, you can avoid the 60 day waiting period.

Settlement Agreement

Before you are divorced, you must reach agreement with your spouse on pertinent issues from the marriage. They include dividing assets and debt, separating property, agreeing on alimony, child support and child custody (where applicable), and dividing any property from the marriage. If everything is in order, the court will hold a hearing, at which time you will be asked questions to be certain you understand what you are doing. If everything goes well, you will be notified by mail that you are divorced.

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Enforcement

E xpedited Parent-time Enforcement Child custody strategiesProgram – if a parent files a motion in the district court alleging that court-ordered parenting-time rights are being violated, the court will refer the matter to a mediator. The mediator will:
  • meet with the parents to address parent-time issues within 15 days of the motion being filed, assess the situation, and facilitate an agreement on parent-time between the parents
  • determine whether a referral to a service provider is warranted

While a case is in mediation, a mediator may refer the parents to a service provider designated by the Department of Human Services for services to facilitate parent-time if:

  • the services may be of significant benefit to the parents; or
  • a mediated agreement between the parents is unlikely; and the services may facilitate an agreement

At any time during mediation, a mediator will terminate mediation and transfer the case to the administrator of the program for referral to the judge or court commissioner to whom the case was assigned if:

  • a written agreement between the parents is reached; or
  • the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation and:
  • the parents have received services to facilitate parent-time
  • both parents object to receiving services to facilitate parent-time; or
  • the parents are unlikely to benefit from receiving services to facilitate parent-time

Upon receiving a case from the administrator of the program, a judge or court commissioner may:

  • review the agreement of the parents and, if acceptable, sign it as an order
  • order the parents to receive services to facilitate parent-time
  • proceed with the case; or
  • take other appropriate action. [UT Code § 30-3-38]

Custody and maintenance of children — Property and debt division — Support payments – In all actions brought under this chapter the court may by order or decree:

  • provide for the care, custody, and maintenance of the minor children of the parties and may determine with which of the parties the children or any of them shall remain
  • provide for support of either spouse and the support of the minor children remaining with that spouse;
  • provide how and when support payments will be made; and
  • provide that either spouse have a lien upon the property of the other to secure payment of the support or maintenance obligation
  • provide that either spouse have a lien upon the property of the other to secure payment of the support or maintenance obligation
  • award to either spouse the possession of any real or personal property of the other spouse or acquired by the spouses during the marriage; or
  • specify which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities contracted or incurred by the parties during the marriage
  • require the parties to notify respective creditors or obligees regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, and liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate, current addresses; and
  • provide for the enforcement of these orders
  • The orders and decrees under this section may be enforced by sale of any property of the spouse or by contempt proceedings or otherwise as may be necessary
  • The court may change the support or maintenance of a party from time to time according to circumstances, and may terminate altogether any obligation upon satisfactory proof of voluntary and permanent reconciliation. An order or decree of support or maintenance will in every case be valid only during the joint lives of the husband and wife. [UT Code § 30-4-3]

Expedited enforcement of a child custody determination – a petition for enforcement may be submitted to the court and must state:

  • Whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, what the basis was
  • Whether the determination has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court whose decision must be enforced
  • Whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights and adoptions
  • The present physical address of the child and the respondent, if known
  • Whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorney’s fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officials and, if so, the relief sought; and
  • If the child custody determination has been registered and confirmed

Following the filing of the petition, the court will issue an order directing the respondent to appear in person at a hearing and may enter any order necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child. The hearing must be held on the next judicial day after service of the order unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court will hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The court may extend the date of hearing at the request of the petitioner.[UT Code § 30-3-38]

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Grounds For Divorce

G rounds for divorce in this state include:Grounds for divorce
  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • adultery
  • willful desertion for more than one year
  • willful neglect to provide for the petitioner the common necessaries of life
  • habitual drunkenness
  • conviction of a felony
  • cruel treatment
  • irreconcilable differences
  • incurable insanity or
  • when the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-1]

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Legal Separation

G rounds for a Decree of Legal Separation:Separation
  • A person who deserts a spouse without good and sufficient cause
  • a person with sufficient ability to provide support, neglects or refuses to properly provide for and suitably maintain that spouse
  • a person with property in Utah and the spouse being a resident of Utah,  deserts or neglects or refuses to provide support; or
  • a person, without fault, lives separate and apart from that spouse

A person who chooses a separation rather than a divorce will file for a Decree of Legal Separation, covering matters like custody and child support, spousal support, the division of property and the payment of debts. If alimony (spousal support) is desired, that person has will also file a Complaint for Separate Maintenance, which apportions and sets apart a decree as alimony the use of the property, personal estate or earnings of a deserting spouse.

In an action for separate maintenance, the court may order
  • A provision for the care, custody and maintenance of any minor children and determine where those children will live
  • A provision for support of either spouse and any children living with that spouse
  • A provision stating how and when support payments are to be made and to provide for a lien on property in order to secure payment of the support or maintenance order
  • That one person have the right  to possession of any property of the other acquired during the marriage
  • Designate a person be responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities entered into by the parties during the marriage
  • Require the parties to notify creditors regarding the court’s allocation of debts, obligations and liabilities together with notice of current addresses

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Temporary Orders

A petitioner may file an action for a temporary separation order and a motion for temporary orders if:

  • the petitioner is lawfully married to the respondent; and
  • both parties are residents of the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing

The temporary orders are valid for one year from the date of the hearing, or until one of the following occurs:

  • a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation; or
  • the case is dismissed

If a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation, orders entered in the temporary separation will continue in the consolidated case. Both parties must attend the divorce orientation course within 60 days of the filing of the petition, for petitioner, and within 45 days of being served, for respondent. Service must be made upon respondent, together with a 20-day summons, in accordance with the rules of civil procedure.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
The fee for filing the petition for temporary separation orders is $35. If either party files a petition for divorce within one year from the date of filing the petition for temporary separation, the separation filing fee will be credited towards the filing fee for the divorce. [ UT Code § 30-3-4.5]
Residency Requirements

At least one of you must have been a resident of the county where the divorce was filed. for a minimum of three months immediately before filing the divorce petition. If there are children, generally the children must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months. To simplify divorce and custody proceedings, parents should wait until the children have lived within the state for six months before filing for divorce.

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Mediation

M ediation is a process where a professional, Mediate your divorcetrained in divorce law and negotiation, meets with the parties to resolve differences that prevent them from moving forward.

In Utah, the third party person (the Mediator) encourages discussion between the parties and guides the parties toward possible options for resolution. The Mediator works with (and sometimes between them going from one room to the other) until they can reach a resolution or until the Mediator finds that they cannot agree. If an agreement is reached, a non-binding memorandum of understanding is drawn up, agreed to and stipulated to the court. Utah law requires that:

  • There is established a mandatory domestic mediation program to help reduce the time and tensions associated with obtaining a divorce
  • If, after the filing of an answer to a complaint of divorce, there are any remaining contested issues, the parties will participate in good faith in at least one session of mediation. This requirement does not preclude the entry of pretrial orders before mediation takes place
  • The parties will use a mediator qualified to mediate domestic disputes under criteria established by the Judicial Council
  • Unless otherwise ordered by the court or the parties agree upon a different payment arrangement, the cost of mediation will be divided equally between the parties.
  • The director of dispute resolution programs for the courts, the court, or the mediator may excuse either party from the requirement to mediate for good cause.

Mediation will be conducted in accordance with the Utah Rules of Court-Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution. [UT Code § 30-3-39]

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

Expedited Parent-time Enforcement Program – if a parent files a motion in the district court alleging that court-ordered parenting-time rights are being violated, the court will refer the matter to a mediator. The mediator will:

  • meet with the parents to address parent-time issues within 15 days of the motion being filed, assess the situation, and facilitate an agreement on parent-time between the parents
  • determine whether a referral to a service provider is warranted

While a case is in mediation, a mediator may refer the parents to a service provider designated by the Department of Human Services for services to facilitate parent-time if:

  • the services may be of significant benefit to the parents; or
  • a mediated agreement between the parents is unlikely; and the services may facilitate an agreement.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

At any time during mediation, a mediator will terminate mediation and Mediationtransfer the case to the administrator of the program for referral to the judge or court commissioner to whom the case was assigned if:

  • a written agreement between the parents is reached, or
  • the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation and
  • the parents have received services to facilitate parent-time
  • both parents object to receiving services to facilitate parent-time, or
  • the parents are unlikely to benefit from receiving services to facilitate parent-time

Upon receiving a case from the administrator of the program, a judge or court commissioner may:

  • review the agreement of the parents and, if acceptable, sign it as an order;
  • order the parents to receive services to facilitate parent-time;
  • proceed with the case; or
  • take other appropriate action. [UT Code § 30-3-38]

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-4, 30-3-16, 30-3-18]

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Modification Of Court Orders

I n the normal process of Divorce Formsdivorce (or separation), the court will issue orders that must be followed. At the conclusion of the divorce, the court will make permanent those orders that require continuity. Typically the orders involve:

  • Child Support
  • Child Custody
  • Parenting Time (visitation)
  • Alimony (spousal support)

Modification or termination of a court order – On the petition of one or both of the parents, or the joint legal or physical custodians if they are not the parents, the court may, after a hearing, modify or terminate an order that established joint legal or physical custody if:

  • the verified petition or accompanying affidavit initially alleges that admissible evidence will show that the circumstances of the child or one or both parents or joint legal or physical custodians have materially and substantially changed since the entry of the order to be modified
  • a modification of the terms and conditions of the order would be an improvement for and in the best interest of the child; and
  • both parents have complied in good faith with the dispute resolution procedure); or
  • if no dispute resolution procedure is contained in the order that established joint legal or physical custody, the court orders the parents to participate in a dispute resolution procedure unless the parents certify that, in good faith, they have utilized a dispute resolution procedure to resolve their dispute.
  • In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by either modifying or terminating the joint legal or physical custody order, the court will consider any other factors
  • A court order modifying or terminating an existing joint legal or physical custody order will contain written findings that:
  • a material and substantial change of circumstance has occurred; and
  • a modification of the terms and conditions of the order would be an improvement for and in the best interest of the child
  • The court will give substantial weight to the existing joint legal or physical custody order when the child is thriving, happy, and well-adjusted
  • The court will, in every case regarding a petition for termination of a joint legal or physical custody order, consider reasonable alternatives to preserve the existing order. The court may modify the terms and conditions of the existing order and may order the parents to file a parenting plan in accordance with this chapter.
  • A parent requesting a modification from sole custody to joint legal custody or joint physical custody or both, or any other type of shared parenting arrangement, must file and serve a proposed parenting plan with the petition to modify

If the court finds that an action under this section is filed or answered frivolously and in a manner designed to harass the other party, the court will assess attorney fees as costs against the offending party. [UT Code § 30-3-10.4]

It is important to note that the court order(s) reflect a permanent condition until or unless there is a dispute, a request by one of the parties to adjust an order, or the natural expiration of the order. Requests to modify require the appropriate form to be filed with the court.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
Child Support – set by a mathematical formula used throughout the State by its courts and judges. The amount of support can be adjusted higher (or lower) depending upon the changing circumstances of the child or either parent. Requests to adjust the amount of support generally go back to the court that issued the original order, and require a substantial change in circumstances to be accepted.

Child Custody – As you might imagine, this is not the court’s first rodeo, so they see most everything coming from far away. Should a parent wish to modify the court order, that parent would need to file the petition with the court that issued the order. This court has jurisdiction. Requests to change the original custody order must be made to the court that has jurisdiction, and must cite new facts that were unavailable to that parent in the original action, or that there has been substantial changes in circumstance.

In extreme circumstances, where you look to change custody because the other parent has become unfit, you would use the form:
Motion for Modification or Amendment of Prior Custody Order in Divorce Decree to Obtain Sole Custody of Minor Child Due to Unfitness of Custodial Parent

Parenting Time (Visitation) – A change in your child’s schedule can be agreed to by the parents without the approval of the court. You should consider having the court approve any changes, so that they become an official part of the custody order, because things change, and verbal agreements are just that – verbal, and difficult to enforce once the winds shift again (and they will). In cases where there is no agreement to alter visitation, the noncustodial parent must convince the court that an increase in visitation is in the best interests of the child.

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Alimony – this too requires a court order to change the terms. Adjusting the amount and frequency requires a material change in circumstances. Most modifications for alimony come from the payor of spousal support, and generally cite a drop of income or increased costs as a result of a life-altering event (decrease in pay, loss of job, medical expenses, etc.). Less frequently, a petition to increase alimony is requested when the receiving party learns of an increase in income of the paying party. These requests usually are based on the dependent ex-spouse being entitled to a portion of the increase due to his or her efforts during the marriage.

Expedited Parent-time Enforcement Program If a parent files a motion in the district court alleging that court-ordered parenting-time rights are being violated, the court will refer the matter to a mediator. The mediator will:

  • meet with the parents to address parent-time issues within 15 days of the motion being filed, assess the situation, and facilitate an agreement on parent-time between the parents;
  • determine whether a referral to a service provider is warranted.

While a case is in mediation, a mediator may refer the parents to a service provider designated by the Department of Human Services for services to facilitate parent-time if:

  • the services may be of significant benefit to the parents; or
  • a mediated agreement between the parents is unlikely; and the services may facilitate an agreement.

At any time during mediation, a mediator will terminate mediation and transfer the case to the administrator of the program for referral to the judge or court commissioner to whom the case was assigned if:

  • a written agreement between the parents is reached; or
  • the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation and
  • the parents have received services to facilitate parent-time
  • both parents object to receiving services to facilitate parent-time; or
  • the parents are unlikely to benefit from receiving services to facilitate parent-time

Upon receiving a case from the administrator of the program, a judge or court commissioner may:

  • review the agreement of the parents and, if acceptable, sign it as an order
  • order the parents to receive services to facilitate parent-time
  • proceed with the case; or
  • take other appropriate action. [UT Code § 30-3-38]

For change of custody and relocation, see our section on Relocation in the tab above

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Parenting Plans

P arenting plans – in proceedings for Child custody strategiesdivorce, separation, annulment or paternity, any party requesting joint custody, joint legal or physical custody, or any other type of shared parenting arrangement, must file and serve a proposed parenting plan at the time of the filing of their original petition or at the time of filing their answer or counterclaim.

In proceedings for a modification of custody provisions or modification of a parenting plan, a proposed parenting plan will be filed and served with the petition to modify, or the answer or counterclaim to the petition to modify. A party who files a proposed parenting plan in compliance with this section may move the court for an order of default to adopt the plan if the other party fails to file a proposed parenting plan as required by this section. Either party may file and serve an amended proposed parenting plan according to the rules for amending pleadings.

The parent submitting a proposed parenting plan will attach a verified statement that the plan is proposed by that parent in good faith. Both parents may submit a parenting plan which has been agreed upon. A verified statement, signed by both parents, will be attached. If the parents file inconsistent parenting plans, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child, who may, if necessary, file a separate parenting plan reflecting the best interests of the child.

Mandatory orientation course – There is established a mandatory divorce orientation course for all parties with minor children who file a petition for temporary separation or for a divorce. A couple with no minor children are not required, but may choose to attend the course. The purpose of the course will be to educate parties about the divorce process and reasonable alternatives.

A petitioner must attend a divorce orientation course no more than 60 days after filing a petition for divorce. The respondent must attend the divorce orientation course no more than 30 days after being served with a petition for divorce. The clerk of the court will provide notice to a petitioner of the requirement for the course, and information regarding the course shall be included with the petition or motion, when served on the respondent. The divorce orientation course will be neutral, unbiased, at least one hour in duration, and include:

  • options available as alternatives to divorce
  • resources available from courts and administrative agencies for resolving custody and support issues without filing for divorce
  • resources available to improve or strengthen the marriage
  • a discussion of the positive and negative consequences of divorce
  • a discussion of the process of divorce
  • options available for proceeding with a divorce, including:
  • mediation
  • collaborative law and
  • litigation and
  • a discussion of post-divorce resources

[UT Code § 30-3-10.8, 10-9, 10.10, 11.4]

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Dividing Marital Property

R estraining disposal of property – Divide marital assetsAt the time of filing the complaint, or at any time subsequent thereto, the plaintiff may procure from the court, and file with the county recorder of any county in the state in which the defendant may own real estate, an order enjoining and restraining the defendant from disposing of or encumbering the same or any portion thereof, describing such real estate with reasonable certainty, and from the time of filing such order the property described therein will be charged with a lien in favor of the plaintiff to the extent of any judgment which may be rendered in the action.  [UT Code § 30-4-4]


Q. Can me and my spouse decide on the details of a divorce settlement?

A. Yes, by all means. Either create and agree to a divorce settlement with your spouse, or the court will do so for you. If the court has to create the divorce settlement, it will do so based on being an equitable distribution state meaning that the court will endeavor to divide the marital property equitably but not necessarily equally.

Q. My husband wants to offer me a divorce settlement from his retirement accounts (401(k), IRAs, etc) using a QDRO, but I suspect the offer will be very low. Is there somewhere I can go to get a fair valuation and division?
A. You have two choices. You can have your divorce attorney prepare a proposal (they usually hire an outside, third-party for an evaluation) at significant cost, or you can get your soon-to-be-ex to agree to an accurate but affordable method using The QDRO Desk software.

Q. What does the court look at if it ends up creating the settlement agreement?
A. Factors considered can be:

  • The financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
  • The recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income
  • The ability of the payer spouse to provide support
  • The length of the marriage
  • Whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
  • Whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payer spouse
  • Whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payer spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the payer spouse or allowing the payer spouse to attend school during the marriage, and
  • The court may consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-5, 30-3-12]

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Relocation Of A Child’s Home

R elocating of a parent with a child – a parent who Child relocationintends to relocate and has custody or visitation rights with a minor child must notify the other parent at least 60 days prior to the intended move. Relocation is defined as moving 150 miles or more from the residence of the other parent. The notice must provide:

  • Proposed parenting time provisions or a schedule approved by both parties
  • A statement that neither parent will interfere with the other’s parental rights pursuant to court ordered parent-time arrangements, or the schedule approved by both parties.
There is a presumption in favor of relocation in this state; there must be compelling evidence that the child’s continued residence with the custodial parent is not in the best interest of the child. 60 day notice is required before relocation. Geographic limitation: either out of state or 150 miles from child’s residence.Hudema v. Carpenter, 1999 UT App. 290, 989 P.2d 491 (1999)
The court will schedule a hearing at the request of either party. In determining if the relocation of a custodial parent is in the best interest of the child, consider any other factors that the court considers relevant to the determination. If the court determines that relocation is not in the best interest of the child, and the custodial parent relocates, the court may order a change of custody. If the court finds that the relocation is in the best interest of the child, the court will determine the parent-time schedule and allocate the transportation costs that will be incurred for the child to visit the noncustodial parent. In making its determination, court will consider:

  • the reason for the parent’s relocation
  • the additional costs or difficulty to both parents in exercising parent-time
  • the economic resources of both parents, and
  • other factors the court considers necessary and relevant

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, upon the relocation of one of the parties, a minimum parenting-time schedule will be imposed.  [Utah Code § 30-3-37]

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Alimony

T emporary alimony – in any action Divorce Formsto establish an order of custody, parent-time, child support, alimony, or division of property in a domestic case, the court may order a party to pay the costs, attorney fees, and witness fees, including expert witness fees, of the other party to enable the other party to prosecute or defend the action. The order may include provision for costs of the action. The court may order a party to provide money, during the pendency of the action, for the separate support and maintenance of the other party and of any children in the custody of the other party. [UT Code § 30-3-3]

Q. Is there such a thing as temporary alimony or spousal support? He left me high and dry with no money in our bank accounts.
A. Yes, you or your attorney must petition the court for temporary and immediate spousal support. The court can order a party to provide money, during the pendency of the action, for the separate support and maintenance of the other party and of any children in the custody of the other party.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

Q. My spouse has all our money, so I am unable to hire my own attorney. What can I do? What will the court look at to determine if I get alimony?
A. The court may order a party to provide money during the pendency of the action for the separate support and maintenance of the other party and of any children in the custody of the other party. The court may consider, but not be limited to, the following factors in determining alimony:

  • the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
  • the recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income
  • the ability of the payer spouse to provide support
  • the length of the marriage
  • whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
  • whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payer spouse, and
  • whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payer spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the payer spouse or allowing the payer spouse to attend school during the marriage

Q. Does fault (marital misconduct like an affair) weigh in when a court decides on alimony?
A. Yes, the court may consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony. Fault means any of the following wrongful conduct during the marriage that substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage relationship:

  • engaging in sexual relations with a person other than the party’s spouse
  • knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the other party or minor children
  • knowingly and intentionally causing the other party or minor children to reasonably fear life-threatening harm; or
  • substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children

As a general rule, the court should look to the standard of living, existing at the time of separation, in determining alimony in accordance with Subsection (8)(a). However, the court will consider all relevant facts and equitable principles and may, in its discretion, base alimony on the standard of living that existed at the time of trial.

You will get ONE shot at winning custody – Learn How Here

Marriage of short duration

In marriages of short duration, when no children have been alimonyconceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider the standard of living that existed at the time of the marriage. The court may, under appropriate circumstances, attempt to equalize the parties’ respective standards of living. When a marriage of long duration dissolves on the threshold of a major change in the income of one of the spouses due to the collective efforts of both, that change will be considered in dividing the marital property and in determining the amount of alimony.

Modification of alimony

If one spouse’s earning capacity has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of both spouses during the marriage, the court may make a compensating adjustment in dividing the marital property and awarding alimony. In determining alimony when a marriage of short duration dissolves, and no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider restoring each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage.

The court has continuing jurisdiction to make substantive changes and new orders regarding alimony based on a substantial material change in circumstances not foreseeable at the time of the divorce.The court may not modify alimony or issue a new order for alimony to address needs of the recipient that did not exist at the time the decree was entered, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances that justify that action. The court may consider the subsequent spouse’s financial ability to share living expenses. The court may consider the income of a subsequent spouse if the court finds that the payor’s improper conduct justifies that consideration.Alimony no longer than the number of years married.

Alimony maximum for the number of years married

Alimony may not be ordered for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless, at any time prior to termination of alimony, the court finds extenuating circumstances that justify the payment of alimony for a longer period of time. Unless a decree of divorce specifically provides otherwise, any order of the court that a party pay alimony to a former spouse automatically terminates upon the remarriage or death of that former spouse. However, if the remarriage is annulled and found to be void ab initio, payment of alimony shall resume if the party paying alimony is made a party to the action of annulment and the payor party’s rights are determined.

Any order of the court that a party pay alimony to a former spouse terminates upon establishment by the party paying alimony that the former spouse is co-habitating with another person.

Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-3, 30-3-5]

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Visitation (Parenting Time)

Q. Can we determine what the Visitation Schedule Divorce Formsshould be?
A. Yes, the parties can fashion a co-parenting agreement and as long as it survives courts scrutiny and Utah law, the court will likely approve.

Q. What would a typical Utah Visitation Schedule look like?
A. A visitation schedule will likely include: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father’s Day with Father, Mother’s Day with Mother, alternate years on the children’s birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.

Save yourself the hassle by downloading divorce forms here

Q. Any suggestions about what else might be included in a Visitation Agreement?
A. You may wish to get very detailed in the visitation schedule about what is acceptable and what is not. Consider the following: How is the decreed custody defined? What are the rights and responsibilities? Who has legal custody? Which holiday does the child spend with you? What time and where may the other parent pick the child up? What time should the child be returned home? What is the procedure to follow if either of you are running late and won’t be there on time? How much notice should you be given if they are planning a vacation? How far away may the other spouse move? What about future partners? Should those partners stay overnight in front of the children? See our Parenting Plans page.

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-5]

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Child Support

Q. How is child support determined?
A. You and your spouse can make your own agreement, and it Child custody strategiesmust be submitted to the court for approval. Your agreement must follow state guidelines unless you two agree to terms outside the state guidelines, as long as those terms are approved by the court and are in the best interests of your child. The courts calculate a parent’s child support obligation using three components: Base child support, medical care and child-care expenses.

Q. My spouse and I want to do a divorce ourselves because we have no kids nor any assets to fight over. What’s the best way to do that?
A. You are describing someone acting pro se, latin for by one’s self. By acting as your own lawyer, you’ll be completing and filing all forms, make all motions, and be responsible for the right protocol in front of the court. Uncomplicated divorces can be handled pro se (divorces that have no children and few assets), but if your divorce is at all complicated, you’re best suited to hire experienced legal assistance.

Q. How long until I can get a final divorce and what does the process entail?
A. The amount of time will depend on how complex your divorce is, what the court docket looks like (how full the calendar is) and and how many unresolved issues you and your spouse have. The time to completion can range from just a few months to years). In each divorce decree, the court will include:

  • an order assigning responsibility for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical and dental expenses of the dependent children
  • if coverage is or becomes available at a reasonable cost, an order requiring the purchase and maintenance of appropriate health, hospital, and dental care insurance for the dependent children
  • an order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage
  • an order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obligees, regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate, current addresses
  • provisions for the enforcement of these orders and
  • provisions for income withholding.
Want to read what we consider to be the Best Guide On Custody Matters?
The guide is FREE, written for Dads, but Moms should read this too. Before you go into battle, be sure you have the right defensive and offensive tools. Do not get surprised or blindsided. Study the Guide, own an online Parenting Plan and you should be covered for anything they throw at you
A decree of divorce can be granted immediately if the parties have reached an agreement and, if they have minor children, if they have both attended the Divorce Education and Divorce Orientation classes. If parties do not have minor children, Utah family law requires a 90-day waiting period, which may be waived for good cause.

Q. How long is child support paid, or asked another way, what age does the child need to be before child support is discontinued?
A. Utah divorce laws specify that the child no longer receives support payments at age 18 or when he or she finished High School, whichever is later.

Q. What are my choices as far as receiving child support each month? Can I get direct deposit?
A. Your spouse’s pay will get garnished, and you can opt for a check mailed to you, direct deposit to your bank, or loaded onto a debit card. When a decree of divorce is rendered, the court may include in it equitable orders relating to the children, property, debts or obligations, and parties. The court shall include the following in every decree of divorce:

  • an order assigning responsibility for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical and dental expenses of the dependent children including responsibility for health insurance out-of-pocket expenses such as co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles
  • if coverage is or becomes available at a reasonable cost, an order requiring the purchase and maintenance of appropriate health, hospital, and dental care insurance for the dependent children; and
  • a designation of which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is primary and which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is secondary in accordance with the provisions of Section 30-3-5.4 which will take effect if at any time a dependent child is covered by both parents’ health, hospital, or dental insurance plans
  • an order specifying which party is responsible for the payment of joint debts, obligations, or liabilities of the parties contracted or incurred during marriage
  • an order requiring the parties to notify respective creditors or obligees, regarding the court’s division of debts, obligations, or liabilities and regarding the parties’ separate, current addresses; and
  • provisions for income withholding in accordance with Title 62A, Chapter 11, Recovery Services; and

If either party owns a life insurance policy or an annuity contract, an acknowledgment by the court that the owner:

  • has reviewed and updated, where appropriate, the list of beneficiaries
  • has affirmed that those listed as beneficiaries are in fact the intended beneficiaries after the divorce becomes final; and
  • understands that if no changes are made to the policy or contract, the beneficiaries currently listed will receive any funds paid by the insurance company under the terms of the policy or contract

[Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-5, 78-45-7]


Will the Ex manipulate you with the kids’ schedule?

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