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Utah Divorce Attorney

Navigating the complexities of divorce can be emotionally taxing and legally challenging. At such times, you need a trusted partner to guide you through the legal labyrinth. Welcome to Ascent Law, your dependable partner in the quest for legal clarity and rightful justice. We are a dedicated team of experienced divorce attorneys, well-versed in Utah’s divorce laws and procedures, committed to providing robust and personalized legal services. Our approach is tailored to your unique circumstances, providing you with sound legal counsel, compassionate guidance, and aggressive representation when required.

What is Divorce Law?

Divorce law is an area of the legal system that handles issues relating to the dissolution of marriage. It involves a wide range of matters, such as the division of marital assets and debts, determination of alimony or spousal support, and decisions about child custody, visitation, and child support. Divorce law also covers procedures for filing for divorce, legal separations, annulments, and the requirements for obtaining a divorce. The specific rules and regulations vary from state to state, and that’s where we come in. At Ascent Law, we specialize in understanding and applying Utah’s specific divorce laws to safeguard our clients’ rights and interests.

Our Divorce Law Services

At Ascent Law, we provide a comprehensive suite of divorce law services designed to support you through the complexities and emotional challenges of ending a marriage. Our primary objective is to protect your rights and work towards a resolution that is fair and equitable.

Uncontested Divorces

In the realm of Uncontested Divorces, both parties involved agree on all terms, including asset division, alimony, child custody, and support. Our role is to provide expert legal guidance throughout this process, ensuring the divorce agreement is thorough, fair, and adheres to all legal stipulations.

Contested Divorces

In cases of Contested Divorces, where parties fail to reach consensus on one or more critical issues, our seasoned attorneys offer robust representation. Skilled in negotiation, we are also prepared to uphold your interests in court if necessary.

High Net Worth Divorces

For High Net Worth Divorces, which encompass substantial assets, businesses, real estate, investments, and other complex financial factors, our services extend beyond conventional legal counsel. With an in-depth understanding of financial matters, we aim for an equitable division of assets, safeguarding your financial future.

Collaborative Divorces

Collaborative Divorces are another area of our expertise. In these situations, all parties and their attorneys commit to resolving disputes outside of court. We facilitate productive negotiations aiming for a mutually beneficial agreement.


Our mediation services involve acting as neutral intermediaries, guiding both parties towards agreement on contentious issues. This approach often results in time-saving, stress-reducing, and privacy-preserving alternatives to traditional court proceedings.

Property Division

In matters of Property Division, an equitable division of marital assets can pose a substantial challenge, especially when significant properties, businesses, or shared debts are involved. We exhaustively ensure that our clients receive a fair division of assets in accordance with Utah law.

Alimony and Spousal Support

With Alimony and Spousal Support cases, we aid clients in understanding the factors influencing alimony determination. We also support in negotiating fair settlements, and when required, represent our clients in court.

Child Custody and Support

The welfare of the child is paramount in cases involving Child Custody and Support. We assist in devising parenting plans, determining custody arrangements, and establishing equitable child support payments, always prioritizing the best interests of the child.

Post-Divorce Modifications

Finally, we also handle Post-Divorce Modifications. Life circumstances often change after a divorce, and modifications to custody, visitation, or support may become necessary. We guide and represent clients through this process, ensuring any alterations reflect their current circumstances and maintain the welfare of the children involved.

Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

Navigating the intricacies of divorce can be challenging, even overwhelming, and hiring a skilled divorce lawyer can make a significant difference. Here are some key advantages of enlisting professional legal representation and counsel for your divorce case:

Knowledge and Expertise

Divorce law is complex, filled with subtleties and intricacies that can significantly impact the outcome of a case. A seasoned divorce lawyer possesses comprehensive knowledge and expertise in this area of law. They understand the legal processes, paperwork, and courtroom procedures and can provide expert guidance on the most effective legal strategies to adopt in your specific case.

Objective Advice

The emotional turmoil associated with divorce can cloud judgment and make it difficult to make rational decisions. A divorce lawyer serves as an objective advisor, offering impartial advice that prioritizes your best interests. They help you see past immediate emotions to make decisions that will benefit you and your family in the long run.

Negotiation and Settlement Skills

The negotiation and settlement phase of a divorce can be tough, especially when emotions run high and communication breaks down. Divorce lawyers possess strong negotiation skills and extensive experience in facilitating fair settlements. They can advocate for your rights and interests, helping you reach an agreement that is equitable and just.

Courtroom Advocacy

In situations where divorce proceedings escalate to court, having a lawyer by your side becomes essential. A divorce lawyer is a seasoned courtroom advocate who can present your case effectively and persuasively, ensuring your voice is heard and your rights are upheld. Whether arguing for your fair share of marital assets, advocating for your desired child custody arrangement, or disputing an unfair alimony proposal, a lawyer can fight tirelessly for your interests in court.

In essence, hiring a divorce lawyer can provide critical support, protect your rights, and help achieve a fair and reasonable resolution to your divorce.

Our Approach to Divorce Cases

At Ascent Law, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to divorce cases, which is tailored to the individual needs of each client. Our approach is guided by four fundamental pillars:

Personalized Attention

Every divorce case is unique, with its own set of circumstances, challenges, and nuances. As such, we believe in providing personalized attention to each client. We take the time to understand your specific situation, concerns, and goals. This in-depth understanding enables us to craft a strategy that is tailored to your needs and designed to secure the best possible outcome for you.

Aggressive Representation

We understand that divorce can be a challenging, emotionally charged process. That’s why we are committed to providing aggressive representation to safeguard your rights and interests. Whether negotiating a settlement or advocating for you in court, we fight tenaciously to ensure you receive what you are entitled to.

Compassionate Guidance

We also recognize the emotional toll divorce can take. Our team is not just legal professionals; we are compassionate advisors dedicated to supporting you through this difficult time. We aim to provide not only legal counsel, but also emotional support and guidance, helping you make informed decisions that align with your best interests and those of your family.

Effective Communication

Transparent and consistent communication is a cornerstone of our approach. We make sure you are informed and involved every step of the way, explaining complex legal jargon in plain language and providing regular updates on the progress of your case. We are always available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide the information you need to feel confident and reassured.

Our goal at Ascent Law is to ease the burden of the divorce process by providing expert, compassionate, and dedicated legal representation. We strive to make the journey as smooth and stress-free as possible for our clients, ultimately helping them transition into the next chapter of their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

We understand that you may have numerous questions about the divorce process. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How long does a divorce take?

The length of the divorce process varies and largely depends on the complexity of the case and the degree of cooperation between the parties. An uncontested divorce may take a few months, while a contested divorce could take a year or longer.

What are the grounds for divorce?

Utah is a no-fault divorce state, which means a spouse does not need to prove wrongdoing by the other spouse to get a divorce. The most common ground for divorce in Utah is irreconcilable differences.

How is property divided in a divorce?

Utah law stipulates that marital property should be divided equitably (fairly) in a divorce, but this doesn’t necessarily mean equally. Factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial condition of the parties, and the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of property are considered.

What factors are considered in child custody cases?

Child custody decisions in Utah are based on the best interest of the child. Factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s preference (if they’re of a suitable age and maturity), each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, and the stability of each parent’s home environment are considered.

Contact Us

At Ascent Law, we are committed to providing exceptional legal services and personalized attention to our clients. We understand that navigating a divorce can be challenging, but we are here to provide the guidance and representation you need.

To learn more about how we can assist you or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at (801) 676-5506.  We encourage potential clients to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you might have about the divorce process. We look forward to helping you navigate through this complex process and advocating for your best interests.

Time to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?

It’s impossible to get a record of all wins for lawyers in divorce cases is because no centralized directory keeps everything at a single place. Lawyers can keep records regarding appellate cases, but given that the other lawsuits might be resolved or settled, records may mean nothing at all. That means you should be willing to face the family lawyer and ask them questions and decide on your own if you want to hire him or her.

For the law firm of Ascent Law, we’ve had wins and losses. A lot depends on the facts of each case. If you are acting appropriately in your case, call us to discuss the merits of your case. We regularly handle cases involving:

Child Custody

Child Support



Legal Separation

Divorce Modifications

Uncontested Divorces

Contested Divorce Cases

and much more.

Divorce In Utah

Divorce in Utah is sometimes called a “Dissolution of Marriage” – whichever you say, it’s the same thing – and is conducted as a civil action, with one party, the Petitioner, filing a Petition for Divorce, and the other party being named as a Respondent. These are filed in the District Court in the County where you have resided for at least 3 months prior to filing your divorce case.

Residency Requirement

To file for divorce in Utah, either spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state and must have lived in the county of filing for the three months immediately preceding commencement of the action.

Filing Your Divorce Petition in Utah

The Petition may be filed in the district court of the county where either spouse resides. If the Petitioner is a member of the armed forces of the U.S. who are not legal residents of this state, he/she may file for divorce if he has been stationed in the state for the three months immediately preceding the commencement of the action. No hearing for decree of divorce may generally be held until 90 days have elapsed from the filing of the complaint, provided the court may make interim orders that are just and equitable. The 90-day period shall not apply, however, in any case where both parties have completed the mandatory education course for divorcing parents.

Having Your Spouse’s Name Changed In Divorce

Although there are no statutory provisions for the restoration of a spouse’s name when divorcing, either spouse may request that his/her former name be restored on the Petition or the judge will honor the request.

Legal Grounds for Divorce In Utah

The court may decree dissolution of marriage for any of the following grounds:
 Impotency of the Respondent at the time of the marriage;
 Adultery committed by the Respondent after entering into the marriage;
 Willful desertion of the Petitioner by the Respondent for more than one year;
 Willful neglect of the Respondent to provide for the Petitioner the common necessities of life;
 Habitual drunkenness of the Respondent;
 Conviction of the Respondent for a felony;
 Cruel treatment of the Petitioner by the Respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the Petitioner;
 Irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
 Incurable insanity; or
 The spouses have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.

To grant a divorce on the ground of insanity, the Respondent must have been adjudged insane by the appropriate authorities of Utah or another state prior to the commencement of the action and the court must find by the testimony of competent witnesses that the Respondent’s insanity is incurable.

What Is An Annulment?

The following are prohibited and void marriages and they may be annulled for these causes:
• Marriages between parents and children;
• Marriages between ancestors and descendants of every degree;
• Marriages between brothers and sisters (half or whole);
• Marriages between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews;
• Marriages between first cousins (unless both parties are 65 years of age or older, or if both parties are 55 years of age or older, upon a finding by the court that either party is unable to reproduce);
• Marriages between any persons related to each other within and not including fifth degree of consanguinity;
• When there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced;
• Either party is at least 16, but under 18 years of age and has not obtained parental consent;
• Either party is under 16 years of age at the time the parties attempt to enter into the marriage, unless the party is 15 years of age and has obtained judicial consent;
• Marriage between persons of the same sex; and
• Re-marriage to a different spouse before the divorce decree becomes absolute, or in the case of an appeal, before the affirmance of the decree.
When there is doubt regarding the validity of a marriage, either party may demand its avoidance or affirmance in a court where either party is domiciled. However, when one of the parties was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage, the other party of proper age may not have cause against the party under age. The court shall either declare the marriage valid or annulled. A marriage may also be annulled for any of the annulment grounds existing at common law.

How Is Property Divided In A Divorce?

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the distribution of property. Utah is an equitable distribution state. Therefore, marital property shall be distributed fairly and equitably.
The court shall include the following in every decree of divorce:
• 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 obliges, 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.
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 shall be considered in dividing the marital property. 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.

How Does Alimony Work In Divorce?

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the payment of alimony. When determining alimony, the court shall consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
• The financial condition and needs of the requesting spouse;
• The requesting spouse’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
• The ability of the paying spouse to provide support;
• The length of the marriage;
• Whether the requesting spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
• Whether the requesting spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse; and
• Whether the requesting spouse directly contributed to any increase in the paying spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the paying spouse or allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage.
The court may consider the fault of the parties when making its determination regarding alimony. 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 shall be considered in determining the amount 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 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. 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 otherwise stated in the divorce decree, any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse automatically ends upon the remarriage or death of that former spouse, unless the remarriage is annulled and found to be void. In that case, alimony shall resume, provided that the paying spouse was made a party to the action of annulment and his/her rights have been determined. Any order for payment of alimony to a former spouse terminates upon establishment by the paying party that the former spouse is cohabitating with another person.

How Does Child Custody and Child Support Work in Divorce?

In all dissolution and separate maintenance actions, the court and judge have jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of minor children.

Custody: The court shall consider joint custody in every case, but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. If the court finds that one parent does not desire custody of the child, it shall take that evidence into consideration in determining whether to award custody to the other parent. In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by ordering joint legal or physical custody, the court shall consider the following factors:

• Whether the physical, psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal or physical custody;
• The ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection and contact between he child and the other parent;
• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
• The geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;
• The preference of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to joint legal or physical custody;
• The maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;
• The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;
• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping; and any other factors the court finds relevant.
When determining any form of custody, in addition to the aforementioned criteria, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, the following factors, and any others the court finds relevant:
• The past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;
• Which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent; and
• The extent of bonding between the parent and child, meaning the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child.
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 16 years of age or older shall be given added weight, but is not the single controlling factor.

Mandatory Parenting Courses for Parents of Minor Children

If the Petitioner and the Respondent have a child or children, a decree of divorce generally may not be granted until both parties have attended the mandatory educational course for divorcing parents. This course is designed to educate and sensitize divorcing parties to their children’s needs both during and after the divorce process.
The course shall instruct both parties about the following:
• The impacts of divorce on the child(ren);
• The impacts of divorce on the family relationship;
• The parents’ financial responsibilities for the child(ren); and
• That domestic violence has a harmful effect on children and family relationships.
This requirement may be waived if the court determines course attendance and completion are not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties. There is also a mandatory divorce orientation course for all parties with minor children who file a Petition for Temporary Separation or for a Divorce. The purpose of the course is to educate parties about the divorce process and reasonable alternatives. A Petitioner shall attend a divorce orientation course no more than 60 days after filing a Petition for Divorce. A Respondent shall attend no more than 30 days after being served with the Petition. The divorce orientation course shall be neutral, unbiased, at least one hour in duration and include the following:
• 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.
Support: 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 child and a designation of which health, hospital or dental insurance plan is primary and which health, hospital, or dental insurance plan is secondary;
• Provisions for the enforcement of these orders; and
• Provisions for income withholding.
In an order determining child support, the court may include an order assigning financial responsibility for all or a portion of child care expenses incurred on behalf of the dependent children, needed because of the employment or training of the custodial parent. If the court determines that the circumstances are appropriate and that the dependent children would be adequately cared for, it may include an order allowing the non-custodial parent to provide child care for the dependent children, needed because of the employment or training of the custodial parent.

Utah Divorce attorney

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506