Utah Code 30-3-18: Waiting Period For Hearing after Filing for Divorce — Exemption — Use Of Counseling and Education Services Not To Be Construed As Condonation or Promotion
1. Unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances exist and otherwise orders, no hearing for decree of divorce may be held by the court until 30 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, but the court may make interim orders as it considers just and equitable.
2. The use of counseling, mediation, and education services provided under this chapter may not be construed as condoning the acts that may constitute grounds for divorce on the part of either spouse nor of promoting divorce.
The Divorce Process
A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse (the petitioner) and served on the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. It does not matter where the marriage occurred. The petition includes important information regarding the marriage. It names the husband, wife and any children and states if there is any separate property or community property, child custody, and child or spousal support.
Serving the Divorce Petition
The petition (or the divorce papers) must be served on the other spouse. This phase of the process is called “service of process.” If both spouses agree to the divorce, the other spouse only needs to sign an acknowledgement of the receipt of service. However, if the other spouse refuses to sign or is difficult to locate, you can hire a professional process server to personally deliver the papers. Completing service of process starts the clock running on your state’s waiting period. It also sets automatic restraining orders on the spouses and helps establish the date of separation. At this point, the spouses are not permitted to take any children out of state, sell any property, borrow against property, or borrow or sell insurance held for the other spouse.
Divorce Petition Response
The other spouse is known as the “respondent.” Although it’s not required, the respondent can file a response to the petition saying he or she agrees. Filing a response shows both parties agree to the divorce. This makes it more likely the case will proceed without a court hearing, which could delay the process and cost more. Generally, if a response is not filed within 30 days, the petitioner can request that a default be entered by the court. The responding spouse can also use the response to disagree with information presented in the petition.
Final Steps of a Divorce
Both spouses are required to disclose information regarding their assets, liabilities, income and expenses. If the divorce is uncontested and the spouses can agree on the terms of the divorce, there is only a bit more paperwork to file. Once the court enters the judgment, the divorce is final. However, the marriage is not formally dissolved and the spouses cannot remarry until the end of the state’s waiting period. If there are disputes that cannot be resolved, court hearings and maybe even a trial will be required.
What Issues Does A Dissolution Or Divorce Case Deal With?
Both cases end the marriage and divide marital property and debt (including retirement accounts). When the couple has children, both cases also decide a parenting plan which is the custody and visitation arrangement and issue a child support order.
What Is The Difference Between A Dissolution Or Divorce Case?
The difference is whether the couple agrees or disagrees about the issues. If they agree on all issues, they can file a dissolution case together. If they don’t agree, one spouse can file a divorce case.
What Forms Do I Need To File For Divorce?
To start a case in court, you must file a document called either a complaint or a petition, and required attachments. The kind of complaint or petition you file will depend on your situation.
What If We Filed For Dissolution But Want To Change To A Divorce?
If you initially filed for a dissolution but want to change it to a divorce case because you no longer agree on everything, you can file:
• Motion & Affidavit to Convert Dissolution to Divorce
• Order Granting Motion,
• If the judge grants the order and converts the case to a divorce, the case will move ahead as a divorce case.
Can My Spouse Stop Me From Getting A Divorce?
If you file for divorce and include all the required, properly completed paperwork, your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce, even if he or she does not want one.
Is There A Residency Requirement To File?
Either you or your spouse may file to end your marriage in Utah as long as the filing spouse is a resident of the state. Generally, you are an Utah resident for the purposes of filing for divorce or dissolution if you are in Utah when you file and intend to stay as a resident. Also, if you don’t live in Utah and were married outside of Utah, but your spouse is an Utah resident, you can file in Utah. Just because you file in Utah, does not mean the court has jurisdiction or authority over all issues that may be in your case. For example, there is a law that states that the children need to live in Utah for at least the last six months for the court to have authority to make decisions about them, although there are exceptions to this requirement. Also, if you have property such as a home outside Utah, the court may not have the authority to enforce any orders regarding that property. If the other side has never been to Utah or no longer lives in Utah, it is possible he/she will ask the court to dismiss the case. The law is that the court has jurisdiction over the people in the divorce case if the married couple lived in Utah for at least six consecutive months within the six years before filing for divorce. Jurisdiction is a very complicated subject and you should talk to an attorney to figure out whether Utah is the right place to file your case.
Is There A Waiting Period Before A Divorce Or Dissolution Is Finalized In Utah?
Generally, you must wait at least 30 days after filing for divorce or dissolution before the judge will sign the final divorce decree.
What If I Can’t Make The Dissolution Hearing?
If you cannot attend the dissolution hearing in person, you have some options.
Ask to participate by telephone
If you and your spouse agree to the telephonic appearance, you can both file the Joint Motion form together that asks the court to allow one or both of you to be on the phone:
• Joint Motion, Affidavit & Order to Appear and Testify by Telephone, If you and your spouse do not agree to the telephonic appearance, you can file the following motion that asks the court to allow you to be on the phone:
• Motion, Affidavit & Order to Appear & Testify By Telephone, You need to provide your spouse with a copy of this Motion and fill out the certificate of service at the bottom.
• Ask to waive your appearance if you cannot be there in person or on the telephone, you can file a form that asks the court to have the hearing without you.
• Appearance and Waiver of Notice of Hearing, The court may need to call you so the form asks for a phone number to reach you, but this doesn’t mean that the court will call you.
Does The Person Filing The Divorce Complaint Have An Advantage Over The Person Filing The Answer?
There is no advantage to being the person who starts the case. Both parties have the opportunity to file papers which state their viewpoint in the case. The judge will consider what each party says and apply the appropriate legal factors to decide the issues.
Are There Classes That Can Help Me Fill Out The Forms?
Yes, there are classes in many communities. However, the forms are fairly straightforward, so do not be afraid to try it on your own. If you get stuck, you can always call the Family Law Helpline or consult with an attorney.
After I Have Filled Out All Of The Divorce Forms, What Do I Do?
You are now ready to file in court and get the defendant served:
• Make two copies of everything (one for you and one for the defendant);
• File the original documents at your local court;
• Pay the required fee or submit the Request for Exemption from Payment of Fees,
• Get two copies of the summons and standing order back from the clerk (one copy is for you and one for the defendant);
• Put together the defendant’s packet, which is a copy of everything you filed plus the summons and standing order. Serve the defendant either by certified mail/return receipt/restricted delivery or process server.
• Keep your copies in a folder.
After I Have Properly Served The Defendant With The Divorce Complaint, What Do I Do?
You wait. When you receive the proof of service, put it in a safe place. The defendant has 20 days from the date of being served to respond to the complaint. If nothing is filed, you may ask for a default. If the defendant answers, your case will move forward as a contested case and be set for trial.
Am I Required To Go To Any Parenting Classes Or To See A Video If We Have Any Children?
It depends. Many courts require that you view the Listen to the Children video, and some courts also require a special class or workshop.
What If I Cannot Find My Spouse?
If you are married and cannot find your spouse, you can still get divorced but only after you have made what is called “diligent inquiry,” which means looking really hard for your spouse. After you have completed your diligent inquiry you must submit an affidavit explaining how and where you looked, and ask for permission to serve that missing spouse by publishing notice in a newspaper or posting in certain places. Your missing spouse may be easier to locate than you think, and you may very well find them after you do your diligent inquiry. Once you have done your diligent inquiry, you have these options:
• Dissolution Packet, this procedure will not let you address custody of the children or the dividing of property and debts.
• Divorce Complaint Packet: This procedure will allow you to address custody of the children and the dividing of property and debts.
• Divorce Complaint without Children Packet, This procedure will allow you to address the dividing of property and debts.
What If I Or My Spouse Wants To File Bankruptcy And Divorce?
Filing for bankruptcy and divorce are serious actions. There are important considerations about when you file each of these cases because it can affect the marital property and debts. Also once you file for bankruptcy, usually all other court cases are stayed (stopped) until the bankruptcy case gets sorted out. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get a divorce or figure out child custody during a bankruptcy case. But it will take some extra work to sort out the bankruptcy issues (property and debt) from your divorce case. You should talk with a bankruptcy attorney to figure out whether and when to file the different cases.
How Much Time Does It Take?
Divorce by mutual consent can be obtained within six months, but no petition in such a case can be filed within first year of marriage. There also has to be gap of six months between the first and second motions. The court can waive this cooling off period in some cases. So in case of divorce by mutual consent, it usually takes 18-24 months. In case of a contested divorce, the period is longer, ranging from three to five years because of lawyers can charge on the basis of each hearing or as a lump sum on an annual basis. Women can also ask for litigation expenses from husband via court, but the amount granted by the court is usually less.
Which Documents Will You Need?
Depending on the type of divorce, the court may ask for:
• Address proof of husband and wife.
• Details of professions and current earnings of husband and wife.
• Certificate of marriage.
• Information regard..
Terms Used In Utah Code 30-3-18
• Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
• Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in “equity” rather than in “law.” In English legal history, the courts of “law” could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. A separate court of “equity” could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in “law” cases but not in “equity” cases.
Utah Divorce Attorney
When you need a divorce lawyer, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506