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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-4: Pleadings, Decree, Use of Affidavit and Private Records.

(1) (a) The complaint shall be in writing and signed by the petitioner or petitioner’s attorney.

(b) A decree of divorce may not be granted upon default or otherwise except upon legal evidence taken in the cause. If the decree is to be entered upon the default of the respondent, evidence to support the decree may be submitted upon the affidavit of the petitioner with the approval of the court.

(c) If the petitioner and the respondent have a child or children, a decree of divorce may not be granted until both parties have attended the mandatory course described in Section 30-3-11.3, and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. The court may waive this requirement, on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties, if it determines course attendance and completion are not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties.

(d) All hearings and trials for divorce shall be held before the court or the court commissioner as provided by Section 78A-5-107 and rules of the Judicial Council. The court or the commissioner in all divorce cases shall enter the decree upon the evidence or, in the case of a decree after default of the respondent, upon the petitioner’s affidavit.

(2) (a) A party to an action brought under this title or to an action under Title 78B, Chapter 12, Utah Child Support Act, Title 78B, Chapter 13, Utah Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Title 78B, Chapter 14, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Title 78B, Chapter 15, Utah Uniform Parentage Act, or to an action to modify or enforce a judgment in the action may file a motion to have the file other than the final judgment, order, or decree classified as private.

(b) If the court finds that there are substantial interests favoring restricting access that clearly outweigh the interests favoring access, the court may classify the file, or any part thereof other than the final order, judgment, or decree, as private. An order classifying part of the file as private does not apply to subsequent filings.

(c) The record is private until the judge determines it is possible to release the record without prejudice to the interests that justified the closure. Any interested person may petition the court to permit access to a record classified as private under this section. The petition shall be served on the parties to the closure order.

What Is Considered a Public Record?

Government records, from court cases to property deeds, are usually public records – that is, filed with or kept by a government agency and available for inspection by members of the general public. For instance, if you’re interested in buying a vacant home on your street, you can obtain the owner’s name by searching the county’s land records at your local registrar or county clerk’s office sometimes online since these documents are public records. However, certain records or information may be blocked from public view because it meets a privacy or confidentiality exemption under state or federal law.

Accessing Public Record

Generally, a public record is a document filed with or kept by a city, county, state or federal government agency in the ordinary course of business that is viewable by the public. Although public records are often documents, they can also be such things as maps, recordings, films, photographs, tapes, software, letters and books. Court cases are a common example of a public record. In some cases, this information can be retrieved online.

Public and Private Document

Public Documents: Public Documents are those documents which are authenticated by a public officer and subsequently which is made available to the public at large for reference and use. Public documents also contain statements made by the public officer in their official capacity, which acts as admissible evidence of the fact in civil matters. These documents are also known as public records as these are issued or published for public knowledge.

Private documents: Private documents are those documents which are prepared between persons for their usual business transactions and communications. These documents are kept in the custody of the private persons only and are not made available to the public at large. Certified copies of the private documents are generally not considered as evidence unless there is proof of the original copy is provided.

Documents forming the acts or records of the acts:
• Of sovereign authority
• Of official bodies and tribunals
• Of public officers, legislative, judiciary and executive of any part of India or of the commonwealth, or of a foreign country.
• The public record kept in any State of Private document

Examples of Public Documents

These documents are considered to be public documents which are open to the public at large:
• Electoral Roll of all the districts
• Census Report of India
• Town Planning Reports by the Department of State Development
• Village Records of the villages
• Public records keeping the original private documents and not the copy
• Records of National Bank
• Birth and Death Register
• Charge Sheet
• Confessions recorded by a magistrate
• Sanction to prosecute
• Record of Information
• Notice

Private Documents

Private Documents are those documents which are made by an individual for his/her personal interest under his/her individual right. These documents are in the hands of the individual to whom the public document belongs to and is not made open to the general public for inspection. Certified copies of the private documents are not admissible in court unless the proof of original document is submitted. Example: Correspondence between persons; matter published in newspapers, books; deed of the contract; memorandum; sale deed.

Difference between Public and Private Documents

• Public Documents are made by a public servant in discharge of his/her public duties while Private Documents are made by an individual for his/her personal interest under his/her individual right.
• Public Document is available for inspection to the public in public office during the appointed time after payment of fixed fees while Private Document is in the hands of the individual to whom the document belongs to and is not available for inspection to the general public.
• Public Documents are proved by Secondary Evidence while Private Documents are proved by original i.e. Primary Evidence.

What Is a Final Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is the final step in the court proceeding for your divorce. It contains important information about the court’s decision. A divorce decree is not the same thing as a divorce certificate, and the two documents have different purposes. The divorce certificate is issued by your state for record-keeping purposes, as opposed to the divorce decree, meaning a final, enforceable order by the court that you and your spouse must follow. It resolves all of the issues that were part of your divorce.

When Is a Divorce Decree Issued?

A divorce case can drag on for months (and even years in some cases!), so finally getting to the end of the process is a long-awaited step. After you have had your trial, or after you and your spouse have agreed on and submitted a settlement to the court, the court makes a final decision. If you have a trial, the judge weighs all of the evidence and testimony and makes decisions related to granting the divorce: custody, alimony, child support, and property division. All of these decisions are written out in the divorce decree. The decree is a binding legal court order that says what you and your spouse must do moving forward. If you settle your case, your settlement is submitted to the court in writing or it is spoken into the record at the courtroom. The judge then reviews what you have agreed on and decides if it is fair and in accordance with the law. If so, the court issues a decree that includes all the terms of your settlement. This becomes a binding court order.

When Is a Divorce Final?

Your divorce is final on the day the court signs the decree. You normally will receive it a few days later, since it is sent to your attorney, who will then send you a copy. You are legally divorced as of the date the decree is signed. This means you become a single person on that date because your marriage is legally over.

What Is a Divorce Certificate?

A divorce decree is the complete court order ending your marriage, with all the details about how property is divided, how you will share time with your children, and what, if any, child support is granted. It also states why the marriage is being dissolved. If there are any problems in the future with your ex not following the court order, you will refer to the decree, since it states what each is required to do. If there is noncompliance, you can go back to court to enforce the terms of the decree.
A divorce certificate is not a court document. It is a document issued by your state for record-keeping purposes. It includes the parties’ names and says when and where the divorce was granted. It does not include the myriad other personal details included in a divorce decree. This certificate is used in much the same way you would use a birth certificate or marriage certificate, in the event that you need to prove you are divorced from someone. If you seek to change your name—on your driver’s license, or with Social Security—after the divorce, you may be asked to show a portion of the divorce decree to confirm you have authorization for the name change. While the divorce certificate is generally accepted as proof that you’re divorced, the name change itself is ordered in the divorce decree; the name change may not appear on the certificate. If you need to provide proof that the divorce occurred, for any reason other than a name change, then showing the divorce certificate should be sufficient.

Private Records – Why Search for them?

We live in an era where we can find information about people we know from social media outlets, as well as different websites where individuals write details about themselves. However, there are people out there who easily falsify information about themselves, and tell people lies very easily. So, the best way to find credible information about others is to tap into reliable sources of information, such as people’s records.

What is found in People Records?

U.S. authorities gather accurate data about residents of the country that is kept in special files for decades. Official records in each state contain valuable information about people, and among these records, you can find the following details:
• Birth records
• Marriage record
• Divorce records
• Aliases
• Employment history
• Criminal records
• Arrest records
• Contact information
• Mugshots
• Social media data
All these records and details can help you discover if someone is lying to you, and if they may have bad intentions, such as committing fraud, harming you physically, harming you emotionally, or taking advantage of you in any way by telling you lies and gaining your trust.
Most divorce decrees cover the topics of alimony, division of debt, and the division of property along with the messier, litigious issues of custody, visitation, and child support, if applicable.


Sometimes referred to as spousal support and/or spousal maintenance, alimony is the amount of money that one spouse is ordered to pay the other. Very basically, this amount depends on whoever made more money during the marriage and the roles you both played. But there are lots of other circumstances a judge may also consider, including your prior standard of living, plus your health, age, and many other mitigating factors.

Division of Property

This aspect only comes into play when you and your spouse are unable to agree on who gets what. In order to rule on the division of marital property, a judge will identify, categorize (marital versus non-marital), and assign value to your combined assets. How your property is divided and split among you and your ex depends on state laws: Most states exercise equitable distribution, which dictates that any money and property you’ve both acquired belongs to whichever spouse earned and/or bought it. Community property states view that all income and assets earned during the marriage equally belong to both parties.

Division of Debt

The division of debt happens similarly to how property is divided. Before you’ve officially split, you and your ex have the option to pay everything off before filing for divorce or to decide whoever is responsible during the divorce negotiations (this usually happens whenever debt is too great to be paid off before the divorce). To divide debt, the court must determine which spouse incurred it and who benefited most. Your final divorce decree might also contain other contingencies specific to your personal circumstances, such as a name-change authorization or the assignation of the party that’s ordered to pay taxes and/or attorney’s fees, for example.

Before You Sign

Above all, your final divorce decree needs to be accurate (grammatically and otherwise) and contain certain language and contingencies that protect your legal interests. Your decree also needs to hold up if, for whatever reason, you need to modify or appeal the document at a later date. And if for whatever reason, your ex doesn’t comply with what was set forth in the decree, you can take them back to court to enforce the terms.


Once you’ve signed it, modifying a final divorce decree can be extremely difficult, regardless of the reason. The only way to change it may be via an appeal, which can be a long, drawn-out process that requires stringent proof that your circumstances meet certain criteria, which are dependent on the state in which you live. If, however, you feel that you signed the decree under duress or felt threatened if you didn’t sign, your attorney may be able to petition the court for a new hearing.

A final decree of divorce is archived in the vital records office of your courthouse, in the county in which you obtained your divorce. You’ll want to keep this document for your records and you should also reread it after it’s signed and entered into court records. In most situations, the court clerk or your attorney will mail you a copy of your final decree. If this doesn’t happen, or you need an extra copy, request the document (either in-person or in writing) directly from your county clerk’s office.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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