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Utah Real Estate Code 57-1-1

Utah Real Estate Code 57-1-1

Utah Code Title 57 Real Estate 57-1-1: Definitions
As used in this title:

“(1) Certified copy” means a copy of a document certified by its custodian to be a true and correct copy of the document or the copy of the document maintained by the custodian, where the document or copy is maintained under the authority of the United States, the state of Utah or any of its political subdivisions, another state, a court of record, a foreign government, or an Indian tribe.

“ (2)Document” means every instrument in writing, including every conveyance, affecting, purporting to affect, describing, or otherwise concerning any right, title, or interest in real property, except wills and leases for a term not exceeding one year.

“ (3)Real property” or “real estate” means any right, title, estate, or interest in land, including all non-extracted minerals located in, on, or under the land, all buildings, fixtures and improvements on the land, and all water rights, rights-of-way, easements, rents, issues, profits, income, tenements, hereditaments, possessory rights, claims, including mining claims, privileges, and appurtenances belonging to, used, or enjoyed with the land or any part of the land.

“(4) Stigmatized” means: The site or suspected site of a homicide, other felony, or suicide;

(a)the dwelling place of a person infected, or suspected of being infected, with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or any other infectious disease that the Utah Department of Health determines cannot be transferred by occupancy of a dwelling place;  or

(b) property that has been found to be contaminated, and that the local health department has subsequently found to have been decontaminated in accordance with Title 19, Chapter 6, Part 9, Illegal Drug Operations Site Reporting and Decontamination Act.

How Do I Get a Copy of My Divorce Decree

If you’ve ever been married before and seek a green card based on your current marriage, you’ll need to provide to the U.S. government a divorce decree (also known as a “divorce certificate“), a certificate of annulment, or a death certificate for each prior marriage. If you already have these documents, you can move on to the next step of the marriage green card process.

Who must submit their divorce papers?

For each prior marriage, both the sponsoring spouse (the U.S. citizen or current green card holder) and the spouse seeking a green card must provide a photocopy or certified copy (with the issuing office’s seal or stamp) of their final divorce decree. You must also bring the original document or certified copy to your green card interview.

What if I was previously married but wasn’t divorced from that spouse?
If a previous marriage ended by your spouse’s death or by annulment, you must submit a photocopy of your spouse’s death certificate or your certificate of annulment. You must also bring the original or certified copy of these documents, whichever is applicable, to your green card interview.

Where to Get a Divorce Decree

If you filed for divorce in the United States, you generally can obtain a divorce decree from the court that issued the document. Alternatively, you can request an official copy from the office of vital records in the state where your divorce was finalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website specifies the name and address of each vital records office, as well as the current fee for requesting the paperwork. If you filed for divorce abroad, you may find information about the issuing authority in your home country — including its name, the current fee, and procedures for obtaining an official copy — on the U.S. Department of State’s website. (On the left-hand side of the webpage, you will need to select the first letter of your country’s name, select your country, and click on the “Marriage, Divorce Certificates” tab to view more details.)

Alternative Documents

If you can’t find your marriage certificate or get an official copy, you must submit both of the following documents instead:
• A notarized personal affidavit (written explanation) in which you describe the facts of your marriage and the reason you’re unable to obtain an official copy of your marriage certificate
• A certified statement from the appropriate government agency explaining why your marriage certificate is not available
If you cannot obtain a certified statement from a government agency, you must instead provide an additional notarized personal affidavit (written statement) from one of your parents who is living or a close relative who is older than you. In the affidavit, they must attest to having personal knowledge of your marriage and describe the following:
• Their relationship to you
• How well they know you
• How they know about the information they are swearing to

Financial Documents

It will be more difficult for a court to get an accurate idea of your marital finances if he or she does not have the pertinent information. Keep in mind that these professionals are specifically trained to help you navigate a successful settlement and secure a stable financial future. Without all of the relevant data to review, you could miss out on your share of significant assets, investments, or accounts. You will need to keep in mind that documents should cover your long-term history, not just the most recent transactions. The gold standard is that your documentation should cover five years’ worth of data. Either way, three years’ worth of data should be sufficient to help your team assemble a settlement that you will be satisfied with.
The divorce financial checklist will give you the most thorough rundown of the most commonly requested items:
• Income Tax Returns
• Employment Records
• Financial Records (such as bank statements and loan information)
• Investment Account Statements
• Pension Plan Information
• Retirement Savings Accounts
• Children’s Bank Accounts
• Debt Records
• Wills and Trust Agreements
• Social Security Statements
Some spouses might be extremely secretive about their marital finances, and hide bank information and income statements. Their insistence on keeping you in the dark is bound to make it challenging for you to find copies of your income taxes, pay stubs, and other key information, which will be pertinent during your divorce. In these circumstances, the best thing you can do is create a ruse to pump your spouse for information. If your spouse does not know that a divorce is imminent, you might consider telling him or her that you want to plan for a health emergency. Sit down together, and go over all of your insurance information and finances to make a “plan” for handling the crisis. While this tactic might not give you copies of all the information, you can at least see where your marital finances stand.

Alternatively, you can take another route for accessing the information you need. Be certain to keep an eye on your mailbox, so you can get the mail first every time. If your name is on a joint checking account, you can even head to the bank to receive copies of your bank statement. Last but not least, pull your credit report and make sure you know about all of the debt that is registered in your name. This tactic will protect you from nasty surprises after the divorce is over, such as receiving bills for credit cards and loans that you were not aware of. This financial information is crucial to helping your CDFA and your divorce attorney, but it also comes in handy when you are creating a new budget. Then you can gain a clearer picture of what it costs to maintain your current lifestyle each month. This baseline can help you adequately prepare to move out and start downs your own path toward a single income.


One of the most important steps to take before getting a divorce is understanding what each person in the marriage brought to the union. To get an idea of the important documents you need to round up for your divorce attorney or court, take a look at this information below:
• Marital Home Information
• Information about Other Real Estate
• Vehicle Information
• Personal Property (including jewelry, artwork, collections, and antiques)

Be sure to specify which assets you personally brought into the marriage as individual property. You should be clearly identified on your list of assets, so that everyone will be clear about who should belong in the settlement.

Childcare Documents

For many couples, preparing a childcare plan is one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce. However, since caring for the children together requires financial cooperation, it is essential that you draft a potential plan at this stage. You should start by creating a list of the parenting items that are most important to you. The two of you will need to make decisions about visitation, custody, and insurance expenses. You will even need to decide which one of you will claim them as dependents on your taxes. Consider your priorities for their futures, especially their college expenses. Will you both contribute to a savings account, or will the children pay for their own tuitions? There is no right or wrong way to handle some of these issues, so you need time to think about what will work best for your family. These ideas are meant to be the catalysts for you and your spouse to start planning how you are going to handle everything after you split into two households. By taking a draft of this information to your divorce attorney now, you are giving him or her an opportunity to see if there is anything you left off that might still need to be considered. Therefore, you will have a bit more breathing room. That way, you can reflect on what will be best for the children, instead of selecting the easiest route in the heat of the moment.

Personal Documents

Remember, your financial information is not the only consideration that a financial planner will need to take into account.
You will also need pertinent information about the children, such as their:
• Birthdates
• Social Security numbers
• Bank Accounts
Personal data about you and your spouse can also help the planner draft an appropriate settlement that all parties will be satisfied with.
This data can include:
• The date of marriage
• Birthdates for you and your spouse
• Social security numbers for you and your spouse
• Information about previous marriages, including divorce decrees
• Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
• Judgments and pleadings that involved either spouse
• Insurance policies
Other Pertinent Issues
If there are any extenuating circumstances that led up to your divorce, you will need to find documentation and proof. This documentation could factor into the final amounts of spousal support payments, and it could help make decisions about the custody of any children involved in the split.
Here are a few examples of situations when you might want to seek out proof that your spouse was involved in something illicit:
• Abuse
• Adultery
• Kidnapping
• Bullying
• Substance abuse
• Mental illness or instability
In addition, there might be other circumstances that can influence your divorce. Therefore, be sure to acquire any documentation you think might be pertinent to your case, so that the divorce attorney can review it.

Information that needs To be Changed

While you will not have to take this information to your divorce attorney, it is always a good idea to start planning ahead for things that need to be altered. You will not want your spouse’s name on documents that relate to your personal well-being, future finances, or healthcare directives.
You might be able to start changing some of the information on these items, even before you file for divorce:
• Life Insurance Policies
• Wills
• Powers of Attorney
• Advance Healthcare Directives
• Bank Accounts
• Credit Card Accounts
Before you consider heading to your divorce attorney to initiate the end of your marriage, it is critical to be prepared for what happens afterward. By following these steps before filing for divorce, you will gain some sense of control over an otherwise emotionally charged and draining situation. This divorce checklist will help you assemble documentation at your own pace. Then you will be ready for anything that your financial planner may need. In addition, gathering documents to prove and support the current financial situation in your marriage allows you to more adequately prepare for your future. It also gives you some space to reflect facts you consider some of the long-term issues that are bound to arise during a divorce settlement. By completing an accurate assessment of your lifestyle, income, and expenditures, a financial planner can help you prepare for your future as a newly single individual. Preparing a budget and evaluating your lifestyle is an essential part of establishing a firm financial future for yourself. If you utilize this financial checklist, you will be able to more clearly and accurately see what you could be entitled to during your divorce.

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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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