Utah Divorce Laws: Child Custody & Support, Alimony, Property Division

The following is a summary of Utah’s divorce laws. In some cases, the exact text of the statute has been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code or ask an attorney how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Utah Divorce Laws

Utah Divorce Grounds

What to Expect When Help Yourself Divorce Prepares Your No Fault Utah Divorce.

The following is a summary of Utah divorce laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Utah Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in Utah, either party must have been an actual and bona fide resident of Utah and of the county where the divorce is filed, or stationed in Utah as a member of the U.S. Armed forces, for at least three months immediately before filing the divorce papers.

Utah Grounds for Divorce

When Help Yourself Divorce prepares your divorce papers, your divorce will be filed based on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Filing for Divorce in Utah

You will file for divorce in the Utah county where either you live, or where your spouse lives.

Serving Your Spouse with Divorce Papers

Formal service (for example, using a Sheriff or process server) is not required in an uncontested divorce in Utah. All you need to do is mail or hand-deliver the papers to your spouse so your spouse can sign them.

Waiting Period

In Utah, there is a 90 day waiting period after filing your papers before the divorce can be finalized. However, Help Yourself Divorce will provide you with paperwork that you can use to request the court waive that 90 day waiting period. So if you don’t want to wait, all you have to do is sign and file that paperwork, and if approved, the court will grant your divorce sooner (usually within about 2 weeks after filing). If you don’t mind waiting, you don’t have to file that particular paperwork.

Final Hearing

Utah does not require a final hearing. The court will simply review your paperwork and sign your decree. When it’s ready, they will either mail it back to you, or call you to pick it up.

Additional Information

Utah laws require a mandatory parenting course for divorcing parents, 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 divorce and its impacts on their child(ren), their family relationship, and their financial responsibilities for their child(ren).”

Utah Alimony Laws

The following is a summary of Utah alimony laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.Guidelines for Determining Alimony.
Utah laws allow the court to consider fault when awarding alimony. The court will also consider at least the following factors in determining alimony:

  1. The financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
  2. The recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income;
  3. The ability of the payor spouse to provide support;
  4. The length of the marriage;
  5. Whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
  6. Whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse;
  7. Whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or allowing the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage;
  8. In a marriage of short duration, where 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 marriage.
  9. Where 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. 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.

The court may, under appropriate circumstances, attempt to equalize the parties’ respective standards of living. As a general rule, the court should look to the standard of living existing at the time of separation in determining alimony. However, the court shall 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. In marriages of short duration, when no children have been conceived or born during the marriage, the court may consider the standard of living that existed at the time of the marriage.

Utah Child Custody Laws

The following is a summary of Utah child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Child Custody Guidelines

Utah laws allow the court to make an order for the future care and custody of the parties’ minor children as it considers appropriate. The court shall consider the best interests of the child and, among other factors the court finds relevant, the following:

(a) whether the physical, psychological, and emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from joint legal or physical custody;

(b) 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;

(c) 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 the child and the other parent;

(d) whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;

(e) the geographical proximity of the homes of the parents;

(f) 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;

(g) the maturity of the parents and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;

(h) the past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;

(i) any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping;

(j) the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties;

(k) which parent is most likely to act in the best interest of the child, including allowing the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent; and

(l) any other factors the court finds relevant.

The court shall, in every case, consider joint custody but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. When deciding whether to award joint custody, the court will consider the same factors as above.

The court may take into consideration the children’s desires for custody, 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.

-From 3-3-10 of the Utah Statutes.

Definitions

“Joint legal custody” means the sharing of the rights, privileges, duties, and powers of a parent by both parents, where specified, and may include an award of exclusive authority by the court to one parent to make specific decisions. The court can award joint legal custody and still award sole physical custody to one parent.

“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. A court may still designate one parent as the primary caretaker and one home as the primary residence of the child.

-From 30-3-10.1 & 10.2 of the Utah Statutes.

Moving with the Child

When either parent decides to move out of state, or at least 150 miles from their current residence, that parent shall provide 60 days advance written notice of the intended relocation to the other parent, if possible. The court has a specific minimum visitation schedule that must be followed even when the parent relocates, unless the court orders otherwise.

The court may, upon motion of any party or upon the court’s own motion, schedule a hearing to review the notice of relocation and parent-time schedule, and to make appropriate orders regarding the parent-time and costs for parent-time transportation.

In determining the parent-time schedule and allocating the transportation costs, the court shall consider:

(a) the reason for the parent’s relocation;
(b) the additional costs or difficulty to both parents in exercising parent-time;
(c) the economic resources of both parents; and
(d) other factors the court considers necessary and relevant.

Upon the motion of any party, the court may order the parent intending to move to pay the costs of transportation for at least one visit per year with the other parent, and any number of additional visits as determined equitable by the court.

-From 30-3-37 of the Utah Statutes.

Utah Child Support Laws

The following is a summary of Utah child support laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Medical Expenses

The court shall include in every decree of divorce 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, the court shall include an order requiring the purchase and maintenance of appropriate health, hospital, and dental care insurance for the dependent children.

Child Care Expenses

The court may include, in an order determining child support, an order assigning financial responsibility for all or a portion of child care expenses incurred on behalf of the dependent children, necessitated by 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 noncustodial parent to provide child care for the dependent children, necessitated by the employment or training of the custodial parent.

-From Section 30-3-5 of the Utah Code.

Income Withholding

Whenever a court enters an order for child support, it shall include in the order a provision for withholding income as a means of collecting child support as provided in Title 62A, Chapter 11, Recovery Services.

-From Section 30-3-5.1 of the Utah Code.

Child support when one parent has primary physical custody is calculated using the worksheet found here.

Child support when both parents has joint physical custody is calculated using the worksheet found here.

Child support when the parents have split physical custody is calculated using the worksheet found here.

Utah Property Division Laws

The following is a summary of Utah property division laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Utah Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Separate Debts

Neither spouse is personally liable for the separate debts, obligations, or liabilities of the other contracted or incurred before marriage; or contracted or incurred during marriage, except family expenses as provided in Section 30-2-9.

-From Section 30-2-5 of the Utah Code.

Property Division Guidelines

The court shall include 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.

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.

-From Section 30-3-5 of the Utah Code.

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