The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Utah divorce.
for more specific information regarding Utah divorce laws.
Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.
|Residency Requirements ||The court may decree a dissolution of the marriage contract between the petitioner and respondent in all cases where the petitioner or respondent has been an actual and bona fide resident of this state and of the county where the action is brought, or if members of the armed forces of the United States who are not legal residents of this state, where the petitioner has been stationed in this state under military orders, for three months next prior to the commencement of the action.
|Where to File ||The county in which the either spouse resides|
|Grounds for Divorce ||Grounds for divorce:
- Impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage
- Adultery committed by the respondent subsequent to 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 necessaries 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. A divorce may not be granted on the grounds of insanity unless:
the respondent has been adjudged insane by the appropriate authorities of this or another state prior to the commencement of the action and the court finds by the testimony of competent witnesses that the insanity of the respondent is incurable
- When the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation
|Voluntary or required mediation ||Yes|
|Voluntary or recommended Counseling||Yes|
|Property Distribution ||Utah courts recognize the principles of equitable distribution, in that all of the parties' property will be divided by the court in a manner that the court determines is equitable to each party. |
|Child Custody ||In determining any form of custody, the court shall consider the best interests of the child and, among other factors the court finds relevant, the following:
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 the 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 kidnaping and
- 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 noncustodial parent
- Any other factors the court finds relevant
|Child Support ||Either or both parents may be required to provide the support of maintenance, insurance, and education of the child. The child support order will also contain provisions relating to the medical insurance or expenses of the child. The parties are required to file a financial affidavit. Utah has child support guidelines which establish the amount of support which is presumed correct. The court may deviate from the guidelines upon a showing that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the particular circumstances of the case. Factors the court will consider when determining whether deviation from the guidelines is warranted include:
- The standard of living of the parties
- The relative wealth and income of the parties
- The earning abilities of the parents
- The needs of the parents and child
- The ages of the parents and child
- Any other existing support obligation for others not of the marriage
|Spousal Support ||The court shall consider at least the following factors in determining alimony:
The court may consider the fault of the parties in determining alimony.
- the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
- the recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income
- the ability of the payor spouse to provide support
- the length of the marriage
- whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
- whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse
- 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
As a general rule, the court should look to the standard of living, existing at the time of separation, in determining alimony in accordance with Subsection (8)(a). 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.
The court may, under appropriate circumstances, attempt to equalize the parties' respective standards of living.
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 and 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 dividing the marital property and awarding alimony.