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Divorce Basics


Divorce is the proceeding that ends a marriage and all legal relationships between a husband and wife, except those specified in the divorce decree. There are many issues that may need to be resolved in the divorce, including:

  • child custody, child support, parent-time;

  • alimony (sometimes called spousal support or maintenance); and

  • division of debt, property, and pension and retirement benefits.

Before filing for divorce

Residency requirements

To get divorced in Utah you or your spouse must reside in a single county in Utah for at least three months immediately before filing the divorce petition. Utah Code Section 30-3-1. If custody of a minor child is an issue, usually the child must reside with at least one of the parents in Utah for at least six months, but there are exceptions.

Grounds for divorce

The grounds for divorce, including irreconcilable differences, are listed in Utah Code Section 30-3-1(3).

Costs of a divorce

Costs and fees for a divorce can vary greatly, but they can include:

  • Fee to file the petition

  • Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) fees

  • Fee for the Office of Vital Records and Statistics

  • Fees to serve the petition and summons

  • Attorney fees

  • Copying costs

  • Fees for the Divorce Education class and the Divorce Orientation class if there are minor children.

If you cannot afford the fees, you can ask the judge to waive them. To have fees waived, you must prove to the court that you are unable to pay them. You must file a detailed description of your income, property, and debts. For more information, see our page on Fee Waiver.

Divorce records are private records

Most court records are public. This means that anyone can view and copy the documents filed with the court. However, starting April 1, 2012, divorce records are not public. They can be viewed and copied by the parties, their lawyers and a few others, but not by the public. The orders and decrees in the case remain public. So, for example if a motion to waive the 90-day waiting period is granted, the order is a public document. When filing a private document, the filer must identify the document as private. Certain information such as social security numbers, and dates of birth and identifying information about minors are not public, and you must take special care not to include private information in a public document, particularly in a court order.

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