Utah Divorce Lawyers
The End of a Marriage Can Be a New Beginning
Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce; Utah is no different. Some divorces are amicable and the parties can come together to work out an agreement. Others involve high levels of conflict. At Pearson Butler, we understand that each family and each divorce is unique. We also understand that with the right counsel and strategy, you can turn your divorce into a new beginning.
Regardless of your situation, our divorce attorneys at Pearson Butler can help you make the best of your circumstances and ensure that you can move forward with confidence, knowing your rights.
Strategic Counsel for Complex Situations
The attorneys at Pearson Butler are highly respected and experienced in representing clients through the divorce process in Utah. We understand that you need an attorney who will represent your best interest during the divorce and also educate you about what to expect moving forward, as many of the issues you deal with during your divorce may last beyond the end of your divorce action.
No matter how complex your marital estate is or how unique your goals are, Pearson Butler attorneys and mediators can help you achieve a swift and beneficial resolution. When properly handled, the end of your marriage can signify a new beginning and a better life for you and your family. Pearson Butler can help you in that process so that you get the new beginning you deserve.
Contact Pearson Butler at (800) 265-2314 for a confidential divorce consultation.
Utah Divorce Laws
One of the spouses must be a resident of Utah and have lived in the state for at least three months before filing for divorce. However, if the couple shares custody of a minor child, then the child must live with one of the parents in the state for six months at a minimum.
Utah allows for both fault-based and no-fault divorces. No-fault grounds typically involve irreconcilable differences or a period of separation. Fault-based grounds may include issues like adultery, impotence, willful desertion, and more.
Here is a general outline of the divorce process in Utah:
- Filing the Petition: The divorce process usually begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce in the district court where either spouse resides. The petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) is responsible for serving the other spouse with the divorce papers.
- Response: The respondent (the other spouse) has a certain amount of time to respond to the petition. This typically involves filing an answer to the divorce petition.
- Temporary Orders: In some cases, either spouse may request temporary orders to address issues like child custody, support, and spousal maintenance during the divorce process.
- Discovery: Both spouses exchange information and documents relevant to the divorce, including financial records, property valuations, and other relevant information. This process is known as discovery.
- Mediation: Utah often requires divorcing couples to attend mediation to attempt to resolve disputes related to child custody, visitation, and other issues. Mediation can be a helpful step in reaching agreements outside of court.
- Settlement Negotiations: The spouses and their attorneys may engage in negotiations to reach a settlement on issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. If an agreement is reached, it can be submitted to the court for approval.
- Trial: If the spouses cannot reach an agreement through negotiation or mediation, the case may proceed to trial. During the trial, each party presents their case, and the judge makes decisions on contested issues.
- Final Decree of Divorce: Once all issues are resolved, either through agreement or court decision, the court issues a final decree of divorce. This document outlines the terms of the divorce, including property division, alimony, child custody, and support.
- Post-Divorce Matters: After the divorce is finalized, both parties are expected to adhere to the terms of the decree. If circumstances change, either party may seek modifications to custody, support, or other provisions.
Dealing with Every Aspect of Your Divorce
Professionalism, hard work, and compassion drive our premier divorce lawyers in Utah, enabling Pearson Butler to secure favorable results even in the most complex, contested family law matters. Our skilled professionals have decades of experience and have worked with thousands of clients.
The firm’s divorce practice includes experienced representation for:
- Contested divorces: In cases where spouses cannot reach an agreement on key issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and support, we advocate for our clients through the contested divorce process. This involves presenting a compelling case in court to secure a fair resolution.
- High-asset divorce: For individuals with substantial assets, high-asset divorces require a nuanced approach. We have the expertise to navigate complex financial situations, including the valuation and division of significant assets such as real estate, investments, and business interests.
- Child custody and visitation: Our team is dedicated to protecting the best interests of your children. We assist in negotiating and, if necessary, litigating child custody and visitation arrangements, working towards solutions that promote the well-being of the children involved.
- Child support: We help clients navigate the intricacies of child support, ensuring that financial responsibilities are fairly distributed. Our goal is to establish child support agreements that meet the needs of the child while considering the financial circumstances of both parents.
- Property division: Property division can be a complex aspect of divorce. We work diligently to assess and fairly divide marital assets, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and personal property.
- Business valuations: In cases where a business is part of the marital assets, our team has the expertise to conduct thorough business valuations. We ensure that the business's value is accurately assessed for equitable distribution.
- Spousal support: Whether seeking or contesting spousal support, we provide comprehensive legal counsel to protect our clients' financial interests. We strive to achieve fair and reasonable spousal support arrangements that consider the needs and circumstances of both parties.
- Modification of child support or custody: Life circumstances can change, necessitating modifications to child support or custody agreements. We assist clients in seeking or contesting modifications based on substantial changes in circumstances.
- Uncontested divorces: When spouses can reach agreements outside of court, we facilitate uncontested divorces. Our goal is to streamline the process, making it more efficient and less adversarial while ensuring that our clients' rights are protected.
- Enforcing custody orders: If the other party fails to comply with custody orders, we take swift legal action to enforce court-ordered custody arrangements, ensuring that the well-being and stability of the children are maintained.
Minimize the emotional and financial cost of your divorce by having the right lawyer on your side. Pearson Butler understands how difficult divorce can be, particularly when children are involved. After taking the time to strategize with you about immediate and long-term goals, our attorneys will take control of your case and strategically pursue your goals, no matter how complex.
With three offices across the state, Pearson Butler represents clients throughout Utah in all types of divorce proceedings, no matter how complex. Call us at (800) 265-2314 today.
Helpful Resources from Our Utah Divorce Attorneys:
Q:Who Are the Parties in a Divorce?
A:The parties in a divorce case are called the Petitioner and Respondent. The Petitioner is the spouse who initiates the divorce case. The Respondent is the other spouse who responds to the Petitioner’s divorce documents. One attorney cannot represent both parties in a divorce.
Q:Who Prepares the Divorce Documents?
A:In Utah, the Petitioner prepares a divorce petition and other documents needed to file for divorce and initiate the case. An attorney can help prepare the petition and other required documents to ensure they comply with Utah law and that they are properly filed and served.
Q:Where Do Divorce Documents Get Filed?
A:A party can file his or her petition for divorce in the county where they have lived for at least three months. When children are involved, there are more complicated rules about where to file, particularly if the children have not lived in Utah for the last six months.
Q:What Does the Respondent Do After Being Served?
A:In Utah, once the Petitioner serves the Respondent with a petition for divorce, the Respondent has 21 days (if served in Utah) or 30 days (if served outside of Utah) to respond to the divorce petition. A lawyer who understands the divorce process in Utah can help the Respondent respond appropriately to a petition for divorce. It’s an important legal decision whether or not to file a counter-petition with your answer and you should consult counsel before making that decision so you understand your rights and options.
Q:When Do the Parties Disclose Financial Documents?
A:Once the Respondent files an answer to the divorce petition, both parties must complete a Financial Declaration and provide mandatory financial disclosures to the other party. The due dates for these disclosures are quick so don’t be surprised if your attorney asks you to start working on these disclosures even before the divorce case is filed.
Q:What Is a Stipulation?
A:A stipulation is a written agreement between both parties that may resolve the whole case or a limited portion of the case. A knowledgeable lawyer can help explain what terms might be included a reasonable stipulation in your case.
Q:What If the Respondent Fails to File an Answer to the Divorce Petition?
A:At times, a Respondent may not answer the divorce petition. In that event, the Petitioner may request a default Decree of Divorce. A divorce lawyer can assist the Petitioner by preparing all the paperwork necessary for the court to process a default Decree and finalize the divorce even if the other side hasn’t responded to the divorce documents. If you are a Respondent who has failed to file an Answer to a divorce petition, an attorney can assist you with properly responding so that the divorce is not entered by default.
Q:Does Utah Have a Mandatory Waiting Period Before a Decree Can Be Signed?
A:Utah law requires a 30 day waiting period between the date the divorce petition is filed and when the judge can sign the Decree of Divorce.
Q:Do I Need to Take a Divorce Education Class?
A:It depends. If the parties have children under the age of 18, Utah law requires the Petitioner and Respondent to attend a divorce orientation and divorce education classes. These classes are now available online, though they are also presented live at courthouses around the state. A divorcing parent must prove that he or she has taken the class (or the court must waive a parent’s participation in the class) before a final decree may be signed. If the Respondent fails to file an answer to the divorce petition, the Petitioner’s participation is sufficient for the divorce to be finalized. The Respondent’s lack of participation will not prevent the divorce from being finalized.
Q:Is Mediation Mandatory?
A:The court will not allow parties to set a trial date unless the parties have attempted to resolve the case with a mediator who is certified to mediate domestic relations cases (divorce, custody, child support, etc.). Unless the parties are able to agree on terms quickly, they should expect that mediation will be part of the divorce process.
Q:When Are Temporary Orders Used?
A:Parties are often unable to immediately reach an agreement on the terms of a divorce and trial is still a long way away. Parties needs orders from the court to move forward until a final order of the court is reached. Temporary orders do not make a final division of assets or a final custody determination, but they can set a precedent which will likely affect the outcome of a trial or future settlement. Temporary orders usually address possession of the marital home, temporary custody and parent-time, temporary spousal support, temporary child support, payment on debts while the divorce is pending, possession and use of vehicles, and more.
Q:What Rules Govern the Procedural Steps of a Divorce in Utah?
A:The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure provide the procedural steps in divorce cases. There are different rules to follow depending on whether your case is being heard by a commissioner or a judge.