Divorce -A divorce ends a marriage and all direct legal relationships between the couple, except those specifically written out in the divorce decree or judgment. Such issues as spousal support, parenting arrangements, support of children, a division of property and payment of debts may be addressed in a written agreement. When both parties agree on these issues, the divorce is “uncontested.”

A divorce is granted by a judge after the necessary paperwork has been submitted, 90-day waiting period has lapsed and all appearances before the judge are completed. In some cases it is not necessary to be physically present in the court to get a divorce.

When both parties agree on these issues, the divorce is “uncontested.”

Response to a Divorce

To get a divorce, one person has to file a petition (or complaint) with the court. The other person may file a response (or answer) to the initial filing and become an active participant in the divorce process. If you choose to file a response you will have the opportunity to provide your reaction to the petition by responding to the petition.

Should you fail to, or elect not to, formally respond, you may be in default, which means the court may proceed with the divorce without your participation and consent.

The different options for divorce are:

  • Dissolution: The marriage will cease at the conclusion of the proceeding.
  • Nullity: Declares that the marriage never existed.
  • Legal Separation: Resolves all the issues of the marriage, but the parties remain legally married and can retain benefits only available to married persons, such as remaining on each other’s medical insurance.

True default: The other party has not filed a response and the parties have not signed a formal agreement. This is where there is no contest on property division, assets or other matters.

Uncontested default: This is the easiest and most common way to complete a Utah divorce proceeding. In this situation, the parties reach an agreement resolving all issues of their marriage and sign a Settlement Agreement which sets forth the parties’ resolution of all issues, identifies separate property and debt, and divides community property and debt. The Settlement Agreement also addresses issues of spousal and/or child support, child custody and visitation. The Settlement Agreement is submitted to the court for ratification and approval. Most uncontested divorce proceedings are resolved by way of a Settlement Agreement, even in situations where the parties have no children, little property and few debts.

Contested: The parties are unable to reach an agreement and a Response has been filed by the other party. It will be necessary for the court to make orders regarding the disputed issues through separate hearings and/or a formal trial. Often these proceedings take many months or even years to complete. We are not comfortable handling contested actions as you may need to have legal advice, which by law we are unable to give.