You and your spouse have just made the tough decision to get a divorce. There is no doubt that this has been a difficult decision to make and many questions are probably on the forefront of your mind. How long does the process take? What are the laws associated with divorce? These are just some of the common questions that you may have. Here are some laws specific to Utah that may affect you during your divorce process.

Residency Laws

Before filing for a divorce in Utah, you or your spouse must reside in a single county for a minimum of three months. If child custody is part of the divorce, the child must reside with at least one of the parents in Utah for a minimum of six months. Note that there are some exceptions to this law if petitioned to the court.

Waiting Period

Utah law requires that a couple wait 30 days between the date the divorce petition is filed and the date the divorce decree is signed. A party can ask for the 30-day waiting period to be waived in extraordinary circumstances.

Divorce Records are Kept Private

In the state of Utah, most court records are available to the public. In April of 2012, Utah passed a law stating that divorce records are only available to the two parties involved and their legal councils. Orders and decrees that are made during the process are available to the public, but all other divorce records are held private.

Mandatory Mediation

Typically, when the divorce petition has been filed, both parties must attend at least one mediation course to resolve any issues before the divorce can move forward. Each party may ask to have this requirement waived, but they must show a reasonable cause in order to do so. Safety concerns or the inability to express oneself are examples of reasonable causes to have the course waived. All requests are sent through the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office.

Divorce Education Classes

If your children are minors, divorce education classes are required. Approved online or in-person courses may be used. The divorce orientation course costs $30 per person and the education course is $35 per person. Fee waivers are available upon prequalification. The petitioner has 60 days to take the orientation class before the divorce petition has been filed. The respondent has 30 days to take the orientation class after being served. Utah also offers a free divorce education course for children between the ages of 9-12. This course is not mandatory.

Name Restoration

If you have legally changed your name while married, you may have it restored to what it was prior to the marriage. A statement in the divorce petition and decree needs to indicate that the spouse is restoring their previous name. The full legal name needs to be included.

Whether you are just thinking about getting a divorce or are in the thick of the process, Utah laws about divorce are crucial to understand. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can make the divorce process much easier for everyone involved.