- What is no-fault divorce?
- Alternatives to no-fault divorce
- How long it takes
- How much it costs
To kick off your divorce case in Utah, you must provide a reason (or grounds) for the split. Sometimes, people feel those triggers for divorce are too embarrassing or personal to share. There is another way. Utah allows for a no-fault divorce, in which you keep your private issues private and simply attribute your divorce to an irretrievable breakdown of your union.
What is a no-fault divorce?
In a no-fault divorce, couples cite irreconcilable differences as the divorce trigger. They offer no evidence of wrongdoing and no other details. Instead, they state that the marriage is over and can’t be fixed. The split moves forward accordingly.
Utah offers a fault divorce option, too. Instead of citing irreconcilable differences on your divorce forms, you could discuss (and prepare to prove) something your partner did that broke your union permanently.
Are there alternatives to a no-fault divorce in Utah?
Instead of using the no-fault divorce option, you can cite reasons for the split. Approved grounds for divorce in Utah include the following:
- Impotence at the time of marriage
- Willful desertion lasting more than a year
- Willful neglect to provide common necessities
- Habitual drunkenness
- Felony convictions
- Separate households lasting three consecutive years
If you cite these grounds, you must be prepared to defend them. That could mean offering witnesses, providing doctors’ records, or gathering arrest-related documents. Prepare for your partner to challenge your accounts and discuss them in court.
Why does Utah have a no-fault divorce law?
Utah’s laws protect your privacy during divorce. Your original petition, in which you cite your grounds, is private. Few people, aside from you and your lawyer, can see it. But any reasons you outline in your document will be discussed in court.
Outlining issues like your partner’s impotence, infidelity, drunkenness, or cruelty can be both embarrassing and traumatizing. Getting proof that these issues are true isn’t easy, either. Claiming a no-fault divorce and citing irreconcilable differences can help you move forward while preserving your dignity.
A no-fault option also makes administering Utah’s property laws easier. Your judge must make sure your after-divorce arrangements are fair to both sides. If your split is truly collaborative, setting fault aside allows you to dig into an equitable division of your property. Your judge will likely approve those plans quickly.
Can one spouse stop the divorce from happening?
Your spouse can’t stop your Utah divorce from happening. Whether they don’t respond at all or argue with each point in court, the split will still progress. Once you file paperwork, nothing stops the divorce process unless you halt the case personally.
Your spouse can slow your split significantly, however. For example, they could use every opportunity to delay respondent paperwork. By hanging onto documents like your original petition and filing a return at the very last minute, your spouse could potentially extend the timeline of your divorce significantly.
Refusing to collaborate with you can also slow your progress. Your spouse may try to push you into court to make sure you spend as much time married as possible.
A no-fault divorce can seem like an olive branch to a volatile spouse. Instead of discussing that person’s faults in court, you’re protecting your privacy as a family. That could encourage your partner to work with you.
Benefits of a no-fault divorce in Utah
Why should you choose a no-fault divorce, even when other grounds might apply? Plenty of compelling reasons exist.
A no-fault option comes with the following benefits:
- Kindness: Your spouse may see your approach as a type of truce. Instead of airing private problems, you’re keeping the family’s issues close. This step could preserve your relationship and make your future more collaborative.
- Speed: While your spouse may want to fight in court to remove the taint of something like drunkenness, a no-fault divorce doesn’t come with stigma. Your spouse may fight you less as a result.
- Ease: You don’t need to prove anything when you cite irreconcilable differences. You may need experts to help you convince a judge that other issues are true.
- Expense: Quick divorces completed by collaborating spouses are less costly than long court battles.
How long does a no-fault divorce in Utah take?
Any divorce in Utah, whether you cite grounds or use the no-fault option, takes at least 30 days. The clock starts ticking the day you file your original petition.
But if you can’t work constructively with your partner, your divorce will take longer. Contested cases that go all the way to court can take months to complete. In some counties, a backlog of divorces could mean waiting a long time for your final hearing.
Work with your partner as carefully and professionally as you can. The work you do to keep the peace will ensure you don’t waste time trying to finish your divorce. Citing irreconcilable differences may help.
How much does it cost?
Filing for divorce, no matter what grounds you cite, requires a $325 filing fee in Utah. Additional expenses, including those involved with mandatory classes, apply to both types of divorces.
But a fault divorce involving a court is much more expensive. Lawyers can charge thousands of dollars to help you. And some experts ask for money to testify on your behalf. Using a no-fault divorce could save you money.
Utah Code, Title 30, Chapter 3, Section 1. (1997). Utah State Legislature.
Non-Public Records. Utah State Courts.
Divorce. Utah State Courts.
Roadmap for Divorce Cases. Utah State Courts.
Filing/Record Fees (Court Filing, Transcript, and Record Fees). Utah State Courts.