Orem Divorce Attorneys Protect Your Parental and Property Rights
Personal attention and aggressive litigation focused on results
If you are contemplating divorce in Orem or have been served divorce papers, Skabelund Wirig & Loos can help. We are experienced family law attorneys and skilled trial lawyers who give you professional representation and very personal attention. Our primary goal is to help you protect what is yours, whether that means your property, your financial security, or your relationship with your children. We are determined to provide focused attention throughout the process and to deliver the best possible results.
Guarding your rights in a Utah divorce
Utah family law provides a few remedies when a marriage is not working. A legal separation allows you and your spouse to settle your ancillary issues as you would in a final divorce, but the marriage is not dissolved, and neither spouse is free to remarry. This is a remedy for couples who have a moral objection to divorce or need to remain married for the sake of spousal benefits. Another possibility is an annulment, which declares the marriage null and void. Annulment requires proof of a defect in the formation of the marriage that has not been cured since. When a marriage is annulled, it’s as if the parties had never been wed.
The last possibility is the most common. Final divorce dissolves a valid marriage and settles all ancillary issues:
- Alimony — Under Utah law, either spouse can petition the court for spousal support. Courts can award alimony temporarily during the divorce process and place an order in the divorce decree for continued payments for a period of time, not to exceed the length of the marriage.
- Child custody — Utah recognizes two types of custody: legal, the authority to make decisions for the child’s welfare, and physical, the right to have a child live with you at your residence. Either type of custody can be joint (shared) or sole (exclusive to one parent).
- Child support — The state recognizes the child’s right to receive support from both parents.
- Division of property — Utah is an equitable distribution state for the purposes of dividing marital assets and debt. Spouses may keep their own separate property, but the court divides the marital estate in a manner that is fair but not necessarily equal.
When settling your divorce, it is important to obtain terms you can live with. Courts allow modifications of divorce decrees only if you can show a substantial change in circumstances. However, it is almost impossible for an alimony recipient to get an increase in support at a later date, and a court will not revisit the division of property without extraordinary circumstances, such as fraud and misrepresentation during the divorce.
Basics of the Utah divorce process
To qualify for divorce in Utah, you or your spouse must have been a resident in a single county in the state for at least three months. If child custody is an issue in your divorce, then usually the child or children must have resided with at least one of the parents in Utah for at least six months. No-fault divorce is available by citing irreconcilable differences, or a petitioner may cite traditional fault grounds:
- Impotence since the formation of the marriage
- Willful desertion for more than one year
- Willful neglect
- Habitual drunkenness
- Felony conviction
- Cruel treatment causing bodily injury or great mental distress
- Incurable insanity
- Living separately under a decree of separate maintenance for three consecutive years without cohabitation
The divorce process begins officially when the petitioner files a Complaint with the court that asks for a dissolution of marriage. Subsequent steps include:
- Service of process — The Petitioner must arrange for a third party to serve the Respondent spouse with a copy of the Complaint and a Court Summons.
- Respondent spouse’s Answer — The Respondent spouse has 21 days to file an Answer if service occurred within Utah and 30 days to file if served outside the state. If the Respondent fails to file an Answer, the court may issue a default judgment, giving the Petitioner what was requested in the Complaint. The Respondent may file a Stipulation, agreeing to the terms of the Complaint or stating the parties have reached agreement on the terms of a divorce decree. Alternatively, the Respondent may file an Answer contesting the Complaint in whole or in part.
- Waiting period — Utah law requires that 90 days pass from the filing of the Petition before the court can issue a divorce decree.
- Divorce education classes — Mandatory if there are minor children.
- Mediation — Mandatory process if the parties are contesting any issues. In mediation, a neutral third party works with the spouses to reach a workable compromise of divorce issues, such as child custody and parenting time, alimony, child support, and the division of the couple’s property.
- Temporary orders — Either party may request an order for temporary child custody or parenting time, child support, alimony, possession of the family home, or any other appropriate protection.
- Trial — If the parties have not reached a settlement on the issues of their divorce, unresolved issues go to trial. In Utah, the records of divorce proceedings in court are not made public.
The length of a divorce varies depending on the complexity of the issues and the willingness of the parties to work cooperatively to achieve a reasonable settlement. Trial on any issues increases the expense and the time needed. The minimum length of time to divorce under Utah law is 90 days, but courts can waive the waiting period for special circumstances.
Contact our aggressive and attentive divorce lawyers in Orem, UT
At Skabelund Wirig & Loos, our divorce lawyers protect what’s yours: your property, your income, and your relationship with your children. To speak with a dedicated family law attorney, call 801-788-4447 or contact our Orem office online to schedule a free consultation.