To end your marriage in Utah, you can obtain a divorce from a Utah court, and this process begins when you file your divorce paperwork at your local court. You can create your own divorce papers, hire an attorney to draft them for you or use an online legal documentation service to prepare your paperwork.
You must have a reason for your divorce -- called grounds for divorce. In Utah, possible grounds include adultery, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect and irreconcilable differences. A divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences is considered a “no-fault” divorce, in which neither spouse must prove the other is at fault for the divorce. Other grounds are considered “fault” grounds; a spouse who files for divorce on fault grounds must provide evidence to support her case. For example, if you file for divorce based on adultery, you must be able to prove to the court that your spouse had an adulterous affair.
A divorce case begins when one spouse, the petitioner, files a divorce complaint and filing fee with the local clerk of court. The petitioner spouse cannot file the complaint until at least one of the spouses has been a Utah resident for at least three months immediately before the complaint is filed. The complaint must include details of your marriage, such as when you were married and the names of your children, as well as the grounds for the divorce and proposed terms of the divorce decree. Terms may include property division, spousal support, child support and child custody.
Once you file your complaint, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the forms you filed with the court. Typically, a sheriff or constable can serve your spouse if she doesn’t agree to the divorce, but there is an additional fee to have someone serve the papers. If you don’t know where your spouse is, you can ask the court for permission to provide notice to your spouse by mailing the papers to a relative or last known address, or by publication in a newspaper. If your spouse agrees to the terms of the divorce, she can sign an Acceptance and Waiver document, stating she is not contesting the divorce.
The court may require additional paperwork, depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if you have children with your current spouse, you must provide a child support worksheet detailing your finances along with a certificate of attendance, verifying that you attended required parental education classes. If you and your spouse agree to the terms of the divorce, the judge will likely sign your divorce decree, without requiring either of you to appear at a hearing.