Bonneville Legal:

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a divorce take in Utah?

The length of time depends on a number of factors. If everyone is in agreement on the terms of the divorce, it can happen relatively quickly. Effective May 8th, 2018, the mandatory waiting period was shortened from 90 days to 30 days, (Utah Code). It runs from the date the petition is filed to the day the judge can officially sign the order. This waiting period can be waived under certain circumstances, but you can expect that it will be at least a month before a divorce can be finalized. 

When parties cannot agree to terms regarding custody, assets, alimony or otherwise, divorces can turn into a lengthy process. Bonneville Legal will do everything in our power to facilitate this process as quickly as possible.

Is everything split 50/50 in a divorce in Utah?

There is a presumption under Utah law that everything acquired during the marriage should be split equally. This applies to both assets and debts. There are exceptions to this general rule, however. Assets that are acquired through gift or inheritance during the marriage are generally treated as separate property of which the other spouse does not have an interest, unless they are commingled with marital assets. Premarital assets are also generally treated as separate property unless they are commingled with marital assets. For instance, if a spouse has a bank account with $10,000 in it on the date of the marriage, and that money sits in a separate account for ten years before one spouse files for divorce, it would generally be treated as a separate asset. Another exception to the general rule is student loan debt. Generally, the party who received the benefit of the education takes on the debt after the marriage ends. 

Is my spouse entitled to my retirement accounts?

If the retirement funds were acquired during the marriage, then generally yes. If one spouse sets up a new retirement account during the marriage, then generally the other spouse is entitled to half of the funds in the account as it is valued at the date of trial. However, if there was a premarital retirement account, that is treated separately. For instance, if a spouse had a retirement account with $10,000 in it on the date of the marriage, that account (and its growth) would be treated as separate property while the contributions during the marriage would be treated as marital property.

It should be noted that pensions are treated separately. Pensions are typically divided using the Woodward formula which essentially gives the other spouse half of the value of the account, but only for the years worked during the marriage. For example, if a pension has a value of $40,000 and it was based on 20 years of employment, only ten of which were during the marriage, then the other spouse would be entitled to $10,000. 

How much does a divorce in Utah cost?

The cost of a divorce greatly depends on the individual circumstances of each case. If parties are in agreement on all terms and there are no children involved, Bonneville Legal can handle the case on a flat fee basis of $1,500 (excluding the court’s filing fee). On the other hand, if parties are particularly acrimonious, it could take tens of thousands of dollars. We find on average that a divorce takes approximately 25 hours of work, in the range of $6,000 – $9,000. Clients usually come to us with a variety of issues that need to be resolved, such as parent time, alimony, and the division of assets and debts

What are the requirements?

In order to get a divorce in Utah, one or both parties must be an actual and bonafide resident of Utah and the county in which the divorce petition is filed for at least 3 months immediately preceding the filing of that petition. In order for the court to have jurisdiction over child and parent time, the child must have resided in the state of Utah with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least 6 months immediately preceding the petition. 

What is the timeline for a typical divorce?

The first step is for one of the spouses to file a Petition for Decree of Divorce. The petition must be personally served on the other party. Once served, the other party has 21 days to file an answer. If the other party doesn’t respond, then the Petitioner can ask for a default judgment where the court ultimately enters a Decree of Divorce based on the specific relief requested in the petition. If an answer is filed, then it becomes a contested divorce. At this point there is an option to proceed directly to mediation or file a motion for temporary orders if one of the parties needs immediate relief related to child custody, parent-time, alimony, possession of assets (e.g. who is entitled to reside in the marital home pending trial), etc.

Typically cases resolve at mediation. If mediation is successful, then typically a stipulation and settlement agreement is signed at the end of the mediation which will determine each party’s rights, duties, and obligations. After that, one of the attorneys will draft the documents necessary to finalize the divorce and send them to the other party’s attorney for approval as to form. From there, the documents will be submitted to the Court with the divorce being made final once the Judge signs the proposed Decree of Divorce. This process typically takes 3-6 months in total. If mediation is unsuccessful, then a trial date will need to be set. It usually takes more than a year to take a case to trial due to a variety of factors. 

Office Location:

2825 E. Cottonwood Parkway Suite 500
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

Bonneville Legal

Office Location:

2825 E. Cottonwood Parkway
Suite 500
Cottonwood Heights, UT 8412