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Utah Information

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Utah Divorce Laws And Procedures

(a) What are the Grounds for Divorce in Utah?

The grounds for divorce in Utah include:

  1. impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage;
  2. adultery committed by the respondent subsequent to marriage;
  3. willful desertion of the petitioner by the respondent for more than one year;
  4. willful neglect of the respondent to provide for the petitioner the common necessaries of life;
  5. habitual drunkenness of the respondent;
  6. conviction of the respondent for a felony;
  7. cruel treatment of the petitioner by the respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the petitioner;
  8. irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
  9. incurable insanity; or
  10. when the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.

(b) Is a Plaintiff Required to Appear in Court and Give Testimony if a Divorce is Uncontested?

Pursuant to Rule 104 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, in lieu of appearing in court, a plaintiff may request that a judgment of divorce be entered on the basis of an affidavit setting forth the facts:

A party in a divorce case may apply for entry of a decree without a hearing in cases in which the opposing party fails to make a timely appearance after service of process or other appropriate notice, waives notice, stipulates to the withdrawal of the answer, or stipulates to the entry of the decree or entry of default. An affidavit in support of the decree shall accompany the application. The affidavit shall contain evidence sufficient to support necessary findings of fact and a final judgment.

(c) Does Utah Have Residency Requirements or a Mandatory Waiting Period for Divorce Cases?


Either you or your spouse must be an actual, bona fide resident of Utah for at last 3 months in order to obtain a judgment of divorce. In addition, pursuant to Section 30-3-18 of the Utah Code, a judgment of divorce may not be entered by the court until 90 days have elapsed from the filing of the divorce complaint. The waiting period does not apply if both parties have taken the mandatory educational course for divorcing parents. (Utah Code – Sections: 30-3-1, 30-3-18)

(d) How Much Time Do I Have to Serve My Answer to a Utah Divorce Complaint?

The time period for answering a divorce complaint in Utah is set forth in Rule 12 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. If you were served within the State of Utah, you have 20 days to serve your answer. If you were served outside of the State of Utah, you have 30 days to serve your answer to the divorce complaint. At your option, your answer may include a counterclaim for divorce.

Summary of Utah Law Relating to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO's)

In general, retirement assets which were acquired during a marriage constitute marital property that are divided between the spouses when a marriage ends in divorce. The most common retirement assets include: Pension plan through an employer, IRA, Roth IRA, 401k, Military Retirement, Railroad Retirement, Federal Civil Service Retirement, and State Retirement.

As a general rule, each spouse is entitled to half of the retirement investments which were created during the marriage, regardless of who created them and/or which spouse has "title".

The formula used by the Utah courts for dividing retirement assets is derived from the Utah Supreme Court's decision in the case of Woodward v. Woodward, 656 P.2d 431, 433-34 (Utah 1982). Typically, the judge will multiply one-half of the value of the account by the number of years married and divide that by the total number of years the employee worked. However, other factors, including the date on which the parties' separated, or misconduct by one of the spouses, can affect the manner in which a retirement asset (or any other marital asset) is divided).

Once a final decree of divorce is entered, and if a retirement account is to be split or transferred to the other spouse, a special order must be created called a Qualified Domestics Relations Order, or QDRO for short. Utah QDRO forms are available for download online. The following websites provide qualified domestic relations orders that are accepted by the Utah courts:




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