Divorce in Utah if your spouse lives in another state

Getting a divorce becomes a cumbersome process when one of the couples relocates to another state. Sometimes it could be that one of the spouses has just moved to another state after separating. In other scenarios, the couple has actually been residing in different states for several years since separation.

All in all, even if the couple is living in different states, they can still end their marriage legally. Whether you are living in the state of Utah or any other state, filing for divorce should not be a major concern for you. With the right legal representatives, it should be a straightforward process. 

How to File for Divorce When Spouses Reside in different States

The divorce process varies according to the state in which the formal plea is being made. Factors such as property division and child custody play a critical role in the formalization of the divorce. When a couple meets the residence requirements for two different states, they will have the option of which state to file. In this regard, familiarizing yourself with the laws and basic processes for both states could be a great benefit. For example, one state may have a mandatory waiting time before a divorce decree can be signed, higher filing fees, or different laws about property division and maintenance.

Tofile for a divorce in Utah, one of the spouses must reside in a single county within Utah for at least 3 months immediately before the petition is filed. If custody of a minor child is an issue, usually the child must reside with at least one of the parents in Utah for at least six months, but there are exceptions.

· Filing for Divorce in Utah:

The divorce process in Utah is pretty straightforward, but before starting there are some things you should consider, like whether you and your spouse will work together to reach a compromise on all the issues of your case to do an uncontested divorce. If your case is uncontested, it will greatly simplify the process and save you lots of time and money. If you are unable or unwilling to negotiate the terms of the divorce, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can assist you through the process and fight for your best interests.

In any case, the next step is preparing your divorce forms. If you are doing a DIY divorce without an attorney, Utah has the option to prepare the petition and other forms needed in your case online through their Online Court Assistance Program.The site even has instructions to assist you with filling out the forms. If you don’t not feel comfortable with doing your own paperwork, online divorce service is available to do the paperwork preparation for you, usually within 48 hours, starting at $139. For more complicated cases you could hire an attorney to complete the paperwork for you.

Whatever method you choose, you will need to sign your completed forms in the presence of a Notary then file them at the Clerk of Court’s office in the county being used for the proceeding. The Clerk will charge you a $318 filing fee.

· Notification: After filing your petition, your partner has to be served with the divorce papers. Once they are served, your spouse will have 21 days to respond to the complaint. If they live out of state, they will have 30 days to respond. Failure to respond will result in the judge grant the petition by default.

In their response, your spouse could contest the case or they could sign a stipulation agreement accepting the terms in the petition allowing it be an uncontested divorce. If the divorce is moving forward as uncontested, the whole case can be settled without even stepping into the courtroom. In Utah there is a 30 day mandatory wait period. After the waiting period has passed the judge will sign your final order officially ending your marriage.

If the case is contested, it will continue through the following steps.

· Preliminary Hearing: This initial sitting involves a meeting between the spouses, their lawyers, and a judge. A preliminary hearing is usually meant to handle matters that are urgent and cannot wait until the trial period of the case. Examples of things handled under preliminary hearing include requesting temporary child support, request for the exclusive use of the marital home, and requests made with respect to insurance.

· Negotiations, Mediation, and Agreements: At this juncture, all parties may decide to solve their differences by mediation, negotiation, or other types of dispute resolution. This involves peaceful interaction that leads to a conclusive solution. If couples can settle their issues during this stage, they could avoid trial and save a lot of time and money.

· Trial: Issues that could not be solved through negotiations are addressed through a trial. Each spouse will present their arguments followed by concrete evidence and witnesses as support. A trial is not recommended due to the high costs that result from this stage of the divorce process.

· After Trial Issues: Almost all issues are solved and settled by the trial. However, there might be additional legal issues after the trial like appeals and child custody changes. Any emerging issues following the trial could result in additional expenses and fees.

What Do I Need to Do to File for Divorce If My Spouse is Currently Residing in a Different State?

There is no problem with having your spouse live outside the state you are in. While preparing the divorce papers, if your spouse lives in a different state, you will have to check the divorce residency requirements for each individual state. It may be possible to file for divorce in a different state to the one in which you got married. You just have to meet the specific residency requirements for that state.

It is important to file the divorce in the state that offers you the most favorable and fastest resolution. Keep in mind that your spouse might be looking to file too. The divorce which is filed and served first is the one that proceeds to court, so put the ball in your court by filing first. If your spouse opts to file the divorce process first, he or she will have to meet all residency requirements of the current state they are residing.

All in all, it should not be a problem to file for a divorce if your spouse lives in a different state.

Can My Spouse Move Out of State While a Divorce is Pending?

It is common for spouses to live outside Utah after separating. Doing so, however, may cause problems in terms of filing for the formal divorce process and reaching the final resolutions. The state of Utah recommends that spouses filing for divorce remain in the state in which the divorce petition has been made.

The time taken to establish a permanent residency varies from state to state. In the state of Utah, the period usually ranges from six months to one year. Spouses are allowed to work outside Utah while establishing their new residency. You have to be living in the state if you are trying to establish residency elsewhere.

Are Divorces in a Different State Valid?

Divorces outside Utah are legal and valid subject to fulfillment of all legal aspects regarding child custody and residency.  It’s advised for concerned people to hire a lawyer to handle your out of state divorce procedures. This could be done by consulting a divorce attorney over the internet. A professional attorney will help to educate you on essential necessities needed to achieve the state’s required residency requirements.

 The Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce in a Different State

Each state has different regulations regarding the divorce proceeding, custody, maintenance, and property division. So if you have the option of filing in two different states, and the state in which you don’t currently reside offers most favorable terms for your situation, that can be a good reason for filing for divorce in a different state.

Some common issues that are prevalent with filing a divorce in a different state include:

· Does your state offer no-fault divorce? All states in the US allow no-fault divorce, and this is the easiest type of divorces case as neither spouse will have to prove the fault of the other for the dissolution of the marriage. 

· Does your state have lower filing fees? Filing fees vary from state to state.

· Does your state handle property distribution? Each state has specific laws that govern how property is to be distributed. It can either be communal distribution or equitable distribution of property. In the first case, the property is divided equally. In the later case, marital property is distributed in a fair and appropriate manner, which is not necessarily equal. If your spouse who is out of state lives in community property, this is particularly advantageous to the former spouse.

· How does the state handle Child support? Every state has its own ways of calculating child support and other forms of alimony payments. Some states have strict policies, while others have a simplified procedure for handling this. 

Concerning traveling and other interstate regulations, it is wise to file the divorce plea in your own state. Take the initiative to file first, as opposed to your separated partner filing in a different state.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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