It is often said that the decision to divorce a spouse, whether the marriage was of short or long duration, is one of most difficult and stressful decisions a person will ever have to make. Successfully navigating the divorce court process requires clear thinking, experience and time. as the outcome will have an effect on the lives of children, parents and even grandparents for years to come.
It is at this critical juncture, that the advice of a seasoned professional can be most beneficial to you, a potential client, T.R. Spencer & Associates, P.C. can help you get through this process with a minimum of stress.
Initial Client Meeting: This is the initial in-person contact between you, the client, and your attorney. During this meeting your attorney will collect the necessary information from you on items such as custody, child support, visitation, alimony, debt division and asset division required to draft the Complaint. It is often helpful to bring documents such as year-to-date pay stubs and recent tax returns with you to this meeting.
Preparation of the Complaint: A Complaint is basically a list of requests or demands. All issues related to the divorce, such as child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, asset division and debt division are included in separate paragraphs of this document. The filing fee associated with the Complaint is about $360.00.
Service of the Complaint: Court rules require the party initiating a divorce action, or the Petitioner; serve a copy or the divorce Complaint on the other party, or the Respondent. This service is accomplished by a Court approved Constable. The service fee is approximately $100.00.
Answer to Complaint: The Respondent has at least 20 days from the date of Service to file an Answer to the Divorce Complaint. This Answer must include a response to each individual paragraph contained in the Divorce Complaint.
Temporary Orders: In a divorce matter, either party can request from the Judge or Commissioner assigned to your case "temporary relief." This temporary relief request is done in the form of a signed document entitled "Motion for Temporary Orders" which contains information similar to the Divorce Complaint. It takes approximately three to six weeks after the Motion for Temporary Orders is filed for a hearing to be held by the Court.
Discovery: Discovery is the collection of information from the other party to the divorce action as well as from third parties. These requests must be made in writing and the party seeking the information must allow at least 30 days for responses to the requested information to be provided.
Pretrial: Once the case is ready for trial, either party may seek a pretrial with the assigned Court Commissioner or Judge. A pretrial hearing will he held approximately three to six weeks after a written request is made, and both parties will be required to attend. At the pretrial, the Judge or Commissioner will attempt to resolve any outstanding disputes. If these disputes cannot he resolved, a list of disputed issues is prepared and sent to the Trial Judge for final resolution at Trial.
Trial: All unresolved or disputed issues certified from the Pretrial are resolved by the assigned Judge, after hearing live testimony from the parties and other witnesses.
Mediation: Mediation is a process that is required in Divorce Cases in the State of Utah. Mediation is an alternate dispute resolution facilitative process that empowers the parties to resolve the dispute on their own terms. Please see the mediation Tab of this website for detailed information.
Utah law requires at least one session of divorce mediation in any contested divorce. (click here for Utah Court information on mandatory mediation)
If you and your spouse agree on custody, parent time, child support, alimony and division of assets, you should use the court's self-help divorce program. (click here for Utah Court's Online filing)
If you believe you and your spouse are close to agreement and could work out your differences with a mediator that is also a viable option. (click here to find a Utah mediator and Utah Court Mediation Program information)
However, if you and your spouse are unable to communicate effectively and resolve your differences, both of you should consult attorneys to explore further options.
The Attorney's at TR SPencer & Associates, P.C. do not offer free in-person consultations. However, an attorney would be happy to discuss your individual situation during a short telephone consultation. If you would like an in-person consultation to further discuss your particular situation, you may also call to arrange an appointment.