Divorce.
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Divorce.
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Utah Divorce Attorneys

     Divorce is difficult. It is an emotionally draining process that can bring up feelings of anger, fear, resentment. If you’re considering divorce, you’re probably at the point where you’ve concluded that you and your spouse are not going to be able to “work it out.” There is no simple way to put it; divorce is tough. Now is the time when you need someone to trust. You need someone who has your best interests in mind. We can be that someone for you. 

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Divorce
Child Custody
Child Support
Alimony
Parental Rights

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Our Offices:
Bountiful
Salt Lake City
Murray
South Jordan

The Utah Divorce Process

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally difficult process.  Add on to this the complexities of the legal system and the process may start to seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. The key is to stay positive, create a plan, and stick to it. You must learn your rights, and the best way to learn them is by hiring an experienced divorce attorney. You should look for an attorney who will listen to you, support you, and will be there for you when you need it.

When filing for a divorce, multiple different legal issues need to be resolved, such as how property will be divided, whether alimony is appropriate, and who will have custody of the children and who will pay child support. Because of the many different legal issues involved in a divorce, it is always best to hire an attorney to help guide you through the legal process. While the legal issues involved in any given case will depend on the facts of that specific case, here is a general guide about how to go about filing for divorce when there are no children involved.

Step One: Petitioner Completes the Documents

The first step in any divorce proceeding begins with completing documents. The petitioner (the person seeking the divorce) will be the one to fill out the documents to get the process started. 

The initial documents that the petitioner must complete include the following:

  • Cover Sheet for Civil Actions
  • Department of Health Form 
  • Verified Complaint for Divorce
  • Summons

Step Two: Petitioner Files the Documents with the Court and Serves the Documents on the Respondent

The second step requires the petitioner to takes the documents that they just finished completing and file them with the appropriate court. Under Utah law, the appropriate court is the court of the county in which you or your spouse resides. The petitioner can either mail in these forms or hand-deliver the forms to the county clerk. If the petitioner chooses to mail the forms, it is recommended by the court that the petitioner use registered mail to guarantee receipt of delivery.

After the originals have been filed with the court, the petitioner must “serve” these documents on the respondent (the other spouse) within 120 days from the date the original documents were filed. The petitioner can either hire a private process server, hand the documents to the respondent in person, or seek the help of the sheriff’s office.

Step Three: Respondent Files an “Answer” to the Divorce Petition

After the respondent has received the divorce documents, they have 21 days (if they were served the documents in Utah; 30 days if served outside of Utah) to respond to the divorce petition. The response that the respondent files with the court is known as the “Answer.” If the respondent fails to file an answer within the timeframe allotted, the petitioner may ask for a default judgment. A default judgment means that the petitioner will get everything they asked for in the divorce petition.

In filing the Answer, the respondent can contest any issues or facts that are raised in the initial divorce petition that was filed by the petitioner. The respondent may also file a stipulation in writing to the petition and the divorce decree. This means that the respondent is agreeing to everything in the petitioner’s original documents and is not going to contest any of the issues. If this occurs, after the stipulation is filed, the court will review the documents to ensure that they comply with the law, and if so, will issue the divorce decree without any changes.

Step Four: Both Parties File a Financial Declaration

If the respondent files an Answer with the court contesting any of the issues or facts, both parties will then be required to file a Financial Declaration with the court. A Financial Declaration is a document that discloses any assets and debts that are held by each spouse. This is necessary because it will help the court determine how property and debts should be divided between the spouses and whether alimony should be awarded following the divorce.

Step Five: Wait

Under Utah law, there is a required 90-day waiting period between the date that the petition is originally filed and the date that the decree is signed. Either spouse may file a document with the court asking the court to waive the waiting period, however, the court will only grant this if there are extraordinary circumstances.

Step Six: Mediation and Pre-trial Conferences

If, after all of the documents have been filed with the court, there are still contested issues between the spouses, the court will order mandatory mediation. At least one mediation session will be required in an attempt to resolve these contested issues without having to go to trial, however, further mediation sessions may be required or requested depending on the case. Either spouse may request that the mediation requirement be waived.

If there are still contested issues have the mediation sessions, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference with the spouses as a last attempt at settling the case before trial.

Step Seven: Trial

If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement about what the divorce decree should say, the case will go to trial. During a trial, the court will hear from both parties concerning the issues that are contested and will then make a final decision.

Step Eight: Divorce Decree

A divorce decree must be signed by a judge before the divorce becomes final. The judge can sign a divorce decree at any time during the process if the spouses can agree to the terms of the agreement. Oftentimes, a divorce decree will be created by the spouses and submitted to the court for approval and signing. However, if the case goes to trial, the judge will write the final divorce decree, which will include his final decisions concerning the issues that were presented at trial. The divorce decree typically contains provisions allocating all of the assets between the two spouses, allocating repayment of any debts between the spouses, ordering any alimony payments, and stating that the two parties are officially divorced.

The Utah Divorce Process

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally difficult process.  Add on to this the complexities of the legal system and the process may start to seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. The key is to stay positive, create a plan, and stick to it. You must learn your rights, and the best way to learn them is by hiring an experienced divorce attorney. You should look for an attorney who will listen to you, support you, and will be there for you when you need it.

When filing for a divorce, multiple different legal issues need to be resolved, such as how property will be divided, whether alimony is appropriate, and who will have custody of the children and who will pay child support. Because of the many different legal issues involved in a divorce, it is always best to hire an attorney to help guide you through the legal process. While the legal issues involved in any given case will depend on the facts of that specific case, here is a general guide about how to go about filing for divorce when there are no children involved.

Divorce Step One: Petitioner Completes the Documents

The first step in any divorce proceeding begins with completing documents. The petitioner (the person seeking the divorce) will be the one to fill out the documents to get the process started. 

The initial documents that the petitioner must complete include the following:

  • Cover Sheet for Civil Actions
  • Department of Health Form 
  • Verified Complaint for Divorce
  • Summons

Step Two: Petitioner Files the Documents with the Court and Serves the Documents on the Respondent

The second step requires the petitioner to takes the documents that they just finished completing and file them with the appropriate court. Under Utah law, the appropriate court is the court of the county in which you or your spouse resides. The petitioner can either mail in these forms or hand-deliver the forms to the county clerk. If the petitioner chooses to mail the forms, it is recommended by the court that the petitioner use registered mail to guarantee receipt of delivery.

After the originals have been filed with the court, the petitioner must “serve” these documents on the respondent (the other spouse) within 120 days from the date the original documents were filed. The petitioner can either hire a private process server, hand the documents to the respondent in person, or seek the help of the sheriff’s office.

Step Three: Respondent Files an “Answer” to the Divorce Petition

After the respondent has received the divorce documents, they have 21 days (if they were served the documents in Utah; 30 days if served outside of Utah) to respond to the divorce petition. The response that the respondent files with the court is known as the “Answer.” If the respondent fails to file an answer within the timeframe allotted, the petitioner may ask for a default judgment. A default judgment means that the petitioner will get everything they asked for in the divorce petition.

In filing the Answer, the respondent can contest any issues or facts that are raised in the initial divorce petition that was filed by the petitioner. The respondent may also file a stipulation in writing to the petition and the divorce decree. This means that the respondent is agreeing to everything in the petitioner’s original documents and is not going to contest any of the issues. If this occurs, after the stipulation is filed, the court will review the documents to ensure that they comply with the law, and if so, will issue the divorce decree without any changes.

Step Four: Both Parties File a Financial Declaration

If the respondent files an Answer with the court contesting any of the issues or facts, both parties will then be required to file a Financial Declaration with the court. A Financial Declaration is a document that discloses any assets and debts that are held by each spouse. This is necessary because it will help the court determine how property and debts should be divided between the spouses and whether alimony should be awarded following the divorce.

Step Five: Wait

Under Utah law, there is a required 90-day waiting period between the date that the petition is originally filed and the date that the decree is signed. Either spouse may file a document with the court asking the court to waive the waiting period, however, the court will only grant this if there are extraordinary circumstances.

Step Six: Mediation and Pre-trial Conferences

If, after all of the documents have been filed with the court, there are still contested issues between the spouses, the court will order mandatory mediation. At least one mediation session will be required in an attempt to resolve these contested issues without having to go to trial, however, further mediation sessions may be required or requested depending on the case. Either spouse may request that the mediation requirement be waived.

If there are still contested issues have the mediation sessions, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference with the spouses as a last attempt at settling the case before trial.

Step Seven: Trial

If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement about what the divorce decree should say, the case will go to trial. During a trial, the court will hear from both parties concerning the issues that are contested and will then make a final decision.

Step Eight: Divorce Decree

A divorce decree must be signed by a judge before the divorce becomes final. The judge can sign a divorce decree at any time during the process if the spouses can agree to the terms of the agreement. Oftentimes, a divorce decree will be created by the spouses and submitted to the court for approval and signing. However, if the case goes to trial, the judge will write the final divorce decree, which will include his final decisions concerning the issues that were presented at trial. The divorce decree typically contains provisions allocating all of the assets between the two spouses, allocating repayment of any debts between the spouses, ordering any alimony payments, and stating that the two parties are officially divorced.

Our Commitment

     We are committed to providing our clients with exceptional legal services at affordable rates. There are many different lawyers in this world, and your choices seem endless.  But one thing is clear, in today’s market, lawyers should earn your business. They should demand your absolute satisfaction. They should keep you updated on a regular basis. They should listen patiently to you when you just need someone to shoulder your burdens. And, on top of all this, a lawyer should show you respect, loyalty, and competence while keeping your legal matter held in strict confidence. Our attorneys and staff agree with this philosophy, and we each strive to provide this level of service to each and every one of our clients.

Michael K. Hepworth
John W. Murray

Our Commitment

We are committed to providing our clients with exceptional legal services at affordable rates. There are many different lawyers in this world, and your choices seem endless.  But one thing is clear, in today’s market, lawyers should earn your business. They should demand your absolute satisfaction. They should keep you updated on a regular basis. They should listen patiently to you when you just need someone to shoulder your burdens. And, on top of all this, a lawyer should show you respect, loyalty, and competence while keeping your legal matter held in strict confidence. Our attorneys and staff agree with this philosophy, and we each strive to provide this level of service to each and every one of our clients.

Michael K. Hepworth
John W. Murray

I want to tell all of you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Even though I have nothing I have hope and you all to thank for that. Everyday that I have broke down in tears I've continued to pray. That's all I can do. Thank you again.  ~ Ann P.

Ann P.

Jennifer Zeleny is the most AMAZING!! Attorney I have ever heard of,  I am so grateful  to have found her when I did, She is very wise and knowledgeable with knowing the law, she was able to bring my daughter home  from a bad situation within months, when I had been trying for years. I am so amazed by her work that I have referred her  to all of my friends and family members who need an amazing attorney  and anytime I hear of someone needing any legal help because she is and will always be  #1 in my eyes.  Thank…read more

Alisha Jacques

As a court approved mediator, the first time that I met Jennifer Zeleny, I was impressed! She was smart, articulate, gave her client very good legal advice, and knew what she was talking about. She made sure that her client was aware of their legal rights but also balanced an appropriate risk analysis. She explained to her client what it was going to cost not only financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially to proceed with the issues in the case. She made sure that her client was well informed with accurate information and then let her client make their own…read more

Natalie T.

I would highly recommend Jennifer.  I feel that she has listened to my every concern and is very professional.  She is honest and kind and has been a pleasure to work with, Jennifer, I cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work and dedication to my case.  This has been a very long, emotional,  and stressful time for me, and when you took over my case the weight had been lifted. 

B.B.

Jennifer has been wonderful to work with and has been extremely flexible. During the most intense parts of my case she was always available, even late at night. She was incredibly knowledgeable and offered options that I didn't realize were available to me as well as being my voice of reason, knowing when to stand to firm and when to compromise. I look forward to working with Jennifer again, should the need arise.

Jamie P.

My attorney, Jennifer Zeleny, helped me when the courts would or could not.  My 15 year old daughter did not want to live with her dad and was excited to move with me to a new state, when I was offered a promotion.  Even though I have always supported a healthy relationship for her with her dad, he was starting to abuse her emotionally, as he had done me, and his first wife even before me.  Ms. Zeleny helped to take the stress out of a very serious situation and she guided us through the legal process to ensure a…read more

Lisa

Hepworth, Murray & Associates are an extremely professional law firm that has each clients best interest at heart. The entire staff is really great to work with and I highly recommend this firm.

Randy B.

Mike and his team are second to none. They have the expertise to help you. I have known Mike for over 15 years and can speak of his integrity and knowledge. If you are looking for an attorney or law firm in Bountiful, you will be glad you called this office.

Local Business

Mike Hepworth is a great attorney and has the gift of thinking on his feet. This talent is one you want when being represented in court, he doesn't miss a thing! He has high integrity and knows the law. If you need an attorney in real estate negotiations, Mike is the guy!

M. C.

I had a friend that needed some help, and they were able to meet within 24 hours time. Great amount of knowledge, experience and professionalism at this office as well. Highly recommend.

James H.

I was so glad to find a law firm that not only had the technical ability to represent me, but also the determination to fight for my rights. Even though my case was quite technical, they had the patience to help me with every step of the difficult process. I was so pleased with my experience, that I have enthusiastically recommended this law firm to MANY of my friends and relatives. I honestly don't believe that there is a tougher bulldog, with a kinder disposition to handle any legal situation.

Terry J.

Working with Ben was great. He is extremely knowledgeable of the law and on top of things. He is very dependable. he helped me through one of the hardest times in my life and I am forever grateful for that.

Staci G.

Recently my husband and I wanted to make changes to our trust. Ben researched our options and then clearly explained our choices. He was patient in his approach as he explained our existing trust and gave us the necessary advice to achieve our goals. -Jan P.

Jan P.

I have known Michael for many years. He is responsive, creative, and smart. In addition, you can rely on his integrity. I heartily endorse him!

Carl Barton, Esq.

I have worked on opposite sides of John on several family law and divorce matters. John has a great reputation among his peers for being an aggressive advocate for his clients while still being professional and reasonable in his approach. Tough, fair, and honest, he is one of the good ones.

Christopher Salcido, Esq.

Most recently Michael helped me on a contract dispute with a major real estate developer and because of his expertise and diligence we prevailed and avoided what might have been a very protracted and expensive legal ordeal. I recommend Michael to anyone needing help in law or Real Estate.

John

I would highly recommend Mike to anybody who needs an attorney. He provided clear understanding of the process. He was very professional and knowledgeable to our needs. He kept us informed about the process. He was also very patient and thorough. We would be very happy to have him handle any business for us. THANKS again.

Christian Nielson

I would highly recommend Michael. He went above and beyond to help us in every possible way. He is very knowledgeable and trustworthy. He kept us informed throughout the entire process, and made us feel like we really mattered. He listened to our every concern and worked very hard to help. He was very patient through out the process and made sure our needs were met. I would recommend Michael to anyone in search of a smart, kind, and trustworthy attorney. Thank you again for your help.

Maranda

Mr. Hepworth is an excellent attorney and I would recommend him to anyone that is facing legal problems. He is very knowledgeable and I would trust him with any of my future legal proceedings. He was always responsive when I had any concerns and legal questions and I am very happy with the way he handled the legal matter.

Anonymous

If you need an attorney, and want an attorney that cares about your case and will fight for your case like it was his own, this is your guy. Take the free consultation and you will see for yourself. I was charged with a DUI and driving on suspension. Both were dropped in exchange for a class c misdemeanor wreck less driving. They worked with me on payments and saved me thousands in the end. I consulted several attorneys and couldn't have been happier with my choice and results.

Mike

I want to tell all of you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Even though I have nothing I have hope and you all to thank for that. Everyday that I have broke down in tears I've continued…read more

Ann P.

Jennifer Zeleny is the most AMAZING!! Attorney I have ever heard of,  I am so grateful  to have found her when I did, She is very wise and knowledgeable with knowing the law, she was able to bring my daughter home …read more

Alisha Jacques

As a court approved mediator, the first time that I met Jennifer Zeleny, I was impressed! She was smart, articulate, gave her client very good legal advice, and knew what she was talking about. She made sure that her client…read more

Natalie T.

I would highly recommend Jennifer.  I feel that she has listened to my every concern and is very professional.  She is honest and kind and has been a pleasure to work with, Jennifer, I cannot thank you enough for all…read more

B.B.

Jennifer has been wonderful to work with and has been extremely flexible. During the most intense parts of my case she was always available, even late at night. She was incredibly knowledgeable and offered options that I didn't realize were…read more

Jamie P.

My attorney, Jennifer Zeleny, helped me when the courts would or could not.  My 15 year old daughter did not want to live with her dad and was excited to move with me to a new state, when I was…read more

Lisa

Hepworth, Murray & Associates are an extremely professional law firm that has each clients best interest at heart. The entire staff is really great to work with and I highly recommend this firm.

Randy B.

Mike and his team are second to none. They have the expertise to help you. I have known Mike for over 15 years and can speak of his integrity and knowledge. If you are looking for an attorney or law…read more

Local Business

Mike Hepworth is a great attorney and has the gift of thinking on his feet. This talent is one you want when being represented in court, he doesn't miss a thing! He has high integrity and knows the law. If…read more

M. C.

I had a friend that needed some help, and they were able to meet within 24 hours time. Great amount of knowledge, experience and professionalism at this office as well. Highly recommend.

James H.

I was so glad to find a law firm that not only had the technical ability to represent me, but also the determination to fight for my rights. Even though my case was quite technical, they had the patience to…read more

Terry J.

Working with Ben was great. He is extremely knowledgeable of the law and on top of things. He is very dependable. he helped me through one of the hardest times in my life and I am forever grateful for that.

Staci G.

Recently my husband and I wanted to make changes to our trust. Ben researched our options and then clearly explained our choices. He was patient in his approach as he explained our existing trust and gave us the necessary advice…read more

Jan P.

I have known Michael for many years. He is responsive, creative, and smart. In addition, you can rely on his integrity. I heartily endorse him!

Carl Barton, Esq.

I have worked on opposite sides of John on several family law and divorce matters. John has a great reputation among his peers for being an aggressive advocate for his clients while still being professional and reasonable in his approach.…read more

Christopher Salcido, Esq.

Most recently Michael helped me on a contract dispute with a major real estate developer and because of his expertise and diligence we prevailed and avoided what might have been a very protracted and expensive legal ordeal. I recommend Michael…read more

John

I would highly recommend Mike to anybody who needs an attorney. He provided clear understanding of the process. He was very professional and knowledgeable to our needs. He kept us informed about the process. He was also very patient and…read more

Christian Nielson

I would highly recommend Michael. He went above and beyond to help us in every possible way. He is very knowledgeable and trustworthy. He kept us informed throughout the entire process, and made us feel like we really mattered. He…read more

Maranda

Mr. Hepworth is an excellent attorney and I would recommend him to anyone that is facing legal problems. He is very knowledgeable and I would trust him with any of my future legal proceedings. He was always responsive when I…read more

Anonymous

If you need an attorney, and want an attorney that cares about your case and will fight for your case like it was his own, this is your guy. Take the free consultation and you will see for yourself. I…read more

Mike

Learn More About Divorce In Utah

     Blog posting is one of the ways we show our commitment to providing you with top notch service. We invite you to scroll through these articles.  Take a minute to learn about the legal issues that are important to you. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to call us and schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can be of service.

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