Starting a Divorce Action


When To File an Answer

When considering fling divorce papers in Utah, seek a free consultation from an attorney as soon as possible. Any documents that do not meet the requirements of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure could be dismissed by the Judge.

Party Identification

In family law actions, each party is designated as either the “Petitioner” or “Respondent.”  The Petitioner is the one who files a divorce complaint with the Court.   The Respondent is the one who is  served.

Filing the Complaint

Any complaint for divorce you wish to file must to be filed in a county where either party has resided for approximately three (3) months. The complaint will outline the relief that the Petitioner is requesting and usually identifies:

  1. The length of marriage;
  2. The date of separation;
  3. The reasons for divorce;
  4. Who gets custody of any minor children:
  5. A proposed division of the Parties’ assets and real property;
  6. Requests for alimony and retirement benefits; and
  7. Attorney’s fees and costs.

Serving the Complaint

In Utah, the Court requires that the Petitioner must serve the Respondent with a copy of the complaint for divorce filed in any Court.  The complaint must be served upon or received by the Respondent within 120 days from the date is was filed. The Respondent can be served by several means:

  1. By a Process Serve:
  2. By Certified Mail; and
  3. By Personal Service.

The Answer

In Utah, in-state residents have 21 days to file an answer and out-of-state residents have 30 days.  If an answer is not received by the Court, the Respondent could be defaulted (which means the Petitioner is given everything requested in a divorce complaint.)