Divorce in Utah requires mediation

While television shows and movies make it seem as though all divorce cases end up in court, action has been taken in Utah to keep this from actually happening. Since 2005, state law requires couples to seek out divorce mediation prior to ending up in court.

Once a couple enters mediation, it is expected that they and a chosen mediator will work together to iron out an agreement on all terms of the divorce. It is only after all attempts at mediation fail that a court hearing can be scheduled to take care of the matter. In general, there are three separate options available following mediation meetings: no agreement, partial agreement, and full agreement.

When no agreement is reached, the mediator is charged with preparing legal documentation that states the matter at hand. Files are sent to the local courthouse and to each individual's legal representative, after which a court hearing can be scheduled to work out the details. When a partial agreement is reached, the same documentation must be filed; however, there are a few differences. A partial agreement allows the mediator to continue to hear propositions from one or both sides on the issues for which an agreement has not been reached. At the same time, the mediator will file the stipulations agreed upon with the court.

While most parties wish divorce was always amicable, they usually involve emotions and financial concerns that keep that from happening. Mediation can be a great tool to keep separated parties out of court and speed up the overall divorce process. A consultation with an experienced attorney can help shed light on the mediation proceeding and all of its requirements.

Source: utcourts.gov, 'I Have Mediated My Contested Divorce-Now What?," Oct. 6, 2014

Source: Utah Courts, "Mandatory Divorce Mediation Requirement", October 05, 2014

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