Frequently Asked Questions About Getting A Divorce In Utah

Yes. The federal government, and some states, give adoptive parents tax credits for the expenses they spent on adoption. This allows adoptive families to recoup the money spent adopting their child. The federal adoption credit is currently $13,170, which means many adoptive families will recoup most, if not all, the money spent on their adoption.

That is a great question. The answer is “it depends.” If you go through an agency, some charge relatively little ($4000 to $10,000), while some charge quite a lot ($15,000 to $40,000). It also depends on where the adoptive child comes from. Domestic adoptions (i.e., adoptions of children from the U.S.) usually cost less than international adoptions (i.e., adoptions of children from outside the U.S.). International adoptions regularly costs $30,000 or more. Cost also depends on what type of child you wish to adopt. Unfortunately, minority children usually cost less to adopt than Caucasian children.

There is also a non-agency adoption route called private adoption. This route requires more work of the adoptive parents, but can prove to be significantly less expensive than agency adoptions. The usual cost of a private adoption is somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.

If someone does not consent to an adoption, he or she must either inform a court of an objection in writing with thirty days of receiving notice of the adoption, or must appear at the adoption hearing and tell a court his or her objection. If this happens, things become much more complicated because there are two parties arguing they have legal rights to the child. Your best course of action in a contested adoption circumstance is to hire an attorney.

They may. Stepparent adoptions have slightly different procedures than non stepparent adoptions (e.g., the adoptive child must have lived with the custodial parent and stepparent for at least one year), but generally follow similar rules. Once a stepparent has adopted his or her stepchild, the rights of the biological parent are terminated.

For non stepparent adoptions, the time is six months. For stepparent adoptions, the time is one year.

That depends on the adoption, but the general rule of thumb is anyone who must give consent must be notified of adoption proceedings. Notice must be given at least thirty days before any proceeding. Here are a few examples of those who must be notified: (1) legally appointed guardian(s), (2) your spouse, (3) a parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, (4) anyone who acts as the child’s parent and lives with the child.

Yes, almost always. Usually, the birth mother gives consent to adopt more than twenty-four hours after the birth of the adoptive child. Consent may be given to a judge, or (more often) to a judge’s representative, such as an adoption agency. Consent, once given, cannot be withdrawn.

Consent may also be required from the birth father if the baby was born within a marriage, or the unwed father meets certain legal criteria (e.g. adjudicated father, filed voluntarily declaration of paternity, etc.)

A child may also give consent to an adoption if the child is more than twelve years old and mentally competent.

Consent may not be required if a child’s parents are deceased or their rights have been terminated by the State.

Ten years.

Married adults who have permission from their spouse, and single adults who are not cohabitating.

The Utah Adoption Act governs Utah adoptions.

If, on the off chance, mediation does not result in an agreement, the parties may begin or continue the litigation process. Additionally, it is often the case that even if mediation is not successful on the first attempt, parties may return to it when they realize how costly, time-consuming, and stressful the litigation process is.

Honestly, there are not many situations too complicated for mediation. The parties understand the dispute, and when they have educated the mediator regarding their points of view, the mediator will be able to help them negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.

Simply put, No. Oftentimes, couples seeking a divorce will go to a mediator instead of lawyers to negotiate the terms of their divorce. When conducted by a quality mediator, these lawyerless mediations reduce stress and produce good results at a price far less than divorces in which each party hires an attorney.

Yes. People may want a lawyer present to help ensure a fair mediated agreement is reached. In fact, in many cases it is preferable to have a lawyer present during mediation to help the parties evaluate offers being made and discuss options and risk.

Note: It is almost always a good idea to have an attorney review a mediated agreement before signing it.

This is only a minor inconvenience. Mediation is often done via conference calls. The success of the mediation is not dependent on being in the same room, but is dependent on the skill of the mediator and the willingness of the parties to negotiate.

This is a common question, especially in divorce and child custody situations. The answer is, “No.” If you do not get along well with the other person, then mediation can be done by what is called “caucus” where the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles between the parties.

Yes, in Utah what happens in mediation stays in mediation. Neither party can use what is said during mediation in a subsequent court proceeding. Likewise, the mediator cannot divulge what was said during mediation.

Many mediations last between three to four hours. If the dispute is more complicated, then more time may be necessary. If more time is necessary, then mediation can be broken up into multiple sessions on different days, depending on the parties’ wishes and schedules.

The mediation process is actually quite simple, especially when contrasted with the litigation process. Initially, people with disputes agree to mediate, find a mediator, and schedule a mediation. Mediation usually takes place within only a few weeks of initial contact with the mediator. The mediator will usually ask for short typed summaries of the dispute and what exactly each party wants to accomplish during mediation. (If litigation has already begun, the mediator will likely ask for court documents that explain the dispute.) During mediation, each party will tell the mediator about the dispute from their point of view. The mediator will then ask the parties to identify the issues in dispute that need to be resolved. From this point, the mediator will help the parties openly negotiate until each of the issues in dispute is resolved in a way that (1) is acceptable to the parties, and (2) is mutually beneficial.

Once a mediated agreement has been reached, the mediator writes the agreement, and the parties review and sign it. When signed, the agreement becomes a contract and is enforceable in court. (If the mediated agreement is in the context of a parties seeking a divorce, the agreement can serve as the basis for a Decree of Divorce.)

This is often people’s first question, so let’s address it first. While the cost of mediation depends on the complexity of the dispute, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, etc., what is without doubt is mediation is less costly and less stressful than litigation. The hourly cost of mediators themselves varies widely, depending on the mediator’s experience, skill, and education. If lawyers represent the parties during the mediation process, costs will be higher. Again though, mediation is much less costly than litigation.

Many states tend to prefer that guardians be related to the individual or that they have some established relationship whenever possible. However, this is not a requirement for serving as a guardian. It is most important that they are over the age of 18, and can make the decisions for the person they are serving as guardian for with the best interests of that person in mind.

Because of this, convicted felons and those who have been determined to need a guardian themselves should not serve as a guardian for another person. Some people serve as guardians professionally, an institution, either public or private may also be appointed as a guardian if they are not providing services where they may benefit from depending on the decisions they make for the person they are guardian for. Financial institutions sometimes act as guardians for matters related to a person’s estate.

A limited guardianship looks at the individual capabilities of a person or the prospective guardian, and a court order will outline specifics where a guardian is necessary and when it is not. For example, a person may be qualified to make everyday financial decisions, such as buying groceries or personal items, but will not have the mental capability to understand making financial investments. In this case the individual may need a guardian for major financial decisions only.

A person may need a guardian for different areas of their lives. They may be considered “incapacitated” in one area, but may be fully qualified to handle their own care in another.

Guardianship of the person oversees the physical and emotional well-being of the person they are guardian of. They will be called on to make decisions regarding health care, releasing confidential information, when necessary, and placement in a residential facility.

Guardianship of the estate oversees the person’s financial interests, including any income, inheritance, property, or real estate that they own.

Different guardians are appointed by the court when parents are deceased or determined incapable of making choices for their children, or when an adult is deemed incapable of managing some or all of their own affairs. Simply being disabled does not mean an adult needs a guardian. It must be demonstrated that they lack the capacity to make decisions in a number of different areas including health care, living arrangements, education, financial matters, and care of minors they may be legally responsible for.

In order to appoint a guardian for an adult, it must be determined that the individual is incapacitated, the guardian is qualified, the guardianship itself will protect the individual and help to keep them safe.

A guardian is a person whom the court appoints to manage certain affairs for a child under age 18, or an adult who has been determined not to have the ability to manage these affairs for themselves.

Yes. Each party should have their own attorney to ensure their rights and specific concerns are properly addressed in the document.

Most prenuptial agreements address how property, assets and debts will be divided in the event of divorce. Some may also include stipulations for spousal support, inheritance or what will happen to your business. Prenups cannot address child custody, visitation or child support issues.

Prenuptial agreements will protect your assets and property. They can also protect you from assuming your spouse’s debt.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document between two people who will be married. The document needs to be drafted and signed before marriage. A prenup is designed to protect both parties in the event of divorce.

The length of the divorce process can vary depending on the individual issues surrounding the divorce. In most cases, it will take a minimum of three months from the time the petitioner files for divorce before a judge signs the divorce decree, making it final due to Utah’s 90-day waiting period. Divorces that are contested, or that have several complex issues to be resolved, will often take additional time.

Divorces in Utah can be no-fault divorces or fault divorces. The grounds for divorce determine which type it will be. In most cases, couples seek a no-fault divorce because the process is simpler, faster, and less expensive.

Two of the grounds that may be listed on the petition are no-fault grounds, which include irreconcilable differences and living apart for three consecutive years without cohabitation under a decree of separate maintenance by any state.

For a fault divorce, certain grounds must be proven to file a fault divorce. The grounds can include:

  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • Committing adultery
  • Willful desertion by the respondent for at least a year
  • Willful neglect by the respondent to provide petitioner common necessaries of life
  • Habitual drunkenness of respondent
  • A felony conviction
  • Cruel treatment resulting in bodily injury or mental distress
  • Incurable insanity

Special requirements apply to Utah divorces if there are unsettled or contested issues in the divorce or if the couple has minor children. Contested issues require that the couple go through the mediation process to try and work out as many of their issues as possible without asking a judge to make the decision. When the couple has minor children, they are required to take divorce education classes before a divorce can be issued.

The law states that at least one of the people getting the divorce needs to have lived in a single county within the state for three consecutive months before filing a divorce petition. If there is a custody issue with minor children, in most cases the children need to have resided with at least one of the parents for six months before the divorce petition is filed.

Travis Jenkins
Travis Jenkins
15:53 06 Jun 17
I can't say enough good things about Marco Brown and his team from Brown law. Marco is unlike most attorneys in previous experiences (Arrogant, abrupt and lack compassion). He is kind, compassionate, very competent and willing to take the time to get an in-depth understanding of what's going on, before determining the best course. He and his team created a positive experience that is very straight forward. Instead of guessing “who” is the most qualified law firm for your case. I would highly recommend that you contact Marco Brown at Brown Law.read more
Stephanie Jorgensen
Stephanie Jorgensen
19:51 10 Mar 17
I recently received an e-mail for "clients past, present, and future" for a seminar on budgeting. I wasn't able to attend, but I wrote back and told them if they every had another one I would love to attend. Apparently my e-mail got buried, but once Marco found it he immediately sent me an e-mail and told me he would be happy to meet with me to discuss budgeting. I told him that in the interim I had found myself an attorney (a former classmate of mine,) and so I didn't feel like I could take up his time. He told me that didn't bother him a bit and to go ahead and come. So I went to his office and he took an hour of his valuable time to help me learn how to budget effectively. I greatly appreciated his selflessness. He has also been willing to cheerfully answer my follow up questions. I am grateful to him for his willingness to help me!read more
Paul Springer
Paul Springer
18:36 15 Jun 17