How long does a divorce take? Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

When you decide that your marriage is no longer working and it’s time to get a divorce, you may be anxious to get the process over with. In the state of Utah, there are laws that determine how long your divorce will take, except for special circumstances, there’s no way to get around these timetables. It’s important to understand the time to get through the process so you can adequately plan for your personal life, your children (if you have any) and your future.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

The easiest and quickest type of divorce is called an uncontested divorce, meaning that you and your spouse agree on things like how you will split up your assets, and what your custody arrangements will be, if you have children. The reason it’s the quickest type of divorce is that you will not need to go to court or go through extensive mediation to resolve any differences. An uncontested divorce will most likely be subject to a standard 90-day waiting period; there are options to request the waiting period be waived, although the success in getting a case waived can depend on several factors, including the county where you request the divorce.

If you have a contested divorce, meaning there is at least one thing you do not agree on, the length of time can vary significantly. Keep in mind, before you take your case to court Utah law requires that you attend at least one session of mediation to try and resolve divorce issues (except in cases requiring urgent court intervention, such as domestic violence). If you agree on most things, it may be easy to get disagreements worked out within a few weeks or months through the process of mediation and/or through the courts. If you have several areas where you disagree and you are having trouble coming to an agreement on just about everything, the process could stretch on for several months, or even years.

The Mediation Process

Utah law does allow for no-fault divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”, but whether you have a specific reason to divorce or you just simply don’t get along anymore or don’t want to be legally married, the law stipulates that you must attempt mediation before going to courtDivorce mediation can help settle disagreements in areas such as parental responsibility, custody sharing, child support, alimony, and dividing up assets. In order to satisfy the requirement, couples must go to a session of mediation or arbitration (they can go to more than one if they would like), or watch a video that outlines “alternate dispute resolution” programs that can help provide options besides litigation during a divorce.

Parent Education

Couples with children who wish to divorce are required to go through two classes before the divorce is final. These two classes, Divorce Orientation and Divorce Education for Parents, are designed to help parents learn more about the specific needs of children during the divorce process, which can sometimes take a back seat when parents are involved in an emotional divorce. The requirement to take these classes can only be waived if the courts decide that it is not in the best interest of the parties involved.

Once you have met the requirements, and the 90-day waiting period is over, you can move forward with the divorce and get on with your new life.