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Often potential clients call and think they just need a quick appointment to understand the basic process of divorce. Phrases like “it’s a simple divorce”, “I don’t want this to go to court, we’ll just keep it civil” and “this should be an easy case” are spoken all too often during initial appointments. Often, parties believe that they are in agreement, only to meet with an attorney and find that they disagree on an important issue they never even considered.

So, what does a simple case really entail? What does an uncontested divorce in Utah really look like?

For starters, even the simplest Utah divorce can be tricky. Ensuring that the correct paperwork has been filed truly makes a difference, and that’s why at Burton Law we highly recommend hiring an attorney, from simple to complex, just to make sure your bases are covered.

Divorce cases can generally be separated into three classes:

  • Uncontested
  • Partially Contested
  • High Conflict Contested

Uncontested Divorces

This category is particularly rare. It generally means you and your spouse are on civil enough terms to discuss settlement. Often couples in this category have come to an agreement on their own and the client simply needs the attorney to draw up the paperwork and offer insight.

Partially Contested

The parties have come to a partial agreement or are able to work through any conflict on the case with settlement discussions or the mediation process. The majority of cases will fall within this category.

High Conflict Contested

Few cases fit in this category. There are often factors that we see more often in this category, such as: children, a shared business, or numerous financial assets. Couples in this category generally have difficulty interacting with one another and generally have trouble reaching a settlement outside a courtroom. Most cases in this category go clear to trial, where a judge makes the final ruling for the case settlement.

One class isn’t necessarily better than the others, however, a contested case can certainly add to the expense and time your case requires.

Cases can also transition from one class to another. Sometimes, at the beginning of a case, the relationship between parties is relatively civil; but as pressure builds and parties begin to have tension between them related to alimony, custody, or other matters, the communication line can break down. This often leads to matters becoming more contested than they initially were. This can cause the parties to move into a different class than where they started.

It’s important to carefully consider the terms of your case, as well as your relationship with the opposing party and determine what class your case will fall in prior to meeting with an attorney. Doing so will give the attorney a clearer picture of the case and allow them to better advise you on the situation.

At Burton Law, our goal is to guide your through the Utah divorce process, whether your case is simple or complex. From uncontested to highly contested, and everything in between, we’re here to protect your best interests in and out of the courtroom.


Michael B. Lundberg is a native of Logan, Utah. While in law school, Mike served as the Executive Articles Editor of the Journal of Law and Family Studies and was published in that Journal, as well as the Utah Law Review. During his third year, he also found time to serve as President of the James E. Faust Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.

Mike has worked in a wide variety of areas in the legal field. During law school he worked as an extern with the First District Court in Logan, and later as an extern with the Utah Court of Appeals in the chambers of Judge Carolyn McHugh. After graduation, he was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship to work with Christensen & Jensen, PC in Salt Lake City. He then spent 18 months working as a law clerk for the City Attorney in Park City. He joined Burton Law Firm after operating as a sole practitioner for two years. During this time, he also served on the board of the Utah Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar.

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