Find answers to common concerns.

Do I have to get a lawyer?

You do not have to get a lawyer. You can represent yourself at every step of any legal action. You also don’t need to hire a mechanic to fix your car. However, they can often do the work faster, easier, and better than you can. It depends on the complexity of the issue and the risk you are willing to take in representing yourself. If you want the peace of mind that your rights and specific concerns are properly addressed at each step of the litigation, you should definitely retain a qualified and experienced attorney.

How long does it take to get divorced?

The Utah Legislature recently shortened the waiting period from 90 days to 30 days from the initial filing of a Petition for Divorce. That means that if you have already worked out all of the issues, you can get a Decree of Divorce in a month or less (excluding February). The Court can also waive the 30-day waiting period when there is a good reason to do so. If your divorce is contested, which means you don’t agree on key issues like child custody, division of property, or alimony, it could take much longer.

Do I have to go to mediation?

Yes. If you disagree on key issues, a Utah District Court will not let your case proceed to trial without first attempting to resolve the issues through mediation. The Court does have the discretion to waive the mediation requirement if there is a good reason.

How invasive is the divorce process?

If you are going to be contesting issues in your divorce, the process can be quite invasive. You will have to share a large amount of personal financial information with the other parties, and if the case proceeds to trial or evidentiary hearing, the Court. You should expect, at a minimum, to have to provide the last two years of tax returns, the last 12 months of pay stubs, and the last three months of statements from all your financial accounts.

Should I talk to the police?

No.

What should I expect if I’ve been charged with having committed a crime?

You will get a chance in court to have your charges read to you so you know what you are facing, you will have a chance to enter a plea to the charge (“not guilty), you will get a chance to meet with the prosecutor and discuss the case, the prosecutor will almost always make you an offer in order to resolve the case, and if you don’t take the offer, you will be headed for a trial. If your charge is a Class A misdemeanor or above, you will have additional steps in the process because you will have additional rights. Each item usually takes place on separate dates.

How can I get a copy of the evidence against me?

You need to file a Request for Discovery.