If you’re served in the state of Utah, you have 21 days to file a response, and if you’re served outside of the state of Utah, you’ll have 30 days to file it. You should file an answer as soon as possible before your deadline runs. If you’re being served with an active case, you will receive a summons. The summons state your deadline as well as the address where you can file your answer. Under no circumstances should you miss that deadline. You should also use that time to seek legal counsel and explore your options.

Do I Need The Attorney Who Helped Me With The Original Divorce Or Custody Case Or Can I Hire Your Firm?

You can hire our firm, and you do not need to stay with your attorney. You may even leave an attorney mid-case if you are not satisfied. If you file a substitution of counsel, you don’t experience any delay to your case. If you fire your attorney without having a replacement ready and waiting in the wings, you’ll have 21 days to hire a new one before the court can hold further proceedings. There’s absolutely no rule that requires you to stay with an attorney that you’re dissatisfied with. You will be held responsible for his or her actions even if, internally, you’re very unhappy with the way you’re being represented. There is no benefit in staying with an attorney who is not doing an excellent job for you.

Where Will A Request To Modify Need To Be Filed? What If The Parents Now Reside In Different States?

The petition must be filed in a court that has ongoing jurisdiction. That will be the case where the most recent decree or order was filed. If both parents have moved out of state, a party may domesticate their decree in their new state. Domesticating a decree empowers the courts of that state to enforce the orders entered in the former state. If neither parent has done that, they could continue using the Utah court system to resolve their legal disputes. The case could be litigated from a distance by both parties. Since this is not ideal, many party’s seek to domesticate their decrees prior to seeking further modifications to them.

The state must have jurisdiction over the children, which means it has to be the state in which the children reside. This is an issue governed by the UCCJEA (Uniformed Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act). The procedure for domesticating a domestic decree is largely the same from state to state.

What Can I Expect At A Modification Hearing?

When a petition to modify is pending, the decree of divorce remains in effect. The decree enjoys this continuity because it is a final order. The court doesn’t assume that a petition to modify will be granted simply because it has been filed. The decree generally remains unchanged until a petition to modify comes to trial to be adjudicated.

Prior to being divorced, parties who have recently separated have no orders at all to assist them in dividing parent-time, providing for family support, or provisionally dividing their marital estate. Either party can ask for temporary orders and the court will issue temporary orders following a hearing in which both parties have the opportunity to present the information they believe the court should hear before it makes a decision.

Once the parties are divorce, getting temporary orders that would supersede the decree of divorce is much harder. Courts in Utah are only empowered to issue temporary orders to address an immediate and irreparable harm. A party must be able to meet their burden of proof on some powerful allegations to convince a court to issue temporary orders during the pendency of a petition to modify. Otherwise, the terms of the original decree will continue to govern the parties.

In many instances, this means that the parties must be prepared to go all the way to trial before they will see any of the changes they seek. Parties should ensure that at trial, they are not only presenting evidence about how the desired modifications will serve the children’s best interests, but also presenting evidence about what the circumstances were when the decree was entered, how long the decree has been in place, and what has changed since the decree was entered.

For more information on Family Law Cases In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 923-6565 today.