Can I Get a Divorce if my Spouse Lives in Another State?

Yes. The legal term for this issue is called jurisdiction. So the question is whether the Utah District Court has jurisdiction over a person that does not live in Utah. That is, does the Court have the ability to enforce a decree against a person who does not live in the state of Utah.

A Court has jurisdiction over the divorce proceeding as long as one of the spouses has lived in the county for at least 3 months prior to the commencement of the action. You can read the statute here. That means that even if you have never lived in Utah before, but you and your spouse separated and you have been a resident of Utah for at least three months, the court is probably going to have jurisdiction over your spouse.

In cases where one spouse lives outside of Utah, different procedures must be followed. It is important that you find an attorney who understands these procedures whether your spouse lives in another state, or outside of the county.

When filing for divorce, you must “serve” the documents on your spouse. Your spouse then has 20 days to file an “answer”. However, if your spouse lives outside of Utah, the court will give him or her 30 days to answer. Additionally, in cases where spouses are living in different states, it is not uncommon for both spouses to file for divorce in their respective state. The court will generally defer to whichever case was filed first. This means that if you do not want to be in court in a different state, you better win the race to the courthouse.

If you need an attorney to help you file for divorce, give us a call. Carr Law Utah has its roots in Colorado and has begun growing within Utah. We have divorce attorneys ready to help you.