It is not uncommon for people to be in the process of moving before filing for divorce. Sometimes it is to get away from someone (like an abusive partner). Sometimes it is to get to someone (like other family members for support). No matter what the reason, there are certain requirements that must be met before you can file for divorce in Utah.
Most divorce lawyers are well acquainted with the requirements because each time a party files for divorce, he or she must submit to the court an affidavit of jurisdiction and grounds.
A person must reside in a county in Utah for at least three months prior to filing for divorce. That means if you plan on moving from another state to file for divorce in Utah, make sure you plan on waiting at least three months before filing for divorce.
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, a person serving in the military who is residing in Utah pursuant to military orders does not have to wait three months.
There are few benefits to being the first person to file for divorce. In fact, I generally prefer that the other party file for divorce first because it saves my client a filing fee. However, if your spouse currently lives in a different state, you may consider doing everything possible to be the first to file for divorce. This is because whoever wins that race to the courthouse controls where the divorce will take place. You don’t want to be stuck fighting a divorce battle across the county.
There are additional requirements if you have children. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act requires a child to live in the state for at least six months before a court has jurisdiction to determine custody.
If you live outside the state and are considering moving to Utah to file for divorce, give me a call. I can give you a good idea of what to expect and what the risks and benefits will be by moving to Utah.