Utah is a No-Fault State . . . kind of
To obtain a divorce in Utah, a party must prove that one of the following grounds have been met:
- Respondent was impotent at the time of the marriage;
- Respondent committed adultery;
- Respondent deserted Petitioner for more than a year;
- Respondent willfully neglected to provide for Petitioner;
- Habitual drunkenness of Respondent;
- Respondent is convicted of a felony;
- Cruel treatment of the Petitioner by Respondent;
- Parties have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance (legal separation) for three consecutive years;
- Respondent has incurable insanity; or
- There are irreconcilable difference in the marriage.
The Irreconcilable differences ground makes Utah a “no-fault” state. In other words, a Petitioner no longer has to prove that there is something wrong with the Respondent or the Respondent did something illegal or immoral. The Petitioner only has to show that the parties have differences that they cannot reconcile. The testimony from either party is enough to prove irreconcilable differences to a court’s satisfaction. Your experienced Utah divorce attorney can help you determine what is best for you and your case.
However, the Petitioner always has the option to divorce the Respondent on the grounds of some kind of fault. But in most cases there is no real advantage to alleging fault. Even though they can, Utah courts historically have not awarded additional property or domestic support because a party is at fault. Instead, alleging fault only further alienates the parties, makes the case more difficult to settle, and can cause bad blood down the road, which can adversely affect the parties, especially if there are minor children involved.
In addition, where evidence of fault is relevant to custody, such as a party committed adultery in front of the minor children, or a party physically harmed a child, the court will admit such evidence regardless of which ground for divorce has been plead. So requesting a Utah divorce based on irreconcilable differences does not prohibit such evidence from coming forth.
There are definitely some scenarios where pleading a “fault” divorce in Utah will benefit you. Contact Pearson Law Firm and schedule a free consultation, an experienced Utah divorce attorney will discuss your options with you, and help you determine how to proceed. Call today, 801-888-0991