When a petition for divorce is filed in Utah, one person files a complaint with their family district court to begin the legal process. At this point, their spouse has a chance to contest the divorce petition against them by filing a formal response. They may choose to object on the proposed terms regarding:
• Alimony payments
• Child custody arrangements
• Child support payments
• Division of shared property
• Paying off jointly acquired debts
• Visitation rights
If this is the case, the couple has become involved in a contested divorce. State law requires than spouses at odds submit to at least one session of divorce mediation in Utah. Unless otherwise directed by the court or agreed to by the couple, the spouses will share the cost of this mediator’s services. Should there not be sufficient funds, a couple may file a Divorce Mediation Program Income Survey indicating they do not have the financial resources to complete this requirement. If approved, the court may approve someone specializing in divorce mediation in Utah who will work for free.
During this process, couples are encouraged to resolve their differences rather than relying upon the court system. For couples who are so at odds it is unlikely that they can come to agreement over areas of dispute involved in their separation, it is possible to file for a waiver requesting that the step of divorce mediation in Utah be skipped.
Not all divorce mediators are lawyers, though some are. You are required to make sure that anyone you hire to perform divorce mediation in Utah. To make sure that this is the case, check online to make sure anyone whose services you are considering retaining is registered with the Alternative Dispute Resolution court system.
In the mediation session, the role of the mediator is not to provide legal advice or dictate to the couple how they should proceed. Instead, the point of the sessions is to encourage both spouses to share as much information as necessary and work in good faith to draw up a mutually acceptable written agreement. There are many advantages to doing so:
• The uncertainty of relying upon a judge’s verdict is eliminated
• It is possible to go to court knowing in advance how your case will be resolved
• Divorce mediation is less expensive than the potential cost of hiring an attorney to represent you in court
The Utah court system places a particular emphasis on encouraging couples in mediation systems to try to resolve any issues involving minor children. Because the divorce process can be a difficult and emotionally draining process for all parties, mediation sessions can help couples set aside their feelings and concentrate on making their separation as simple as possible.
In the event that divorce mediation in Utah should fail and the professional hired was an attorney, neither spouse is allowed to hire this lawyer to represent them in family court.