Thoughts on the ninety day waiting period for divorce - Melvin
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Thoughts on the ninety day waiting period for divorce

by Melvin Cook

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In May 2013, the Utah State Legislature enacted a ninety day waiting period for all divorce cases. (See Utah Code Section 30-3-18.) This means that a divorcing couple must wait ninety days from the date of filing the initial divorce petition in order for the divorce to become final. It used to be that this waiting period could be waived for divorcing parents with minor children who took the divorce education and orientation classes. Now, however, the waiting period can only be waived for extraordinary reasons, even for divorcing parents with minor children who take the divorce classes soon after filing for divorce.

Obviously, there may be compelling circumstances in which the waiting period for divorce may be waived. The policy behind the change, in my opinion, seems to be that a cooling off period may cause divorcing parties to rethink their decision to divorce, or at least to be very sure they are making the decision they feel is in their best interests. If this is the case, it certainly seems like a legitimate and well-intentioned policy. Whether or not it will result in fewer divorces or more couples staying together, however, remains to be seen. Best intentions do not always guarantee best results. But at least credit may be given for what seems to be a well-intentioned policy.

My own experience is that the group the divorce waiting period impacts the most is parties filing an uncontested divorce, or parties who have given a lot of careful advance thought and planning into their divorce issues, who have resolved most of these issues before filing. They may expect that having worked through their issues in advance, that their divorce will be quickly entered. But this is no longer the case, for better or worse. Ironically, since these parties have typically already given a lot of advance thought into their divorce issues, they are presumably making the decision carefully and deliberately, and not for light or transient reasons.

Perhaps some good might result from the waiting period. Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most stressful thing people experience. We can only wait and see.

If you have any questions in regards to divorce or family law matters in Salt Lake City, contact me today at 801.746.5075 to speak with a Salt Lake City Divorce Lawyer.

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