Changes to Law for Utah Mandatory Divorce Orientation Class

Current Orientation Law

Currently, Utah State Law requires anyone seeking to obtain a divorce to attend a divorce orientation course if they have any minor children.  The petitioner in the divorce is required to attend the course within 60 days after filing a petition for divorce.  The respondent is required to attend the class within 30 days of being served with the divorce petition.  Utah Code § 30-3-11.4 details the entire law governing the divorce orientation course requirements.  While the law uses the forceful language that a parent “shall” attend the course within a certain time frame, the reality is that many people take the course later on in the divorce proceedings.  The Utah State Legislature recently passed a law in hopes of giving more incentives to individuals to take the class early in the litigation process.

Divorce Orientation Course Changes

Although the time frames to take the class have not changed, the new mandatory orientation class must now be taken by a person seeking temporary orders before the temporary orders hearing can be heard.  This means that if a person wants the court to enter orders temporarily, that is to say until the divorce is actually final, that individual must first attend the divorce orientation class.  A person can still get emergency orders entered pursuant to Rule 65 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure before taking the class, but emergency orders are much more difficult to obtain than regular temporary orders.

The new law also allows an individual to attend the course through an online provider.  This allows more availability to take the class, because it was previously only offered through live instruction, or DVDs if a person was out of state or incarcerated.  Additionally, if someone takes the class within 30 days of either filing or being served the petition, he or she cannot be charged more than $15 to take the course.  The new law goes into effect July 1, 2014.

Questions? We Have Answers

If you have questions about the orientation course and are looking to hire a divorce lawyer, contact a divorce lawyer from Provo by calling 801.800.8247.  We can answer your questions about the mandatory divorce classes and help you through the confusing process of divorce.

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