In Utah there is a ninety day waiting period before decree of divorce may be signed by a judge.
This ninety day waiting period begins the day the complaint (or petition) for divorce is filed with the court.
To determine when your ninety day waiting period will end, count the calendar days (including business days, weekends and holidays) with “day one” being the day immediately after the date you filed the complaint (or petition) for divorce.
For example if you filed the complaint (or petition) for divorce on Monday, then “day one” will be Tuesday.
There are several explanations as to why the ninety day waiting period was initially adopted in Utah. The most popular explanation is this period provides the parties time to think about their decision to divorce, any possibility of reconciliation, and what is in the best interests of any minor children that may be involved in the divorce.
Another explanation is this period is used to make sure the wife is not pregnant with another child as a result of the marriage.
The ninety day requirement is found in Utah Code section 30-3-18, the text of which is included at the end of this blog entry. You may Motion the Court to waive this waiting period, but it will not be granted automatically, as you need to prove there are “extraordinary circumstances.”
Since the change in this statute to include “extraordinary circumstances” it has been very difficult for parties to convince the court to waive the ninety day waiting period.
Evidence that may weigh in favor of extraordinary circumstances and persuade the court to waive the ninety day waiting period could include, having reached a full and final agreement as to all terms of the divorce, financial distress, abuse or the threat of immediate harm, child related problems or issues, the certainty that there will be no further children born as a result of the marriage, and including that both parties have attended the divorce orientation and education courses if there are minor children to the divorce. However, including any of the above information does not guarantee the ninety days will be waived, the determination is made on a case by case basis by the assigned judge.
30-3-18. Waiting period for hearing after filing for divorce — Exemption — Use of counseling and education services not to be construed as condonation or promotion.
(1) Unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances exist and otherwise orders, no hearing for decree of divorce may be held by the court until 90 days has elapsed from the filing of the complaint, but the court may make interim orders as it considers just and equitable.
(2) The use of counseling, mediation, and education services provided under this chapter may not be construed as condoning the acts that may constitute grounds for divorce on the part of either spouse nor of promoting divorce.
What if during the 90 waiting period I have decided I don’t agree with the custody arrangement for my child? Can I stop the divorce and redo the agreement?
Couple things to note here. First, the 90 days waiting period is gone as of May 2018 and now it’s only a 30 day waiting period! More important is your second question, it’s important for litigants to understand that once you sign an agreement, it acts as a contract and almost always will be honored by the Court regardless of whether or not the Court has signed a Decree of Divorce yet. So, the important question is whether the other side is willing to re-negotiate some terms because perhaps things about the document are not feasible. If the document is not actually being followed or isn’t actual possible, the other side may be open to problem solving. However, many times what happens is that after the agreement is signed, some incident occurs or a party starts to feel that they didn’t good such a good deal and they want to change the agreement. Without the agreement of the other side, the Court will be extremely likely to enforce what is on the signed agreement. I suggest you go talk to counsel to see what circumstances have arisen to cause a change of heart- an attorney will be able to tell you if it meets the Court’s requirements for a change of circumstances and therefore the opportunity for a new agreement.
Any time- happy to help!
My husband and I had everything worked out. No minor children between us, we agreed on EVVERYTHING! I’m frustrated not with the court, but by being misled by the attorney’s office. We wete told that, “as aggreeable as you two are, there’s no way the judge won’t waive the 90-day waiting period, and your divorce should be final in 2 weeks.” This was 3 weeks ago. The judge DID NOT WAIVE our 90-day waiting period, and it’s really caused a lot of upheaval in our divorce. Now, there’s contention (where there wasn’t before), little fights are errupting and I (wife) feel frustrated, and frankly, lied to.
The wavier of the 90 day waiting period can never be guaranteed. Our experience has been that some judges do it easily, others won’t do it under almost any circumstance. To some extent it matters what judge is randomly assigned to your case in Salt Lake, Provo, Ogden area. In outlying areas with only one or two judges, it should be easier for an attorney to know what the likelihood is that the waiver request will be signed. But then again, judges can do whatever they want on this issue. The good news is that the stipulation that you and your spouse signed is in place regardless of whether you have the Decree signed yet or not- it’s like a contract and the judge is usually likely to make the parties follow it regardless of whether there has been a final order issued. That stipulation should be adequate to resolve any disputes that arise in the meantime while waiting the 90 days; if it is not adequate than your Decree probably will have the same holes and the arguments will continue until you make a more thorough agreement.