Is Counseling Required Before Divorce In Utah?

Is Counseling Required Before Divorce In Utah?

Utah does not mandate any counseling before filing for divorce. However, we would like you to be aware of a new form of counseling, called discernment counseling, which may help couples who are finding it difficult to make a decision about divorce. Note that it is not state-mandated, but an optional therapy that willing couples may go for.

That said, the only thing the state requires for enabling divorce is that you fulfill its residency requirements. And these are:

Utah’s Residency Requirements

According to Utah Code Section 30-3-1, you or your spouse should have resided in a single Utah county for at least 3 months before filing a divorce petition.

If child custody of a minor is involved in the divorce, then the child must reside with one of the parents in Utah for at least 6 months before filing the petition. The period can also be waived if the parents agree to allow Utah to take the home-state jurisdiction over the children (so that the state courts can make decisions regarding the children).

Discernment Counseling In Utah

Discernment Counseling, which is conducted 1-on-1 by a licensed therapist, is like a therapy that helps divorcing spouses gain a better understanding of their relationship before they file a divorce petition. In this counseling program, the spouses learn where they currently stand in their relationship, what their options are, and the positive and negative outcomes that may follow if they choose to divorce (or stay put in the relationship).

Discernment counseling helps spouses make up their minds about whether they should divorce, reconcile, or look at other options such as a trial or legal separation. It is different from other forms of marriage therapy because it does not try to save the marriage – instead, it bares the realities and helps couples make the decision whether to divorce or not.

Discernment counseling may not work if one spouse has already made his/her final decision to divorce, or when one spouse is forcing the other to opt for such counseling, or when a spouse habitually indulges in domestic violence.

Published On: September 15th, 2022Categories: MarriageComments Off on Is Counseling Required Before Divorce In Utah?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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