Think your divorce is final when you sign your settlement agreement? Think you can remarry after the court signs and enters your Decree of Divorce? Think again.
At first, it would appear that § 30-3-7 of the Utah Code would answer this question for us:
Utah Code § 30-3-7. When decree becomes absolute.
(1) The decree of divorce becomes absolute:
(a) on the date it is signed by the court and entered by the clerk in the register of actions if both the parties who have a child or children have completed attendance at the mandatory course for divorcing parents as provided in Section 30-3-11.3 except if the court waives the requirement, on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties, upon determination that course attendance and completion are not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties;
(b) at the expiration of a period of time the court may specifically designate, unless an appeal or other proceedings for review are pending; or
(c) when the court, before the decree becomes absolute, for sufficient cause otherwise orders.
(2) The court, upon application or on its own motion for good cause shown, may waive, alter, or extend a designated period of time before the decree becomes absolute, but not to exceed six months from the signing and entry of the decree.
But there is another consideration, what is known as the “interlocutory period”
Utah Code § 30-1-2. Marriages prohibited and void.
The following marriages are prohibited and declared void:
* * * * *
(4) between a divorced person and any person other than the one from whom the divorce was secured until the divorce decree becomes absolute, and, if an appeal is taken, until after the affirmance of the decree[.]
So that raises the question of how long do you have to wait until an appeal of your decree of divorce cannot be taken? To answer that question we turn to the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure:
Rule 4. Appeal as of right: when taken.
(a) Appeal from final judgment and order. In a case in which an appeal is permitted as a matter of right from the trial court to the appellate court, the notice of appeal required by Rule 3 shall be filed with the clerk of the trial court within 30 days after the date of entry of the judgment or order appealed from.
(b) Time for appeal extended by certain motions.
(b)(1) If a party timely files in the trial court any of the following motions, the time for all parties to appeal from the judgment runs from the entry of the order disposing of the motion:
(b)(1)(A) a motion for judgment under Rule 50(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure;
(b)(1)(B) a motion to amend or make additional findings of fact, whether or not an alteration of the judgment would be required if the motion is granted, under Rule 52(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure;
(b)(1)(C) a motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure;
(b)(1)(D) a motion for a new trial under Rule 59 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure; or
(b)(1)(E) a motion for a new trial under Rule 24 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(b)(2) A notice of appeal filed after announcement or entry of judgment, but before entry of an order disposing of any motion listed in Rule 4(b), shall be treated as filed after entry of the order and on the day thereof, except that such a notice of appeal is effective to appeal only from the underlying judgment. To appeal from a final order disposing of any motion listed in Rule 4(b), a party must file a notice of appeal or an amended notice of appeal within the prescribed time measured from the entry of the order.(c) Filing prior to entry of judgment or order. A notice of appeal filed after the announcement of a decision, judgment, or order but before entry of the judgment or order shall be treated as filed after such entry and on the day thereof.
(d) Additional or cross-appeal. If a timely notice of appeal is filed by a party, any other party may file a notice of appeal within 14 days after the date on which the first notice of appeal was filed, or within the time otherwise prescribed by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this rule, whichever period last expires.
(e) Extension of time to appeal. The trial court, upon a showing of excusable neglect or good cause, may extend the time for filing a notice of appeal upon motion filed not later than 30 days after the expiration of the time prescribed by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this rule. A motion filed before expiration of the prescribed time may be ex parte unless the trial court otherwise requires. Notice of a motion filed after expiration of the prescribed time shall be given to the other parties in accordance with the rules of practice of the trial court. No extension shall exceed 30 days past the prescribed time or 10 days from the date of entry of the order granting the motion, whichever occurs later.
(f) Motion to reinstate period for filing a direct appeal in criminal cases. Upon a showing that a criminal defendant was deprived of the right to appeal, the trial court shall reinstate the thirty-day period for filing a direct appeal. A defendant seeking such reinstatement shall file a written motion in the sentencing court and serve the prosecuting entity. If the defendant is not represented and is indigent, the court shall appoint counsel. The prosecutor shall have 30 days after service of the motion to file a written response. If the prosecutor opposes the motion, the trial court shall set a hearing at which the parties may present evidence. If the trial court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant has demonstrated that he was deprived of his right to appeal, it shall enter an order reinstating the time for appeal. The defendant’s notice of appeal must be filed with the clerk of the trial court within 30 days after the date of entry of the order.
(g) Appeal by an Inmate Confined in an Institution. If an inmate confined in an institution files a notice of appeal in either a civil or criminal case, the notice of appeal is timely filed if it is deposited in the institution’s internal mail system on or before the last day for filing. Timely filing may be shown by a notarized statement or written declaration setting forth the date of deposit and stating that first-class postage has been prepaid. If a notice of appeal is filed in the manner provided in this paragraph (g), the 14-day period provided in paragraph (d) runs from the date when the trial court receives the first notice of appeal.
So when is your divorce final? As I read the law, not until the period for filing an appeal of the Decree has expired (i.e. 30 days after the date of entry of the Decree) AND 30 more days beyond that period have also passed (pursuant to Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 4). I know that sounds crazy, but that’s my take on it.