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Mandatory Orientation and Education Courses for Utah Parents Going Through Divorce or Temporary Separation Proceedings in Court

Utah Code Sections 30-3-11.3 and 30-3-11.4 require parents with minor children to complete two courses: divorce orientation and divorce education, before they can obtain a decree of divorce or of separate maintenance. The court will not issue a decree until both parties have completed the course requirements and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. If a party wants any temporary orders the court will not consider a motion for a temporary order until the party completes the orientation courses.

The orientation course is meant to educate parents about divorce and its alternatives. The education course teaches parents to understand their children’s reactions to their divorce, how to help their children adjust, to help parents learn how children of different ages express their pain and loss in divorce, and the best parenting methods for helping children cope during and after the divorce.

The petitioner (which is the term for the party who files for divorce) must attend the orientation course no more than 60 days after filing with the court. The respondent (which is the term for the party against whom a divorce action is filed) must attend the course no more than 30 days after being served with the petition.

The fee for the divorce orientation course is normally $30 per person; however, the will be discounted to $15 for a petitioner who attends a live class within 30 days of filing the petition, and will be discounted $15 for a respondent who attends a live class within 30 days of being served with the petition. The fee for the divorce education course is $35 per person. The fees for the live courses are paid to the person teaching the class. Cash is the only form of payment accepted for the live courses.

If they choose, parents can now attend the Divorce Orientation class online. Here’s the link for that online course: https://usuextension.digitalchalk.com. The fee for the online course, however, is not given 50% discount.

There is no online Divorce Education course. Parents are still required to attend a live Divorce Education course to complete the course requirement.

You may attend the courses in any location where the courses are taught regardless of where the divorce or temporary separation case is filed. To find out where the courses are taught use this link: https://www.utcourts.gov/specproj/dived/locations.html. To find out when the courses are taught, use this link https://www.utcourts.gov/specproj/dived/#live, and then search for the heading “Course Dates and Times”.

You do not need to make an appointment or a reservation in advance. Registration takes about 15 minutes, so arrive early. You will not be admitted if you arrive late. You may bring a support person with you without having to pay for that person to attend. Children, however, are not allowed to attend with you.

If your divorce or temporary separation case has been filed before you attend the orientation and education courses, bring your case number with you, so that the instructor can give you credit and notify the court for having attended. In limited circumstances, you may watch a DVD of the divorce education course and the divorce orientation course if you: live out of state or more than 60 miles from the nearest live class; are in prison, jail or other detention facility; or are an in-patient at a medical facility. The DVDs are available in English and in Spanish.

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