What is the legal basis for all the hoops I have to jump through in my Utah divorce case?
This is a great question. It’s a question I often ask myself. Here is the answer.
Why do I have to submit an “affidavit of jurisdiction and grounds”?
See Utah Code § 30-3-1. Procedure — Residence — Grounds.
§ 30-3-1. Procedure — Residence —Grounds.
(1) Proceedings in divorce are commenced and conducted as provided by law for proceedings in civil causes, except as provided in this chapter.
(2) The court may decree a dissolution of the marriage contract between the petitioner and respondent on the grounds specified in Subsection (3) in all cases where the petitioner or respondent has been an actual and bona fide resident of this state and of the county where the action is brought, or if members of the armed forces of the United States who are not legal residents of this state, where the petitioner has been stationed in this state under military orders, for three months next prior to the commencement of the action.
(3) Grounds for divorce:
(a) impotency of the respondent at the time of marriage;
(b) adultery committed by the respondent subsequent to marriage;
(c) willful desertion of the petitioner by the respondent for more than one year;
(d) willful neglect of the respondent to provide for the petitioner the common necessaries of life;
(e) habitual drunkenness of the respondent;
(f) conviction of the respondent for a felony;
(g) cruel treatment of the petitioner by the respondent to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress to the petitioner;
(h) irreconcilable differences of the marriage;
(i) incurable insanity; or
(j) when the husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for three consecutive years without cohabitation.
(d) In all actions the court and judge have jurisdiction over the payment of alimony, the distribution of property, and the custody and maintenance of minor children, as the courts and judges possess in other actions for divorce.
§ 30-3-4. Pleadings — Decree — Use of affidavit — Private records.
(b) A decree of divorce may not be granted upon default or otherwise except upon legal evidence taken in the cause. If the decree is to be entered upon the default of the respondent, evidence to support the decree may be submitted upon the affidavit of the petitioner with the approval of the court.
(c) If the petitioner and the respondent have a child or children, a decree of divorce may not be granted until both parties have attended the mandatory course described in Section 30-3-11.3 or 30-3-11.4, and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. The court may waive this requirement, on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties, if it determines course attendance and completion are not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties.
(d) All hearings and trials for divorce shall be held before the court or the court commissioner as provided by Section 78A-5-107 and rules of the Judicial Council. The court or the commissioner in all divorce cases shall enter the decree upon the evidence or, in the case of a decree after default of the respondent, upon the petitioner’s affidavit.
§ 30-3-10. Custody of a child — Custody factors.
(1) If a married couple having one or more minor children are separated, or the married couple’s marriage is declared void or dissolved, the court shall enter, and has continuing jurisdiction to modify, an order of custody and parent-time.
Why do I have to submit an “affidavit of income verification and compliance with child support guidelines”?
Why do I have to provide all of that information about me, my ex-spouse, and my children
§ 30-3-10.17. Social security number in court records.
The social security number of any individual who is subject to a divorce decree, support order, or paternity determination or acknowledgment shall be placed in the records relating to the matter.
§ 78B-12-201. Procedure — Documentation — Stipulation.
(1) In any matter in which child support is ordered, the moving party shall submit:
(a) a completed child support worksheet;
(b) the financial verification required by Subsection 78B-12-203(5);
(c) a written statement indicating whether or not the amount of child support requested is consistent with the guidelines; and
(d) the information required under Subsection (3).
(a) If the documentation of income required under Subsection (1) is not available, a verified representation of the other party’s income by the moving party, based on the best evidence available, may be submitted.
(b) The evidence shall be in affidavit form and may only be offered after a copy has been provided to the other party in accordance with Utah Rules of Civil Procedure or Title 63G, Chapter 4, Administrative Procedures Act, in an administrative proceeding.
(3) Upon the entry of an order in a proceeding to establish paternity or to establish, modify, or enforce a support order, each party shall file identifying information and shall update that information as changes occur with the court that conducted the proceeding.
(a) The required identifying information shall include the person’s social security number, driver’s license number, residential and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, the name, address and telephone number of employers, and any other data required by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
§ 78B-12-203. Determination of gross income — Imputed income.
(b) Each parent shall provide verification of current income. Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available. Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.
Rule Allowing Affidavits
Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 104. Divorce decree upon affidavit.
A party in a divorce case may apply for entry of a decree without a hearing in cases in which the other party fails to make a timely appearance after service of process or other appropriate notice, waives notice, stipulates to the withdrawal of the answer, or stipulates to the entry of the decree or entry of default. An affidavit in support of the decree must accompany the application. The affidavit must contain evidence sufficient to support necessary findings of fact and a final judgment.
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