Category: Residency

If You Were Married in One State but Now Live in Another State, Which State’s Law Would Apply if You Divorce?

Many people wonder whether they must file for divorce in the state (or even the country) where they were married, even if they never resided there or no longer reside in that state or country and have not resided there for months or years.

The answer to the question of whether one must file for divorce in the state (or even the country) where one was married is: no. You can file for divorce in the state where you or your spouse currently reside(s).

In the context of divorce, “reside” or “residency” has a specific and objective meaning. With the exception of a few states, you cannot simply consider or declare yourself a resident of a state for divorce filing purposes, you must meet requirements for establishing residency before you qualify to file for divorce in a particular state.

Based upon the research I conducted in responding to this question, the states with the shortest residency requirements are, and I have provided a list below. This list consists of generalities. I do not claim that my research is perfectly accurate, there are other requirements that can affect qualifications for filing for divorce in certain states and remember that states can change their residency requirements. Before you decide to file for divorce in a particular state, confer with an attorney in that state to ensure you and/or your spouse meet(s) all residency requirements):

SHORTEST (0 days)

Alaska, South Dakota, Washington

You have to stay there after you file for divorce, but you don’t have to have lived there a minimum period of time before filing for divorce.

LONGEST (one year)

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, West Virginia


New York kind of fits in both the shortest and the longest categories, but only under certain circumstances. There is no minimum period of time required to establish residency if both spouses live in New York and the cause for divorce occurred in New York. Otherwise, it’s 365 days if 1) one spouse lived in New York one year, and 2) the couple must have either been married in New York or lived in New York at some point in time as a married couple. If only one spouse lives in New York and none of the factors above apply, you can’t qualify as a resident for divorce purposes until you have resided in New York for 730 days.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Eric Johnson’s answer to If you got married in one state but live in another, which state’s rules would apply if you divorce? – Quora

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Why Don’t All Divorced Wives Get Half of Their Husbands’ Property?

Because divorce is not about a spouse (man or woman) getting “half of everything”.

Depending upon whether a state is a “community property” state or an “equitable distribution” state, here is how property is divided between spouses in a divorce:

A community-property state is state in which spouses hold property that is acquired during marriage (other than property acquired by one spouse by inheritance, devise, or gift) as community property. Otherwise stated, all property that is acquired during the marriage by either spouse (other than property acquired by one spouse by inheritance, devise, or gift) or by both spouses together is jointly and equally owned and will be presumed to be divided in divorce equally between the divorcing spouses. Nine states are community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

An equitable distribution state seeks to divide property in divorce in a fair, but not necessarily equal, manner. An equitable property state court can divide property between the spouses regardless of who holds title to the property. The courts consider many factors in awarding property, including (but not limited to) a spouse’s monetary contributions, nonmonetary assistance to a spouse’s career or earning potential, the efforts of each spouse during the marriage, the length of the marriage, whether the property was acquired before or after marriage, and whether the property acquired by one spouse by inheritance, devise, or gift. The court may take into account the relative earning capacity of the spouses and the fault of either spouse (See Black’s Law Dictionary, 11th ed.). Equitable distribution is applied in the non-community property states.

So, does a spouse “get half of everything” in divorce? Possibly, but not always, and now you know why.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Why don’t all divorced wives get half of their husbands’ property? – Husbands and wives – Quora

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The Father of My Child Has Visitation Rights Ordered by Court, Yet He Will Be in a Different State During His Visitation Time, but Wants His Aunt to Take Over. Do I Have to Allow His Aunt Visitation While He’s on Vacation?

This is a good question and one that arises frequently in one form or another; a parent either can’t or won’t provide personal care and supervision of the parties’ children his/her scheduled parent-time or custody yet does not want the other parent to care for the children in his/her absence.

Some parents try to pull this stunt because either 1) they are territorial about “my time” with the children and thus can’t stand the idea of the other parent caring for the children during “my time”; or 2) they maliciously want to deny the other parent the opportunity to provide this care for the children. Others try to pull this stunt because they are afraid they will lose the child custody or parent-time they were awarded if they allow the other parent the opportunity to provide care for the children (yet believe that if someone else provides the care that somehow makes retaining custody and parent-time more “secure”). This is wrong, and is something you can take to the court to complain about and seek new court orders to remedy.

But sometimes a parent occasionally wants to leave the children in the care of someone else for perfectly reasonable, even laudable reasons, such as wanting the kids to enjoy time with grandma and grandpa or with the cousins, a sleepover at a friend’s house, and things like that. Clearly, it’s not defensible if it is the rule and not the exception, but there is nothing wrong with this on occasion. Indeed, refusing to be flexible and to allow a parent to do this for your kids is unfair to your kids.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Can you seek a temporary custody award if you have an apartment but you’re not on the lease, but your fiancé is on the lease and also the child does have their own room?

I get this question frequently. The answer: Sure, you can ask (you can always merely ask) the court to award you temporary custody of the child(ren) under such circumstances, but whether the court will grant your request under such circumstances is a separate question.

Call me old fashioned, but the “my fiancé” term is, in child custody and family law settings, usually followed by words like “of 5 years” or “with whom I have 3 kids,” so if you are in such a situation, then use of “my fiancé” doesn’t give you, your “fiancé” or your circumstances the appearance of greater legitimacy or stability than shacking up. Asserting, “I have an apartment, but I’m not on the lease” means “my residential circumstances are insecure and unstable” and “I can be kicked out of where I currently live at any moment.”

Likewise, claiming “my child(ren) has/have his/her/their own room in someone else’s apartment that I don’t lease” means “my child(ren)’s residential circumstances are insecure and unstable too.”

But if the other parent’s circumstances are even less secure and less stable than yours, living with your boyfriend/girlfriend in his/her apartment at his/her pleasure may lead the court to award you temporary custody in the absence of any better alternative.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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After a divorce, is joint residential custody better or worse for the children?

Let’s indulge an analogy to answer this question.

Is sugar good for you, or bad for you? It depends upon the circumstances. An occasional slice of cake or pie is a safe and pleasant way to enjoy sugar. ‘Nothing wrong with that. Eating so much sugar that your teeth rot and you pack on 30 unneeded pounds is irresponsible and hazardous to your health. ‘Nothing good about that. Yes, you have the right to ruin your health with too much sugar, but that does not mean you have the right to expect everyone around you to endorse or accommodate your irresponsible lifestyle.

So is joint residential custody better or worse for the children? It depends on the joint residential custody circumstances. Assuming there’s nothing emotionally or psychologically off about a child, when both parents are fit (not abusive or neglectful and physically and psychologically able to care for children), loving and supportive, there to provide personal care and attention, have residences that are safe and hygienic, and can at least tolerate the exercise of joint custody with each other, joint residential custody is unquestionably best for children (the research is copious and only getting clearer). When one of the parents is unfit, disengaged, and lives in a pig sty and/or in his/her car, joint residential custody would clearly not be in a child’s best interest.

Parental rights are fundamental, God-given, human rights. But they are not a parent’s absolute inviolable rights. If a parent is not minimally fit to exercise custody of a child, the law provides that such a parent’s parental rights can be infringed, restricted, even terminated. This is why a court can award sole custody of children, if it finds that the parents are not both fit to exercise joint custody and/or if it finds that joint custody would not subserve the child’s best interest.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277


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2018 UT App 210 – Silva v. Silva – sheriff’s sale, attorney fees

2018 UT App 210 – Silva v. Silva

DAVID SILVA, Appellee,
BONNIE SILVA, Appellant.

Opinion No. 20160171-CA
Filed November 8, 2018
Third District Court, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Robert P. Faust
No. 140908706

J. Spencer Ball, Attorney for Appellant
Shawn D. Turner, Attorney for Appellee



¶1        Bonnie Silva appeals the district court’s denial of her motions to set aside a default judgment and a sheriff’s sale following that judgment. She also challenges the district court’s award of attorney fees. We vacate the district court’s rulings and remand for further proceedings.


¶2        Bonnie Silva and David Silva divorced in 2010. The marital estate included interests in fifteen parcels of real property—four properties held jointly, one property held by David, and ten properties held by Bonnie.[1] The decree allocated the properties and ordered the parties to execute quitclaim deeds within thirty days, conveying their interests in the properties to one another as specified in the decree. If either party failed to execute a quitclaim deed, the divorce decree authorized the other party to seek a court order to transfer title. One of the properties awarded to David was a residential property located on Dennis Drive in West Valley City, Utah (the Dennis Drive Property).

¶3        In June 2010, pursuant to the divorce decree, Bonnie executed a quitclaim deed as “Grantor Bonnie Moore, now known as Bonnie Silva,” purportedly conveying the Dennis Drive Property to David. But when David attempted to record the deed, he discovered that “Bonnie Moore[,] as Trustee for the Consolidated Trust,” actually held title to the Dennis Drive Property. He further discovered that one week before he had filed for divorce in September 2008, Bonnie had conveyed the Dennis Drive Property and other properties then in her name to herself and her daughters, K.V. Lum and R. Carter, as trustees of a trust known as the Consolidated Trust. After learning these facts, David sent a revised quitclaim deed to Bonnie, but she did not sign and return it as requested. Several months later, Bonnie, as a trustee of the Consolidated Trust, again conveyed the Dennis Drive Property and other properties to Lum, as trustee of the Consolidated Trust.

¶4        In October 2010, David filed a Motion for Contempt with the district court. Because he claimed he could not locate Bonnie, David filed a Motion for Alternative Service, which the court granted. The district court held an evidentiary hearing and entered a default judgment finding Bonnie in contempt for failing to convey the Dennis Drive Property to David. However, the court left open a window during which Bonnie could cure the contempt. If Bonnie did not convey the Dennis Drive Property to David within thirty days, the court would enter a $219,000 judgment against her. Bonnie did not convey the property to David during this time. A few months later, Lum, as a trustee of the Consolidated Trust, conveyed title to the Dennis Drive Property to Carter, as a trustee of the Consolidated Trust. The district court then entered a contempt judgment against Bonnie, reducing slightly the $219,000 by amounts David owed to Bonnie under the divorce decree.

¶5        The following month, David instituted this action against Bonnie and her daughters alleging fraudulent conveyance and seeking to quiet title to the Dennis Drive Property. David filed a motion for alternative service recounting his prior unsuccessful efforts to serve Bonnie. David asserted that the process server had attempted personal service at Bonnie’s last known address four separate times. The district court ordered alternative service by publication, which David accomplished.

¶6        Bonnie did not answer the complaint. The district court clerk consequently entered a default certificate against Bonnie, and the court ordered an evidentiary hearing on damages. Concerned that Bonnie may have received inadequate notice of the hearing, the district court rescheduled the hearing and required additional service on Bonnie. David attempted service by mailing copies of the notice of hearing to what David claimed was Bonnie’s last known address by both regular and certified mail. David also attempted personal service whereby the process server left the notice at Bonnie’s last known residence on three separate occasions. David then completed service by publication again.

¶7        Bonnie did not appear at the hearing on damages. In its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the district court concluded that “Service of Process of the Complaint and notice of the evidentiary hearing on damages were in accordance with the Rules of the Court, the Statutes of Utah, and the Constitutional requirements of due process.” The district court also determined that Bonnie had fraudulently conveyed the Dennis Drive Property and her other properties to the Consolidated Trust. Accordingly, the district court ruled that the contempt judgment entered in the divorce action attached to the properties, that Bonnie and her daughters were enjoined from transferring or encumbering the properties, and that David “may levy execution on the properties . . . and sell the amount of the property necessary to satisfy the judgment.” Finally, the district court awarded attorney fees and costs to David. The district court thus entered default judgment against Bonnie in the amount of the contempt judgment, now attached to Bonnie’s properties. The court also awarded costs and attorney fees totaling nearly $50,000. The district court clerk subsequently issued a writ of execution on three of Bonnie’s properties, including the Dennis Drive Property.

¶8        Later that month, Bonnie’s counsel entered an appearance in the district court and filed a motion pursuant to rule 60(b)(1) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to set aside the default judgment on the basis of excusable neglect and to quash the writ of execution. The district court held a hearing, which Bonnie and her counsel attended. At that hearing, Bonnie maintained that the default judgment should be set aside on the ground of excusable neglect because she did not receive actual notice of the action and service was insufficient under the circumstances. Bonnie acknowledged that service complied with the law, but she argued that David knew where Bonnie was located and could easily have contacted her to give her actual notice of his claims.

¶9        Bonnie filed an affidavit with her rule 60(b) motion and a second affidavit with her reply motion. In her first affidavit, Bonnie alleged that she had not received notice of the current action against her. She further alleged that she received a call from David notifying her that “something was wrong with the quitclaim deed” but that “David never indicated to [her] in that telephone call that there was any court proceeding.” In her second affidavit, Bonnie alleged that David knew of various means of contacting her, including her two email addresses or through their respective children and the renters of their properties. David did not refute these allegations.

¶10 The district court denied Bonnie’s motion to set aside based upon excusable neglect on the ground that “service [of the notice] and the resulting default were appropriate.” The court reached this conclusion, in part, because the court determined Bonnie provided no evidence—despite her two affidavits— supporting her assertions that David knew where Bonnie was located and that she did not receive actual notice of the proceedings. And although the court recited the law relative to excusable neglect, the court did not address excusable neglect in its analysis. Similarly, the court denied the motion to quash for Bonnie’s failure to provide evidence of irreparable harm.

¶11      Four days later, the Dennis Drive Property and the other two properties subject to the writ of execution were sold at a sheriff’s sale. Bonnie responded with a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), a motion to void the execution sale, and a motion to join the sale purchasers as parties to the action. After a hearing, the district court denied the TRO on the ground that Bonnie had failed to meet the required elements for relief. The court denied the motion to join the purchasers on the ground that “[Bonnie] cites rules that apply before a judgment is made and are not applicable for a case as this one where judgment was entered.” The court noted that “even if there was no judgment in this case, there is no basis, claim, or cause of action asserted against the purchasers.” The court denied the motion to void the execution sale on the ground that the court had already ruled at the TRO hearing that the notice of sale was properly served.

¶12      Bonnie appealed the district court’s denial of her motions to set aside the default judgment and the sheriff’s sale, and the district court’s award of attorney fees to David. We issued an opinion in this matter on July 28, 2017. See Silva v. Silva, 2017 UT App 125, 402 P.3d 36, vacated, Jan. 9, 2018. We subsequently granted a petition for rehearing, vacated that opinion, and reheard the matter.


¶13 Bonnie asserts two claims of error on appeal.[2] First, she contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying her motion to set aside the default judgment. We generally review a district court’s denial of a rule 60(b) motion under an abuse of discretion standard. Utah Res. Int’l, Inc. v. Mark Techs. Corp., 2014 UT 60, ¶ 11, 342 P.3d 779.

¶14       Second, Bonnie contends that the district court abused its

discretion in denying her motion to set aside the sheriff’s sale, claiming she lacked notice and pointing to irregularities in the sale. “A district court’s decision to set aside a sheriff’s sale is to be reviewed for an abuse of discretion.” Meguerditchian v. Smith, 2012 UT App 176, ¶ 9, 284 P.3d 658 (quotation simplified).


I. Rule 60(b) Motion

¶15 Bonnie first contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying her rule 60(b) motion to set aside the default judgment. “Rule 60(b) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure provides a mechanism for a party to obtain relief from a final order or judgment . . . .” Asset Acceptance LLC v. Stocks, 2016 UT App 84, ¶ 13, 376 P.3d 322. “[A] movant is entitled to have a default judgment set aside under [rule] 60(b) if (1) the motion is timely; (2) there is a basis for granting relief under one of the subsections of 60(b); and (3) the movant has alleged a meritorious defense.”[3] Menzies v. Galetka, 2006 UT 81, ¶ 64, 150 P.3d 480.

¶16 With respect to the second requirement, Bonnie asserted excusable neglect as a basis for relief. See Utah R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1). The excusable neglect inquiry is a flexible one in which the district court is granted broad discretion “to consider all relevant factors and give each factor the weight that it determines it deserves.” Jones v. Layton/Okland, 2009 UT 39, ¶¶ 17, 25, 214 P.3d 859. In such equitable inquiries, “the question is always whether the particular relief sought is justified under principles of fundamental fairness in light of the particular facts.” Id. ¶ 17. Courts are generally encouraged to be “indulgent toward setting a judgment aside where there is reasonable justification or excuse for the defendant’s failure to answer and when timely application is made.” Miller v. Martineau & Co., 1999 UT App 216, ¶ 25, 983 P.2d 1107 (quotation simplified). Indeed, upon a timely motion to set aside, “it is quite uniformly regarded as an abuse of discretion to refuse to vacate a default judgment where there is reasonable justification or excuse for the defendant’s failure to appear.” Arbogast Family Trust v. River Crossings, LLC, 2008 UT App 277, ¶ 23, 191 P.3d 39 (quotation simplified), aff’d, 2010 UT 40, 238 P.3d 1035.

¶17 Here, the district court did not address whether Bonnie’s failure to respond to the complaint was due to excusable neglect. Instead, the court’s analysis focused only on the propriety of its order authorizing alternative service. In its decision denying Bonnie’s motion to set aside, the court observed that the court had approved the alternative service and that Bonnie’s counsel had “admitted at the hearing that service upon [her] was legally proper.” On this basis, the district court concluded that “service and the resulting default were appropriate.” But the question before the court was not whether service or entry of default judgment was technically appropriate. Indeed, despite proper service and entry of an otherwise appropriate default judgment, parties under our rules are afforded an opportunity to set a judgment or final order aside. The correct inquiry, then, is whether Bonnie’s lack of actual notice constitutes a reasonable justification to set aside the default “under principles of fundamental fairness in light of the particular facts.” Jones, 2009 UT 39, ¶ 17. While the particular circumstances of service of process may shed light on whether Bonnie’s failure to respond was reasonable and excusable, the district court failed to address this issue.

¶18 Bonnie argues that David had “many means at his disposal to contact [her] to give notice that he was suing her, including calling and emailing her.” Her affidavit alleges that he knew “her two active email addresses, her telephone number, . . . her children, and many other means he had after 13 years of marriage” to contact her. If Bonnie’s unrefuted allegations are to be believed, then David, contrary to his representations to the court when he filed his motion for alternative service, had the ability to contact Bonnie through means that would have been more likely to reach her. If this is the case, then there was likely “reasonable justification” for Bonnie’s failure to answer. See Arbogast Family Trust, 2008 UT App 277, ¶ 23.

¶19 The district court did not address whether these circumstances made Bonnie’s failure to respond excusable. Rather, the court merely ended its inquiry upon determining that (1) the alternative service was adequate and (2) Bonnie admitted the technical legality of that service of process. Because this determination did not address Bonnie’s excusable neglect argument, we vacate the district court’s ruling and remand for further proceedings.

II. Sheriff’s Sale

¶20 Bonnie also challenges the district court’s refusal to set aside the sheriff’s sale of three of her properties to satisfy the judgment. A court “may set aside a sheriff’s sale where (1) a debtor’s property is sold at a grossly inadequate price and (2) there were irregularities during the sale that contributed to the inadequacy of price or circumstances of unfairness during the redemption period caused by the conduct of the party benefitted by the sale.” Pyper v. Bond, 2011 UT 45, ¶ 15, 258 P.3d 575.

¶21 Bonnie points to two irregularities in the sale that she believes justify setting it aside. First, she asserts that she and her attorney did not receive proper notice of the sale as outlined by rules 69B(b), 64(a)(10), and 5 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. Second, she points out that the sheriff’s sale disposed of all three properties together rather than as separate parcels. She asserts that this is contrary to rule 69B(d), which directs, “The property shall be sold in such parcels as are likely to bring the highest price. Severable lots of real property shall be sold separately.” Utah R. Civ. P. 69B(d). Bonnie maintains that these irregularities contributed to a grossly inadequate sale price, pointing out that the Dennis Drive Property alone was valued at $219,000 at “the bottom of the real estate depression in Utah,” yet the Dennis Drive Property plus two other single family dwellings were sold together at auction for only $186,000 in 2016.

¶22 In its ruling on Bonnie’s motion to set aside the default judgment, the district court did not fully address her arguments. The ruling states simply that the court had “already addressed at the previous hearings the issue of notice of the sale (not required to be served on counsel and notice of sale not done under Rule 5).” From what we can glean from the record, this ruling seems to be based on the court’s reading of rule 69B(b)(3), which states that “[i]f the property is real property, the officer shall post written notice” of the sale. Id. R. 69B(b)(3). The district court appears to have taken this statement in the rule to mean that only posting of notice, rather than service on the defendant pursuant to rule 5, is required under 69B. But in examining the structure of rule 69B(b), this is not the case.

¶23 The rule first states, “The officer shall set the date, time and place for sale and serve notice thereof on the defendant . . . .” Id. R. 69B(b) (emphasis added). The rule then goes on to state, “The officer shall publish notice of the date, time and place of sale as follows . . . .” Id. Rule 69B(b)(3), on which the district court appears to have relied for its determination that “if it’s real property . . . [t]he manner [of service] is different,” is only a subpart of subsection (b) and describes the manner in which notice is to be published with respect to real property. It does not negate the requirement in the first sentence of subsection (b) regarding service upon the defendant. Rule 64(a)(10) defines “serve” for purposes of rule 69B as “any method of service authorized by Rule 5,” id. R. 64(a)(10), and rule 5 requires service upon a party’s attorney where the party is represented by counsel, id. R. 5(b). Thus, the district court’s determination that service upon Bonnie’s attorney was not required was erroneous.

¶24 Nevertheless, the defect in service does not necessarily mean that the sheriff’s sale should be set aside. See Pyper, 2011 UT 45, ¶ 15 (stating that a sheriff’s sale may be set aside where the price is “grossly inadequate” and there are “irregularities during the sale that contributed to the inadequacy of price or circumstances of unfairness”). Further analysis is needed to make this determination. Because the district court erred in its determination regarding notice and did not fully address Bonnie’s other arguments, we remand for the district court to address those arguments.

III. Attorney Fees on Appeal

¶25 Finally, both parties request an award of attorney fees incurred on appeal. Bonnie contends that “[e]quity requires that [she] be granted her attorney’s fees for having to make this appeal.” David counters that even if Bonnie is “able to prevail on appeal, [she] would not be entitled to [her] fees,” because she was “not awarded fees below.” David also requests attorney fees on appeal because he was awarded fees in the default judgment.

¶26 “When a party is entitled to attorney fees below and prevails on appeal, that party is also entitled to fees reasonably incurred on appeal.” Jordan Constr., Inc. v. Federal Nat’l Mortgage Ass’n, 2017 UT 28, ¶ 71, 408 P.3d 296 (quotation simplified). “In Utah, attorney fees are awardable only if authorized by statute or by contract.” Jones v. Riche, 2009 UT App 196, ¶ 1, 216 P.3d 357 (quotation simplified). “However, in the absence of a statutory or contractual authorization, a court has inherent equitable power to award reasonable attorney fees when it deems it appropriate in the interest of justice and equity.” Stewart v. Utah Public Service Comm’n, 885 P.2d 759, 782 (Utah 1994). “Courts have exercised that inherent power in several categories of cases,” such as “when a party acts in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.” Id. (quotation simplified).

¶27 The parties present no contract or statute authorizing attorney fees under the circumstances. Further, neither party has made the required showing or otherwise persuaded us that equity requires an award of attorney fees. Accordingly, we decline to exercise our equitable power and deny each party’s request for attorney fees incurred on appeal.


¶28 We conclude that the district court did not address Bonnie’s arguments for setting aside the default judgment and the sheriff’s sale. Accordingly, we vacate the district court’s rulings on these motions and remand for the district court to fully address Bonnie’s arguments. We deny each party’s request for attorney fees incurred on appeal.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277


[1] Because Bonnie and David share a last name, we refer to them by their first names throughout this opinion. We intend no disrespect by this apparent informality.

[2] Bonnie also asserts that the attorney fees award associated with the default judgment was not supported by findings regarding the reasonableness of the award. Because we vacate the district court’s decision based on Bonnie’s first argument, we do not address her attorney fees argument in detail.

[3] Because we conclude that the district court failed to properly analyze Bonnie’s excusable neglect argument—the basis she alleged for relief—we do not consider the other requirements.

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What are residency requirements for divorce?

A friend left her home in MI due to domestic violence to stay in PA with relatives in the months since. Which state would handle her petition for spousal support, MI, or PA?

I cannot answer as to which state has jurisdiction now, but whether a court has jurisdiction over a divorce case requires that she be a resident of that state. Each state has different requirements and time periods for establishing residency. The state where I practice law (Utah) has these requirements in the Utah Code:

Utah Code § 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.

Pennsylvania will have it’s own residency requirements. A call to a divorce lawyer in Pennsylvania should get her the answers she seeks.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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