Jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority over a case or authority over a person. In order to meet the court jurisdictional authority in a Utah divorce, at least one of the parties must have been a bona fide resident of the county in which they filed for at least 3 months immediately preceding the filing of the divorce petition. This means that the husband or the wife, not necessarily both, must have actually lived in that particular county for the 3 months prior to filing for divorce. Often times, one of the parties just moved to Utah or to a particular county and as a result must wait 3 months before they can file. This is an important rule to consider as you contemplate when and where to file for divorce.
Jurisdiction Over Children
In divorces involving children, the jurisdictional requirement is generally 6 months. This means that the children must have lived in Utah for a period of 6 months prior to the court having authority to make any custody or other child order. There are some exceptions to this rule but it gets complicated so you should discuss any of these issues directly with a St. George Divorce Attorney in our office.
Jurisdiction Over Non Residents
If one party does not live in Utah, and the parties have never lived in Utah during the marriage, and the nonresident did not commit any acts giving rise to the divorce in Utah, it is highly unlikely a court would will find there is sufficient jurisdiction in Utah, most likely under those terms a court would dismiss a case for lack of jurisdiction. If you have recently moved to Utah and your soon to be ex resides in another state, you should consult with a lawyer to determine the place in which you should file for divorce.
Getting More Information
Jurisdictional issues can be complex in divorce. Therefore, you should meet with an experienced divorce lawyer in Utah at our office prior to taking any steps to file on your own. Get a free consultation with an attorney at our firm as soon as possible by calling 435.216.1034.