Can You Undo a Divorce Decree in Utah?
While fairly uncommon, it’s not unheard-of for divorced spouses to remarry each other. According to a 2012 study conducted by California State University professor Nancy Kalish, which surveyed 1,001 couples, about 6% went on to retie the knot with each other after ending their marriage. If you and your ex-husband or ex-wife are thinking about getting remarried in Utah, is it possible to undo your divorce as if it never happened? In this article, divorce lawyer Darwin Overson will explain how Utah’s remarriage laws work.
When is the Decree Final?
The divorce process can be long and complicated, but in the end, it all comes down to a single document: the divorce decree. State law imposes a bare minimum 90-day waiting period between filing for divorce and obtaining the final decree, though it’s generally possible to waive this delay.
Until the judge signs off on the decree, the couple is not officially divorced. However, even after the decree has been signed, it is still possible to make changes or corrections. For instance, the decree might show an incorrect date or dollar amount which needs altering. For more involved issues, such as modifying child support, modifying child custody, or modifying parent-time (visitation with non-custodial parents), either party can ask the court to modify the decree with assistance from a family law attorney.
Unfortunately, you cannot simply “undo” a decree which has already been finalized. However, you and your spouse are free to remarry each other as soon as you like. Utah Code § 30-3-8 provides that “neither party to a divorce proceeding… may marry any person other than the spouse from whom the divorce was granted until [the decree] becomes absolute.”
Under Utah Code § 30-3-7, your divorce decree becomes absolute as soon as either:
- The decree is (1) signed by the court and (2) entered by the court clerk.
- A period of time pre-set by the court expires (unless an appeal or other proceedings are still underway).
- The court orders that the decree is absolute.
How to Dismiss a Divorce Complaint in Utah
If you’re still in the process of getting divorced, you can apply the brakes by filing a motion to dismiss your divorce case. The appropriate form is available through OCAP, or the Utah Online Court Assistance Program.
Be sure to use the correct version of the form, as OCAP supplies slightly different versions meant for use specifically by petitioners and respondents. If you’re the person who originally filed the complaint, you need the petitioner form. If you’re the person who was served with divorce papers, you need the respondent form.
In order to access OCAP, you will need to either create a new account, or login to an existing account. Whether you’re a new or returning user, you can get started on the official OCAP site.
While OCAP itself is free to use, certain forms are subject to a $20 document preparation fee in addition to the standard court filing fees. On a related (and very important) note, OCAP users should be advised that OCAP will not file any legal documents for you: it merely assists with their preparation. You will still have to print out a physical copy of your completed divorce dismissal form and bring it to the court to be filed in person. An attorney can take care of this for you.
Other divorce documents OCAP can assist you with include:
- Child Custody Orders
- Child Support Orders
- Divorce Waiver, 90-Day Waiting Period
- Again, there are separate forms for petitioner and respondent. Be sure to use the correct form.
If you’ve already completed the divorce process and would like a copy of the decree for your records, you should contact the court which originally heard your divorce case. You can find contact information for the appropriate court by using this Utah State Court Directory.
There are different types of copies, so be sure to specify exactly what you’re looking for. You may want a:
- Certified Copy – This is as close as you can get to the original. The certified copy has been stamped by the court clerk to “certify” that the document is a copy of the original decree. The certified copy is also signed and dated.
- Exemplified Copy – This is a copy of a copy: more specifically, a copy of the certified copy (see above), which has been authenticated by the judge and court clerk.
If you and your husband or wife are still on the fence about getting divorced, you can always try a temporary separation. This will give you a better idea of whether divorce is really the right move – and if it isn’t, you’ll spare yourself the time and effort of going through most (or all) of the divorce process, only to change your mind later.
If you’re thinking of getting divorced in Salt Lake City, or have already been served with papers, call divorce attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 733-1308 to talk about your family’s situation in a free and private legal consultation. Darwin will keep your information confidential while giving you free legal advice about the possible ways your case could proceed.