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New Bill Changes Divorce in Utah
New Bill Changes Divorce in Utah

A new bill recently passed in Utah will make the divorce process longer for couples, by 90 days at least.

Gov. Gary Herbert has been busy lately, taking action on the last of 477 bills sent to him by the Utah Legislature.  The bills ranged from sex education to divorce, and some were vetoed entirely.

“After reviewing every bill, I recognize and thank the Legislature for the hard work and consensus-building that goes into each one,” Herbert said in a statement. “Most importantly, we prioritized correctly and funded education efforts. We also spurred further growth in the economy by reducing taxes, eliminating unnecessary business regulation and empowering the private sector to succeed in the free market.”

Among the legislation that was signed was a bill that would require couples filing for divorce to wait nearly three months to end a marriage.  Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, the sponsor of HB316, which extends the divorce waiting period to 90 days, said the change would serve as a cooling-off period for couples before they dissolve their marriage.

“What we’re doing is creating good public policy and allowing people a small period of time when they’re making a huge decision that has a lot of impact on their life to make a good decision,” Peterson said during debate on the bill.

Opponents said forcing estranged couples to wait 90 days to end their marriage is intrusive and burdensome.

Courts would have the authority to waive the waiting period in certain cases.