Mandatory Education in Divorce and Temporary Separation
HB 323 and Divorce Orientation Cost Changes
With HB 323 going into effect July 1, 2014, those individuals who are required to attend the Divorce Orientation class can take advantage of a cost savings benefit. In order to receive this reduction in class fee, parents must attend the Divorce Orientation class only with in 30 days of filing for divorce or within 30 days of being served for divorce. Those individuals are responsible for providing verification of this time frame requirement by either providing the filing date receipt or the Signed Acceptance Notice. Those individuals who do not provide verification or attend the Divorce Orientation after the respective 30 days, will be required to pay the full fee. The fee to attend past the 30 day mark has been increased as a result of H.B. 323. This fee change only applies to the Divorce Orientation course. Please see "Fees" for class costs.
Attending a live course
In order for participants to receive credit for completion of this course, All participants must attend an approved class which can be located on the course calendars below. No exceptions will be made for individuals who take an online course from an unapproved provider.
Course Dates and Times
If you need an interpreter, simply request one, and one will be provided without charge. For information and forms, see our page Request a Court Interpreter.
You may attend the courses in any location regardless of where the divorce or temporary separation case is filed. You do not need an appointment. Registration takes about 15 minutes, so please arrive early. You may have a support person with you.
- Children are not allowed.
- Late arrivals will not be admitted.
- Intoxicated and disruptive people will not be admitted.
- If you have a divorce or temporary separation case pending, bring your case number with you, or you will have to provide it to the instructor later.
If a course is held in a courthouse, you will have to pass through airport-type security to enter the building, so do not bring anything that might be considered a weapon or contraband.
For most locations, free parking is available and entry into the building is obvious, but access to the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City (maps.google.com) can be confusing. There is a surface pay-lot immediately to the west of the courthouse accessible only from 500 South, westbound. There is an underground pay-lot at the courthouse, which is accessible only from 400 South, eastbound, and it is not open on Saturday. Limited metered street parking is available nearby.
- For weekday day-time courses, enter the building through the East or West entrance.
- For weekday evening courses, enter the building through the East entrance.
- For Saturday courses, enter the building through the West entrance.
If you have questions, call the district court clerk. For a list of courthouses and telephone numbers, see our Court Directory.
The fee for the Divorce Orientation course is $15 per person if the participant attends the course within 30 days of filing for divorce or service of divorce. If the participant attends after the 30 days, the cost of the course increases to $30 per person. It is the responsibility of the participant to provide verification of time frame requirement. The cost for the Divorce Education course is $35 per person.
The fees are paid to the person teaching the class.
Cash is the only form of payment accepted.
A party who cannot afford to pay the fees may ask the judge to waive them. The process includes a detailed description of the party's income, property, and debts. If the judge grants the request to waive the fees, give a copy of the signed order to the person teaching the class. For those participants who have been approved for waiver of fees, they must provide a signed order of fee waiver by the judge at the time the class. For more information and forms to waive fees, see our page on Fees and Fee Waiver.
Education requirements for parents with minor children
Parents with minor children who file a petition for divorce must attend an education course. Parents with minor children who file a petition for divorce or a petition for temporary separation must attend an orientation course.
Also, the court may require unmarried parents in a visitation or custody proceeding to attend the education course. There are no requirements if there are no minor children from the marriage.
A decree will not be granted until both parties have completed the course requirements and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. Complete the courses as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after filing the petition if you are the petitioner and no later than 45 days after being served with notice of the course requirements if you are the respondent.
Purpose of the education course
The education course assists parents to understand their children's reactions to their divorce and to help their children adjust to it. Parents learn how children of different ages express their pain and loss and the best parenting methods for helping them cope during and after the divorce. Some of the topics discussed are:
- Grieving states common to divorce.
- How children experience divorce. What to expect from a child based on their developmental age, and how to help a child adjust to the divorce.
- Helpful ways to communicate with a child about the divorce. What children need to know and what they don't need to know.
- Parental behavior that promotes good self-esteem in children. Encouraging and supporting expression of your child's feelings.
- How and why conflict between parents creates stress for children. How to decrease the conflict children are exposed to.
- Why children need continued and meaningful relationships with both parents during and after a divorce. Helpful ways to share parenting responsibilities and encourage cooperative behavior with both parents.
- The financial and legal aspects of divorce.
Purpose of the orientation course
The orientation course educates parties about divorce and its alternatives. The course informs the parties about:
- Resources to improve or strengthen the marriage.
- Resources to resolve custody and support issues without filing for divorce.
- The positive and negative consequences of divorce.
- Procedural options in a divorce, including mediation, collaborative law, and litigation.
- The divorce process.
- Post-divorce resources.
Notice of the education requirements
The petitioner must serve notice of the education requirements on the respondent. For a sample notice form, see the section below on Forms.
Permission to watch a DVD
In limited circumstances, you may watch a DVD of the divorce education course and the divorce orientation course. The DVDs are available in English and in Spanish. You may watch the DVDs if you:
- live out of state or more than 60 miles from the nearest live class;
- are in prison, jail or other detention facility; or
- are an in-patient at a medical facility.
Watching the Courses on DVD
If you qualify to watch a DVD of the courses, you may watch it at some district court courthouses or have the DVD mailed to you to watch on your own.
At a courthouse
Not all district court courthouses provide this service. The ones that do are listed below, but you should contact the court to confirm the service and to see whether there are any time restrictions.
To watch the DVDs at a courthouse, contact the clerk of court at the district court in that courthouse. For contact information, see our Court Directory.
Pay the fees at the courthouse. If the judge grants the request to waive the fees, give a copy of the signed order to judicial services representative. If a motion to waive the fees has been filed but not yet ruled on, give a copy of the motion to judicial services representative. For more information and forms to waive fees, see our page on Fees and Fee Waiver.
After you have watched the DVD, the judicial services representative will give you a Statement of Completion of Divorce Education Requirements by DVD to complete and sign. The judicial services representative will file a Certificate of Completion and a Divorce Education/Orientation Certificate in your case and mail you a copy of both documents. Keep copies of all records for yourself.
On your own
To watch the DVD, contact your case manager, counselor or administrator. After you have watched the DVD, the case manager, counselor or administrator will give you a Statement of Completion of Divorce Education Requirements by DVD form to complete and sign. The case manager, counselor or administrator will mail it to the clerk of the court where your case is pending. Keep a copy for yourself. The clerk of court will file a Certificate of Completion and a Divorce Education/Orientation Certificate in your case and mail you a copy of both documents. There are no fees required for those incarcerated or detained.
You may need to show that you qualify to watch the DVD's. If you face circumstances that make attending a live class difficult, please contact:
State Divorce Education Clerk
801-238-7180 en espanol
Pay the fees to the Divorce Education Clerk, or, if ordering by mail, include the fees. If the judge grants the request to waive the fees, give or mail a copy of the signed order to the State Divorce Education Clerk. If a motion to waive the fees has been filed but not yet ruled on, give or mail a copy of the motion to the State Divorce Education Clerk. For more information and forms to waive fees, see our page on Fees and Fee Waiver.
The State Divorce Education Clerk will mail the DVD to you and include a Statement of Completion of Divorce Education Requirements by DVD form. After you have watched the DVD, complete the form and mail it to the Divorce Education Clerk. Keep a copy for yourself. The State Divorce Education Clerk will file a Certificate of Completion and a Divorce Education/Orientation Certificate in your case and mail you a copy of both documents.
Waiving the education requirements
If attending a live course or watching the DVDs is not appropriate or is not feasible or is not in the best interest of the parties, the judge can waive the requirement. Either party can ask that the requirement be waived by filing a motion. For more information about motion procedures, see our page on Motions, but use the Forms below.
Form to notify party of education requirements
Forms to waive the education requirements
- Checklist - PDF | Word
- Motion to Waive Education Requirements - PDF | Word
- Request to Submit for Decision - PDF | Word
- Proposed Order on Motion to Waive Education Requirements - PDF | Word
- Divorce Education for Children
- Fees and Fee Waiver
- Parenting Plans
- Rule 4-907. Mandatory divorce education.
- Thinking About Divorce? (divorce.usu.edu)
Note: This divorce orientation information offered by Utah State University may be useful to you, but it does not satisfy the requirement for a divorce orientation course.
- Utah Code Section 30-3-11.3
- Utah Code Section 30-3-11.4