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Utah Divorce and Representation Statistics

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Utah has a high rate of people going through a divorce without a lawyer. An examination of statistics sheds some light on why Utah has such a high rate of cases with lack of legal representation.

Divorces in Utah are just as common as in the other states. In Utah, the divorce rate is approximately 4.3 for every 1000 residents. This rate is a bit higher than the average USA rate of 4.1 for every 1000. First marriages ending in divorce in Utah have a median age of 29 for women and 31 for men.

The number of children involved in a Utah divorce is rising rapidly. In 2000, there were more than 10,000 children involved in divorce and the number now is much higher.

According to a study of statistics by Utah State University on the most recent data available, almost half of the divorces in Utah happen during the first five years of marriage. Almost 1/5 of divorces in Utah happen before the couple make it to their first wedding anniversary.

A possible explanation for Utah's high rate of self-representation could be that with the brief length of marriage before divorcing and couples getting married at a young age, the parties have not had much time or opportunity to earn high wages and are unable to afford a lawyer. Another factor could be the high rate of divorce cases involving child custody issues which creates more expense and makes the case less affordable.

Attempts are being made this year (2009) by the Utah state courts to determine what percentage of divorces involve parties without legal representation. The courts estimate that approximately 7 out of 10 divorce cases have an unrepresented party. Local Utah attorneys are being encouraged by judges to make an effort to provide services for litigants who are attempting to navigate through the legal process without representation.

Because of cut-backs in the Utah court system, Judges and Commissioners are working more cases with less administrative assistance and they are losing their patience with pro se litigants (unrepresented parties), who do not have any idea of appropriate procedure or argument.

Many firms in Utah are responding by providing pay-as-you-go services for pro se litigants that cannot afford a full retainer or by offering free consultations. Some local law firms, like Long Okura, are providing both options. Self-represented parties should consider getting assistance before appearing in court unrepresented.



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