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Who files for divorce first?

If you have made the decision to get a divorce, you should be the one to file for a divorce.  As the person who files for the divorce, you will be called the petitioner.  You may have heard the term “plaintiff” before, which is essentially the same thing as a petitioner.  In divorce proceedings, the plaintiff, or person who initiates the court proceeding, is referred to as the petitioner.

As the petitioner, you are required to file a petition with the court to get the divorce started.  There are numerous documents that your attorney will prepare for you that are required by the court.  Failure to complete the documents according to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure could result in sanctions from the court.


Once your attorney prepares your divorce petition, your attorney will serve your spouse with all of the information required by the court.


In getting ready for your Utah divorce, you will need to prepare the following documents:


  • Past two years of federal and state income tax including Form W-2, 1099 and K-1 and supporting tax schedules
  • Pay stubs for all earned and unearned income for the last 12 months
  • Any loan applications for the past 12 months
  • All documentation to verify the value of real estate
  • Bank account information to include savings, checking, money market funds, CDs, other investments and retirement documentation.
  • Gross monthly income (all pre-tax income)
  • All tax expenses
  • Information on all personal property (vehicles and other valuable property)
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