Divorce, Custody, and Guardianship
Domestic Relation Services
Legal Aid offers full legal representation for eligible clients on divorce, parentage (custody), modifying and/or enforcing final court orders, common law divorce (seeking judicial recognition of a relationship as a marriage), and guardianship cases for minor children.
Domestic Relations applicants must be income-eligible and a US Citizen, or other legal status. Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have broader income and legal status eligibility requirements as part of our Bridge The Gap Program.
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Applications are processed in five steps.
Step One: Applicants must complete an Eligibility Form. The Eligibility Form enables us to determine if there is a legal conflict of interest, and verify preliminary if you are income-eligible (full consideration of income eligibility comes after you submit your financial documentation as required in our application). Generally, a legal conflict exists if Legal Aid has represented the other party in the past OR that you have been an opposing party in a Legal Aid case.
Step Two: If no conflict exists, we will email you an Application form which you must fully complete and return with required documents. Received applications take at least 4-6 weeks to process. If there are errors, omissions, or inconsistencies in your Application, your Application will be returned to you, and your file will be placed at the end of the queue. We receive multiple Applications every day, and can only approve those which are correct and complete. Getting it right the first time is important! Thank you for your cooperation!
Step Three: A senior Legal Aid attorney will review your application and determine if Legal Aid will accept your case, this could include a consideration of the legal matter, jurisdiction, income, and other considerations. If accepted, Legal Aid will send you a letter with your applicable client fee.
Step Four: If a your case is assessed a client fee, you must pay it with a cashiers check or money order payable to Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, or pay by credit card online, before your case can be assigned to a legal team.
Step Five: Congratulations! Upon completion of these steps, your case will be assigned to an attorney+paralegal team who will assist you with your case until it is concluded.
You can start the process online by completing and sending in your Eligibility Form. We have a public computer at our 205 N 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT office for applicants with no computer access.
Legal Aid can assist with cases that have been filed, or can be filed, in Salt Lake County. Generally, that means that at least one of the parties must live in Salt Lake County. For a divorce case, one of the spouses must live in Salt Lake County for at least three months.
To modify final orders entered by a court outside of Salt Lake County, at least one person must currently live in Salt Lake County and the other person can no longer live in the place where the original order was entered.
Utah Cases Outside of Salt Lake County
Bridge The Gap Program for Victims of Domestic Violence
Normally, Legal Aid requires domestic relations (divorce, custody, etc.) applicants to have proof of citizenship to be eligible for our services. In cases involving domestic violence or sexual assault, applicants can receive a Bridge The Gap Referral Form from from members of our Domestic Violence team as part of a protective order intake meeting, and other approved domestic violence professionals in the community. Note that your case will be screened for BTG eligibility regardless of whether or not a Referral Form is attached.
What if Legal Aid Society Cannot Help Me?
If Legal Aid cannot assist you or you want to represent yourself, you can go to one of the Family Law Pro Se Clinics or contact the court's Self Help Center to obtain legal forms and information to represent yourself. Information about the Self Help Center and legal forms are on the court's website at www.utcourts.gov.
Getting Help With Your Application
Who knew getting a divorce or custody order was so much work?
You can get a jump-start on your application by collecting the required documents. You can find a list of those documents here:
Note that most of the documents are required by statute and the Court, not by Legal Aid.
Much of the information required on the application will be known only to the applicant, and our staff will unfortunately not be able to assist you in gathering the personal information and documents required. Our staff can, however, check your application for completeness before you submit it to our intake coordinator. If you need help with your application, you can schedule a time with our Intake Coordinator.