New Filing Deadlines for Divorces

There are a few basic rules you should know and keep in mind when calculating deadlines, as the Utah rules have changed as of May 1, 2014.

When to Start?

First, you should know when the time period begins, ie. what day will you count as day “one.”  The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 6 states “exclude the day of the event that triggers the period.”  For example, if you were to file a Complaint on Monday, you would begin counting on Tuesday, if you are served with a Complaint on Wednesday you should start counting on Thursday.

What about Weekends & Holidays?

When you are counting the days you should count every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.  This is a new this year.  Prior to this change, for some deadlines weekends were not included – THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE.

Additionally, if the time period ends on a weekend or legal holiday, move your deadline to the next day that is not a weekend or legal holiday.  For example, if you were counting 21 days after being served and the 21st day was on a Sunday, the deadline would actually be Monday.

Most of the time, the deadline to file something is midnight for electronic filing or mailing (postage stamp), but if you are not filing electronically and are filing by hand then you must file by the time the clerk’s office is scheduled to close.

What about Delayed Mail?

If you receive any pleadings by regular mail under Rule 5(b)(1)(A)(iv) then 3 more days are added to the end of your deadline for your time to respond.   If you send a pleading by mail, remember that the other side will be adding 3 days to the end of their deadline. For example, if you received a motion that is to be heard before a judge in the mail, then you have 14 days plus 3 more days before your response would be due.

Does it matter whether I am in front of a Judge or a Commissioner?

Pursuant to the new rules, deadlines for Judges and for Commissioners are different.  You must find out from the court – “Who will be sitting at the hearing?” If the court does not know – assume it is the judge, OR look to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 7Rules 26 and 26.1, or Rule 101 to determine whether a judge or commissioner will be hearing the pleadings.

If the pleading is going to be heard by a judge, then you count forward, as described above. For example, if you file a Motion for Summary Judgment to  be heard by the Judge on Monday.  The opposing side will have 14 days to respond under Rule 7, and counting forward 14 days this would be a Monday also, unless it’s a holiday (then move to Tuesday). If the opposing party fails to file a response by Monday, 14 days later, then the response would be untimely.  Most of the time, you will be counting forward – Complaints and Petitions are considered before the judge.

However, commissioners count days for deadlines backwards.  In other words, ONLY WHEN A HEARING HAS BEEN SCHEDULED can you know the deadlines.  For example, if you file a Motion for Temporary Orders, you should also call the commissioner’s clerk to set a hearing so there will be a deadline for the opposing party to respond.  If the hearing is set for Friday the 25th of July, Rule 101 says that for commissioners, the due date for the opposing party to respond is 7 days in advance of that hearing. So, do not count the Friday of the hearing; begin Thursday as day “one” and count backward 7 days. In this case, that would be midnight the 18th of July, also a Friday. Note, that if the date you land on when counting is a holiday, you move in the SAME DIRECTION you were counting to the next non-weekend, non-holiday day. In this case if Friday the 18th were a holiday, the due date is now July 17th for the other party’s response – NOT Monday the 21st.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact or schdule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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