Not all marriages last forever. When parting ways with your spouse seems like an eventuality, it is prudent to consider all options. In Utah, you can get a no-fault divorce, where you don’t have to blame your spouse for marital misconduct. There is also the choice of legal separation, which is called ‘separate maintenance’ in Utah. In your best interest, you may want to consult one of the top firms, such as Coil Law, to know what divorce, annulment, or legal separation may mean for your case. In this post, we are sharing more on legal separation. 

Is legal separation the same as divorce?

The short answer is no. Divorce is the end of a marriage, but that’s not true for legal separation. As the name suggests, after legal separation, you and your spouse are legally separated. You can live separately, but are still married. There are similarities between legal separation and divorce though – All important decisions can be made in case of separate maintenance too. The court can be approached for an order, to settle matters like child custody, child support, and alimony. 

Why do couples opt for separate maintenance?

There could be many reasons to choose legal separation over marriage. For many warring couples, reasons include preservation of tax benefits, health insurance, and the wellbeing of their minor children. In many religions, divorce is not seen kindly, and with legal separation, a couple can choose to remain married, but have considerable autonomy in their personal lives. Think of legal separation as a dry-run for the divorce. 

What are the grounds for legal separation?

Unlike in a no-fault divorce, where stating “irreconcilable differences” is enough, one must provide a ground to get legal separation in Utah. Reasons can include desertion without cause, inability to offer support, and living separately for a considerable period. There is a wait time of 30 days before legal separation can be finalized, and this offers a window to the separating spouses to decide on important matters. It may be necessary to attend mediation class before legal separation. 

Note that you can choose to reconcile with your spouse again during the course of legal separation. However, if you intend to file for divorce, you have to initiate the proceedings. Talk to your attorney to know more on how legal separation and divorce can impact your situation. Every case is unique, and a lawyer can advise in an unbiased manner, based on your circumstances.