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Separation Agreements in Divorce

Separation Agreements in Divorce

One of the ways to obtain a divorce in Utah is to live apart pursuant to a separation agreement. Sometimes this option makes the most sense to a couple. The parties work out the terms of the separation and include them in a formal agreement. Other times the parties may choose not to divorce but to legally separate. The parties remain married but live apart pursuant to the terms of their separation agreement for the rest of their lives.
Legal separation has a number of benefits.

A separation may be the best path because of religious reasons that may not allow for a divorce. Separation may make sense for tax purposes since the couple can still file jointly for their tax returns. Both parties can maintain medical insurance benefits if they separate instead of divorce. Remaining married for 10 years can allow Social Security benefits to be awarded to a spouse. A separation agreement can be used for a divorce in the future. Formal legal separation may give the couple time to reconsider whether divorce is the answer.

A separation agreement includes the same terms as a divorce decree. Child custody, support, distribution of assets and debts, mothers’ rights, fathers’ rights, obligations of both parties, and any other matters of importance are incorporated into a formal written document. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you decide if a legal separation is the right path for you.

Get Evidence that a Parent is Unfit for Child Custody

During any custody dispute, a judge will carefully analyze each parent’s ability to care for the children and adequately meet their needs. If you have any reason to believe the other parent is a danger to the kids or is unfit to have any sort of custody, you must be able to prove this to be true if you wish the court to remove that parent’s custody rights.

The following are some ways you can prove a parent is unfit for custody. Observe the parent’s behavior. If the parent routinely puts the child in dangerous situations or is negligent in any way, it is not in the best interests of the child to remain in his or her custody. Consider and document any instances of violent acts, emotional abuse or clear abuse of drugs or alcohol.

Observe the child’s environment. The parent’s behavior might not be an issue, but the situations in which he or she places the child could be. If, for example, the child is improperly supervised, is not provided with basic needs or is subjected to dangerous conditions or safety hazards, it’s an obvious problem. Also consider if the parent is friends with any dangerous people, such as gang members or convicted criminals.

Collect evidence on him or her. If you have observed the parent’s behavior and the child’s environment and have determined the child is at risk, you must collect evidence of these facts. This can come in the form of media files that document injuries or abuse, the child’s medical records, the parent’s criminal records or communications with the parent via email, voicemail or text. Be prepared to share this evidence with the court.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506