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What are the Grounds for Divorce in Utah?

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Utah

The state of Utah allows residents to divorce their spouse through either a no-fault or fault-based divorce. If you are aiming to get a divorce in Utah, it can be helpful to understand how no-fault divorce laws affect your situation and what possible grounds for divorce you may use.

No-fault divorce

Utah has started allowing couples to seek a no-fault divorce from their spouse. Under Utah law, a no-fault divorce means that the couple’s relationship has broken down and that there is no potential for the two spouses to reconcile. To enter into a no-fault divorce in Utah, one spouse must state under oath that their marriage has been irreparably broken for a minimum of six months.

In a no-fault divorce, members of a couple are still responsible for working through the division of their property, custodial rights and all other issues before a divorce is granted.

Fault-based divorce

In a fault-based divorce, either member of the couple can seek to end their marriage for four main reasons. First, you may allege that your partner was physically or mentally abusive and created an unsafe or inadequate environment for the couple to continue being married. Second, you may claim that your partner abandoned you for a minimum of one year.

Third, your partner may be incarcerated for a minimum of three, consecutive years during the course of your marriage. Finally, you may allege that your partner was unfaithful to you and committed adultery. Before a divorce can be granted for any of these reasons, it must be proven that the alleged transgression took place.

In addition to these claims, a couple may also file for divorce if they have been legally separated. In this case, one member of the marriage must prove that the couple lived apart for a minimum of one year in accordance with a court-ordered or otherwise formally written agreement of separation.

When is Legal Separation a Viable Option?

When married couples decide to part ways, there are options outside of divorce that provide a legally recognized “break” in a marriage. Legal separation offers a way for couples to live separately while remaining legally married.

For couples that experience difficulties in their marriage, but don’t believe divorce is right for them, there are several reasons to consider legal separation. A common reason couples choose to separate is that their religious affiliation does not allow for or is morally opposed to divorce. Couples may also decide to legally separate because they find it to be a less stressful solution to their marital problems, or because they would like time apart to consider if there is a chance to reconcile their marriage.

Additionally, couples may choose to separate because staying married affords them certain benefits that would terminate if they got divorced. For example, a spouse may wish to remain legally married to continue being covered under their partner’s insurance policy. Also, couples may wish to stay married to their spouse because they would like to maintain their eligibility for Social Security benefits. Furthermore, couples may also be elect for legal separation for financial reasons such as keeping a tax or other benefit afforded to you as a married couple.

After a couple separates, if it is necessary for one spouse to provide for the other financially, separate maintenance may be applicable to your situation. Separate maintenance is similar to alimony, but allows the couple to remain married. Factors that go into deciding separate maintenance payments are akin to those used for determining alimony and may include income, earning ability, age and duration of marriage.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

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