No one can stop you from getting a legally separated if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t follow proper legal procedure, a judge can deny your separation, forcing you to start over. Your spouse can’t stop you, but she can complicate the process.
• Decide what ground you want to use to file for your separation. All states require that you give a reason in your divorce petition for ending your marriage. All states also provide for some version of no-fault divorce. In either case, you have the burden of proof to show the court your ground exists. If you chose a fault ground when your spouse is already resisting the divorce, you’ll provide her with an opportunity to contest it by denying the wrongdoing. She generally can’t contest a no-fault ground.
• Research the rules for service of process in your state. You can call your county court, a legal aid center, your local advocate, or consult with a legal separation lawyer. Make sure you understand exactly what you have to do to ensure that your spouse legally receives a copy of your divorce petition after you file it. If you err, your spouse can say she wasn’t properly served and block your divorce proceedings. You could still get a divorce, but you’d have to start the process all over again.
• Wait out the period of time your state gives your spouse to answer your divorce petition. If she files a response with the court, you’ll probably have to resolve your divorce by trial; she won’t agree to a settlement if she doesn’t want the divorce.
• Call the court again to find out how you can move forward with a default judgment if your spouse ignores your divorce papers and doesn’t answer them within the allotted time. In most states, this requires filing a request for default, then appearing at a hearing to testify that you’ve met your state’s filing requirements and to prove your ground. If you chose a no-fault option, your opinion that your marriage is over is usually enough. Otherwise, you might have the added task of convincing the judge that your ground happened, such as by proving adultery or cruelty.
• Prepare for trial if your spouse does answer your divorce petition. If you used a no-fault ground, the trial will only address issues of property division, support and custody of your children. Gather all documentation you can to prove the value of your assets and the extent of your debts and write a proposed parenting plan to address custody and time with your children. If you filed on a fault ground, be prepared to substantiate it, just as you would have to have done at a default hearing. In a trial, however, your spouse can raise defenses against your ground, such as that you condoned her behavior. If she’s successful, the judge won’t grant your divorce on that ground, and you’ll have to start over, filing a new petition and using a ground she can’t disprove.
Signs You Definitely Need to Get Legally Separated
If you’ve been considering divorce, you may be wondering whether it’s the right decision. It’s normal to have doubts creep into your mind from time to time, but sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and closely evaluate the situation.
• You’d rather be alone: When you think about the possibility of being single again, you get downright giddy. In fact, you’re already picking outfits for future dates with your crush. If the thought of divorce gives you the giggles, you may want to turn that thought into action.
• Your spouse’s touch makes your skin crawl: His or her touch gives you goose bumps but not in a good way. In fact, it feels like a thousand ants on your skin. This is bad real bad. In a loving, healthy relationship, you should be longing for caressing, cuddling, kissing, and all the wonderful things that come with being with someone you love. If this is not the case, you need to get to the bottom of why you are suddenly repulsed. This alone may not be reason enough to get divorced, but it does signal some serious trouble in paradise.
• You cheated several times: If you or your spouse is getting some action on the side, it’s a clear sign that you have some serious issues. Once you’ve gone this far, your best bet is to take the next steps and file for divorce. You may also want to get checked for STDs while you’re at it.
• You wouldn’t stay even if your partner changed: What is it that needs to change for you to feel good about staying in the relationship? If it’s an issue that can be easily resolved, you might be able to work through it together. If it can’t be resolved, a divorce might be in your future. Whatever you do, resist demanding that your spouse change, and don’t resort to making ultimatums. This behavior will likely cause your spouse to become defensive and do just the opposite of what you are requesting.
• You don’t see a future with your spouse: In the next five years, you imagine a wonderful future full of success. You get to where you want to be in your career, you finally get up the nerve to move to a new city, and you are truly happy. However, your dreams don’t include your significant other. If you can’t see how your spouse fits into your life, do yourself a favor and find someone who does.
• You just don’t care anymore: Your spouse did something that would normally make your blood boil, but now it doesn’t faze you. At this point in your relationship, you’ve checked out emotionally. If there is just no desire to work on your marriage, you’re pretty much done. It takes two people to make a marriage work. Either seeks counseling to see how you can make some needed changes or prepare to jump ship.
• You have too much resentment: The root of every divorce, no matter if it involves adultery, growing apart, arguing a lot, or not being able to agree, stems from the larger root of resentment. At some point in any relationship, someone will harbor resentment for their significant other, which follows the common belief that love and hate is practically the same thing. Resentment can basically heighten throughout the relationship. The key to a successful relationship is to not harbor the resentment, but rather deal with it before it takes on a life of its own. If you or your spouse is feeling resentment, talk it out or consider couple’s counseling.
• Marriage counseling hasn’t helped: Perhaps you’ve gone down this road with your partner before, and nothing has changed. Your needs are still not being fulfilled, and you’re still feeling like you’re better off alone. If you feel as if even the professionals can’t help you, then it might be time for a divorce.
• You know your exact reason for a divorce: Take time to explore what it is about the marriage that is making you want to give up. What exactly is motivating your decision? “Whether you are unhappy or hopeless or too tired to keep trying, understanding your reasoning helps ground you in your decision. And the more that decision is grounded in you wanting something more or different and less about what your spouse did or didn’t do, the easier it will be to deal with the divorce, mourn the loss of this relationship, and move on.
• You got married to fix your problems: Just as having kids won’t fix problems that already exist in your marriage, getting hitched in the first place certainly won’t fix any underlying relationship issues either. Marriage won’t solve problems, such as feeling lonely and being unhappy. If you got married because you thought it’d solve your personal or relationship issues, it won’t be long before you realize it was too soon.
In order to get a divorce on the basis of 5 years separation without consent, you have to show the court;
• That you do not know where your spouse is residing.
• What you have done to locate them, such as contacting relatives and friends, searching the electoral roll, or enquiring with their employer. If you have an address for your spouse, or could locate them through friends or family this will reduce the costs of your divorce.
Benefits of Legal Separation
Legal separation is very similar to a divorce except for the fact that the marriage is not terminated. For some couples, it may be more beneficial to become legally separated as opposed to getting a divorce. Legal separation and divorce are very similar and they hold basically the same legal functions except for the fact that with a separation, you do not terminate your marital status. When a couple decides to become legally separated, it is not merely a verbal agreement. They can’t simply say that they are not in love anymore and one of them will move out of the family home. Instead, they must go through the same process as couples who wish to undergo a divorce. In a legal separation, the same issues will be addressed as in the termination of a marriage.
The couple will have to sort out issues relating to asset division, property division, child support, child custody, visitation and spousal support payments (if there are any). The couple will also have to decide who will pay which debts as well. There are a number of reasons why parties choose this rather than divorce, and the reasons are usually personal. People can choose separation for religious reasons, personal beliefs, health insurance concerns, or other financial reasons. Oftentimes couples will decide to remain married for one of two reasons: either for the sake of their children, or for a financial reason. For example, if a non-employee spouse has a pre-existing medical condition or some other serious medical condition; they may need to stay on their spouse’s medical insurance so they can keep getting necessary medical care. In some cases the couple may need to remain legally wed until they reach the ten-year deadline for certain Social Security benefits. This holds true for the ten-year deadline for military enforcement advantages or, the twenty-year deadline for PX and commissary benefits.
There is another substantial benefit and reason why people choose legal separation and it has nothing to do with health insurance or money. They may be unsure if they really want to end their marriage; therefore, the time apart offers them a cooling off period where they can have time to think about what they really want. They may realize that they really do love each other, and later decide that they want to get back together. It’s a lot easier to get back together after legally spending time away from one another as opposed to having to go through the process of remarrying.
Religion and culture can play a significant role in why couples decide to separate instead of divorcing altogether. In certain religions, divorce carries a negative stigma that many couples wish to avoid. With legal separation the couples can enjoy all the material benefits of a divorce without having to deal with the negative stigma attached. Separation does not allow for remarriage unless the marriage is terminated through a divorce, but it can be assumed that people who part for religious reasons don’t plan to remarry anyway. In many cases it is more affordable for the spouses, especially when the dependent spouse relies heavily on their spouse for medical insurance. When you factor in the quality of life enjoyed through the marriage, along with how much money it would cost for the dependant spouse to take out their own medical coverage (similar to what their spouse has been carrying), then it can be reflected in the alimony payments.
Sometimes it is less expensive and allows the dependent spouse to remain on the health insurance, as opposed to paying them larger alimony payments, thus saving the expense for both parties. Getting a separation in Utah does require some legal paperwork and going through the court system. The same as in a divorce, you want to have a qualified attorney representing your best interests when handling important matters such as child custody, child support, asset division, property division and possible spousal support payments. If you would like to enjoy the benefits of a legal separation, contact a skilled and knowledgeable legal separation attorney without delay.
Legal Separation Attorney Free Consultation
When you need legal help to get a legal separation in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We can help you with Legal Separation. Divorce. Child Custody. Child Support. Alimony. Modifications. Mediation. And Much More. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506