In Utah, couples living in separate homes who do not wish to get a divorce can get a legal separation by filing an action for a temporary separation order. Getting a decree of legal separation will provide you with a government ruling which details monetary support guidelines and child custody issues, as well as determining how you and your spouse divide your property.
In order to be eligible for legal separation, both you and your spouse must have been Utah residents for the past 90 days, and you must demonstrate that either you or your spouse has deserted the other or are refusing to provide for the other.
Hire a lawyer before beginning the separation process. A lawyer is not necessary for a legal separation, but if you are concerned with child custody or monetary issues, a lawyer could improve your case.
Visit your county court and request the paperwork to file for an action for a temporary separation. Fill out the forms and return them to the court (your lawyer is allowed to help you). You must pay a $25 fee to file the forms. Within 20 days you and your spouse will receive a summons to appear in court.
Go to court on your trial date, and explain your reason for legal separation to the judge, as well as your child custody and monetary concerns. The judge will grant a decree of legal separation which details child custody, spousal support, and property and debt division.
Enroll in an orientation course after the decree of legal separation is ordered (if you have children, you and your spouse will be required to enroll). If you do not believe attending the orientation course is necessary or possible, you can request that the requirement be waived by the judge.
Decide whether you want to file a petition for divorce. If you decide to get divorced after filing for legal separation, you can do so at the court, which will get attached to your original request for separation, so that you do not need to redetermine monetary and child custody issues.
- courthouse image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com