If you live in the state of Utah and are considering a divorce, you should know there are two other options, annulment and legal separation. While you are probably familiar with how divorce and annulments work in your state, however, there are details of getting a legal separation in Utah you may want to consider. Here is a list of 7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Legal Separation in Utah.
There Are Residency Requirements in Utah
There are residency requirements to get a legal separation in the state but they are lenient. To be eligible for a legal separation in Utah, both spouses must have been living in the state for the past 90 days.
Attorney’s Fees for a Separate Maintenance Action Are the Same as for a Divorce
It may surprise some people that a legal separation costs about the same as a divorce. Why? Because a separate maintenance order accomplishes very much the same things as divorce such as child custody orders and alimony, but there’s one major difference – you are still technically married. After a decree of separate maintenance (legal separation) is entered and if the involved parties decide later that they want a divorce, the costs and fees will be incurred a second time for the divorce.
There is an Initial Procedure
Twenty days after the filing the petition to the court for a legal separation, the respondent will receive a summons to appear in court. Once in court, the petitioner will have the opportunity to explain the grounds for the separation. At this point the judge generally grants a decree of legal separation.
In a Legal Separation, You Are Still Responsible for the Debts of Your Spouse
Even though you are no longer living together, in a legal separation you are still liable for spousal debts. You are also responsible for legal issues they may be involved in. A legal separation decree would address agreement on these debts. If a spouse neglects to pay certain joint marital debts however, creditors can still come after you.
Informal Separations in Utah Are a Bad Idea
If legal documents are not filed detailing your separation agreement, this is not considered being “legally separated” and how you will share your marital assets, debts and other costs can likely cause problems in the future, which could potentially lead to complicated litigation.
Spouses Must Attend Divorce Education Course
When minor children are involved, once a petition for temporary separation has been filed and served, both spouses must attend a divorce orientation. The course must be attended by the petitioner within 60 days after the filing while the respondent must attend within 45 days of being served.
There Aren’t Any Waiting Periods for Legal Separations
Unlike in a divorce, there is no waiting period for a decree of separate maintenance. If there are no complications a legal separation could be complete in a few weeks.
Legal Separation and Family Law Attorney David Pedrazas
As you can see, the decision to get a legal separation as opposed to a divorce in Utah can be complicated. It can be made even more so if the parties are not cooperative and amicable. It is why you should seek the services of an experienced Family Law Attorney like David Pedrazas. For more than 20 years, David Pedrazas has been helping families move through difficult times. He will discuss your options, explaining the benefits and problems of each path you can take.
Each case is unique and you deserve the assistance tailored to your situation. Contact the offices of David Pedrazas PLLC for your free consultation today.