Salt Lake City Legal Separation Lawyers
Understanding the Alternatives to Divorce
A legal separation is an agreement in which both parties decide to live apart while remaining legally married. Couples may choose this route for a few reasons. Some are very religious and opposed to divorce on religious grounds. Others want to avoid divorce to leave the door open to reunite in the future. Regardless of your reason, the Salt Lake City legal separation attorneys at Nelson, Taylor & Associates can guide you through the process.
How Do You Get Legally Separated in Utah?
In some cases, both parties agree to the legal separation and the situation is amicable. However, there are other situations when a court order is necessary to resolve issues. During a legal separation, a variety of issues may arise that require the advice of an experienced family law attorney.
During a legal separation, decisions must be made regarding:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
Our Salt Lake City legal separation lawyers are skilled at helping clients navigate uncommon legal situations. We can evaluate your situation and help you differentiate important legal issues and make decisions that will affect the life of your entire family far into the future. Throughout the process, we always fight to protect your rights and look out for the best interests of you and your children.
Can You Date While Legally Separated in Utah?
Utah recognizes legal separation as "separate maintenance" and begins when either spouses file a petition within their local court. They will also need to demonstrate that they meet the residency requirements of the state. Upon filing, an individual may wonder if he or she may date while the process is undergoing.
Dating by itself is not considered adultery unless a sexual act has been committed. While the laws of legal separation and dating can be somewhat foggy in Utah, the consistency of it all lies within the fact that a separation agreement is legally binding. Until a judge makes your divorce final, you are technically married and sex while dating would be considered adultery.
What Are the Benefits of Legal Separation?
There are many personal and financial benefits that are associated with filing for legal separation:
- Since being legally separated is not equivalent to divorce, it allows each person to take the necessary amount of time to completely determine what their plans are moving forward.
- If your religion prohibits divorce, legal separation is next best alternative.
- You would still be able to have financial advantages and tax benefits that would have been eliminated upon divorce.
- One or both spouses would be able to keep their health insurance coverage.
- Being legally separated will allow you to keep your social security since it normally takes at least 10 years to obtain.
In a legal separation, child support and spousal support are awarded as separation maintenance. While the terminology is different, the amount that is awarded in separation maintenance may affect the amount of child support and spousal support that may be awarded later should the couple ultimately decide to divorce. Our Salt Lake City legal separation attorney can advise you about support and other factors in the legal separation process.