Having problems with your partner is natural in a relationship, especially if you’re married. However, some issues like lack of commitment, extramarital affairs, and too much conflict can rip this bond apart. These are the most common reasons behind separation, a study by Insider magazine and the National Center for Biotechnology Information found. If you finally decide to part ways with your partner, here are the legal options available to you.
When you file for divorce, you’re asking for your marriage to be dissolved permanently by your state court. In Utah, you need to be a verified resident of the state and have at least three months of residency in the U.S. You can file this in the state where you or your spouse lives. Divorce also allows you to restore your or your spouse’s former name after the proceedings.
The person who files the case is known as the petitioner, while the other party is known as the respondent. The state court allows divorce for these grounds:
- The respondent was incapable of having sex during the marriage.
- The respondent committed infidelity.
- The respondent has a chronic drinking problem.
- The respondent was recently convicted of a felony.
- The respondent oppressed the petitioner during their relationship to the extent of causing great mental distress and bodily injury.
- The respondent and petitioner have irreconcilable differences.
- The respondent willfully deserted the petitioner for over a year.
- The respondent and petitioner have been legally separated for over three years without living together.
This is a long and challenging process for some people. You need a divorce lawyer who knows the state laws in and out so you can build a strong and fair case.
This allows you to live separately from your partner while remaining legally married. While legal separation is the common term, in Utah, it’s called “separate maintenance.” When you file this in court, you need to create a separation agreement with your spouse. This is a legally-binding contract that discusses how each of you will handle your childcare duties and shared debt like mortgages and car loans.
Grounds for this include willful desertion, your spouse’s refusal to provide for their spouse, neglect, and more. Legal separation in Utah is valid for up to one year after a judge decrees it. If you and your spouse want to stay separated after this, it’s best to file for divorce.
When you end your marriage through divorce, you acknowledge that your legal union existed. When you file for an annulment, however, you’re arguing that your marriage was never legally valid. You submit this through a “Complaint of Annulment” in your district court. It should contain your and your spouse’s full name. If you have children of minor age, you should include them in the file as well.
Annulment shares only one similar legal ground with divorce: impotence. Other grounds for annulment include:
- Your spouse lied about something that directly affects your marriage
- Your spouse lies about facts that may harm you
- Your spouse has a previous marriage that hasn’t been legally ended yet
- You or your spouse is not of legal age for marriage
- Your spouse is directly related to you by blood
Consult with your attorney before filing your complaint for annulment to ensure your list of terms and evidence is complete. Even if your annulment gets signed off by a judge, declaring that your marriage never existed, you may still have to discuss alimony, property division, child support, and visitation.
Separating with your spouse can be a complicated process, especially if you have little to no knowledge or experience in the subject. The entries above show your different ways to dissolve or void your marriage legally. Review them carefully and consult with an experienced divorce attorney to find the best choice for you and your partner.