Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

What is separate maintenance to pay alimony in Utah?

Not all marriages that end in Utah do so with a couple deciding to get a formal legal divorce. Along with that, there are certain family legal issues that are applicable to different types of situations. For example, certain cases can allow a spouse to request that alimony, property division, health care, custody, support of children and other factors that would arise at the end of a marriage be ordered without an actual divorce filing. This petition is for separate maintenance.

Separate maintenance can be ordered if a spouse deserts the other spouse without sufficient cause, has the ability to provide support and refuses to do so, has property in Utah, has a spouse who resides in the state and does not provide the support or if the married person without his or her fault lives separately from the other spouse. With these circumstances, the court can decide that alimony will be equivalent of the use of the estate or earnings of the spouse who committed desertion in an amount they believe is appropriate.

The situations where separate maintenance can be provided are: if the desertion was without good cause, if the spouse can support the deserted spouse and does not do so, if the parties are living separately with no fault to the spouse who was deserted and is requesting the maintenance or if the spouse whose property will be used for separate maintenance is incarcerated for a minimum of one year and has not made provisions for the other spouse. If the court must enforce or modify the separate maintenance order, it has the right to do that. This will end if either spouse dies. If the couple decides to end their dispute and reconcile, the obligation order will end.

Since not every situation related to family law is cut and dry with a divorce, there are other options to suit those whose case is somewhat different. An example is the above circumstances that justify the court ordering separate maintenance. For assistance with a case such as this, it is wise to contact a lawyer and discuss it.

Source:, "Separate Maintenance," accessed on Feb. 6, 2017

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