What do I do if my husband will not agree to a marriage separation but I desperately need a separation (he’s emotionally and mentally abusive)? 

I cannot speak for the law in all jurisdictions governing divorce and separation, but I can tell you what the law is for the jurisdiction where I practice (Utah): 

One does not need the consent or agreement of one’s spouse to get a temporary separation order. See Utah Code § 30-3-4.5. (Motion for temporary separation order): 

(1) A petitioner may file an action for a temporary separation order without filing a petition for divorce by filing a petition for temporary separation and motion for temporary orders if: 

(a) the petitioner is lawfully married to the respondent; and 

(b) both parties are residents of the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing. 

(2) The temporary orders are valid for one year from the date of the hearing, or until one of the following occurs: 

(a) a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation; or 

(b) the case is dismissed. 

(3) If a petition for divorce is filed and consolidated with the petition for temporary separation, orders entered in the temporary separation shall continue in the consolidated case. 

(4) Both parties shall attend the divorce orientation course described in Section 30-3-11.4 within 60 days of the filing of the petition, for petitioner, and within 45 days of being served, for respondent. 

(5) Service shall be made upon respondent, together with a 20-day summons, in accordance with the rules of civil procedure. 

(6) The fee for filing the petition for temporary separation orders is $35. If either party files a petition for divorce within one year from the date of filing the petition for temporary separation, the separation filing fee shall be credited towards the filing fee for the divorce. 

  • But if your spouse does not want to separate and you do, does your marriage appear to be one that has a chance of being salvaged? 
  • Separations rarely help a couple reconcile and stay married. So ask yourself if you want a separation because you really think it’s a good idea or whether you “want” a separation because you’re afraid to pull the trigger on divorce. 
  • I would never discourage anyone from trying a separation if that is a step one feels one needs to take to ensure that every reasonable step to save the marriage was taken, but usually by the time one honestly and seriously considers separation that means the marriage is doomed. 


Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

Click to listen highlighted text!