In Utah, an action may be filed by a husband or wife for legal separation, also called separate maintenance. This action is much like a divorce, but does not seek to sever the marriage. In other words, if a couple does not want to divorce at this time, but wants to live apart, the husband or wife may file an action for separate maintenance to determine custody of children, support, property and debt division, etc.
One of the main benefits of a separate maintenance action is that it allows a separating couple to define their rights and responsibilities regarding their children and property while they work through the issues that led to their separation.
Two unique aspects of a separate maintenance action is that either party may seek an order restraining the other from disposing of or wasting marital property. Also, a separate maintenance action may be converted to a divorce action if either party desires to sever the marriage after the separate maintenance action has begun.