A legal separation is near identical to a divorce; the only true difference being that divorce is the total and complete dissolution of marriage while legal separation is more like a marital pause. Spouses can live separate lives, with the option of reconciling should they choose to do so.
The decision to legally separate should not be taken lightly. Involving a mediation attorney with knowledge of separation agreements can help smooth out the process.
Here are 5 benefits of legal separation a couple should consider before choosing to divorce or separate.
#1: Tax Benefits
When a couple chooses to separate rather than divorce, they are still legally married. This means one spouse can continue to claim the other on their tax returns. It also means will receive Social Security benefits if they stay together until the 10-year deadline. The same deadline applies to military spouses. Once they have been married for 10 years, the non-military spouse will receive medical and monetary benefits from the government even if the couple divorces.
#2: Medical Benefits
If one spouse has better health insurance, it could be a compelling reason to legally separate rather than divorce. The spouse with little or no insurance could be plagued by a chronic illness and would lose coverage if the couple divorced. Legally staying together would help the under-insured spouse get the treatment and medication needed to stay healthy.
#3: Religious Beliefs
Sometimes a couple would prefer to end their marriage, but they are restricted from doing so for religious reasons. For example, some religious practices believe that divorce (unless the couple is dealing with an extreme circumstance) is a grave sin. To avoid the social stigma and eternal repercussions they believe they will face for divorcing they instead choose to legally sperate.
#4: Financial Stability
Perhaps one spouse chose to stay home and raise children instead of pursuing a career, or they have a crushing amount of debt. In this case, it might be wise to legally separate while the lesser-earning spouse gets their finances in order. Alternatively, maybe each spouse makes a decent amount of money but would fall into financial ruin if the other source of income was suddenly gone. A couple can choose legal separation to keep each other financially afloat, either temporarily or permanently.
#5: The Possibility of Reconciliation
Relationships are as fluid as the passing of time. A couple could be going through an extremely difficult time but choose to legally separate because they aren’t ready to permanently end the marriage. This could lead to a divorce down the line, or it could lead to reconciliation.
Contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP Today
Marital issues are often emotionally charged and difficult. If you and your spouse are thinking about legally separating, reach out to our firm today. We are compassionate attorneys who will take the legal burden of separation off your shoulders so you can focus on making future decisions for your family.