Should you consider a legal separation instead of divorce?

On behalf of Barli & Associates LLC posted in blog on Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

If the subject of divorce has come up, but neither of you is sure you want to go that far, you might consider a legal separation.

You may not have thought of the many advantages of living separate lives while remaining legally married. Here are four benefits to consider:

Cooling off period

For some couples, a legal separation serves as a cooling off period if frustration has built up over issues that somehow need to be resolved. If you have children to consider, separation may be the best path to deciding whether a permanent family breakup is the best solution.

Retention of benefits

Since you will still be married even though you are essentially living separate lives, benefits such as company health care coverage will still be available to both of you.

Religious considerations

If divorce conflicts with your religious beliefs, you can remain married while living a life separate from your spouse.

The 10-year advantage

As a military spouse, you can claim benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act as long as you remain married for 10 years. A legal separation may help you achieve this goal.

The same time frame also applies to those who want to take advantage of Social Security benefits. At retirement, for example, if your spouse is set to enjoy more Social Security benefits than you are, you can draw on his or her Social Security and receive a larger sum. However, to do so, you will have to be married for 10 years.

Going through with divorce

A court order will provide each party’s rights and responsibilities during a legal separation. If you should later decide on divorce, a judge will likely assume that the provisions of your separation agreement should carry over to a divorce settlement. However, if you were not completely satisfied with your separation, your attorney can help draw up a new settlement agreement with which to petition the court.

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