Why Would You Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?
When someone is unhappy in their marriage, they choose to get a divorce, right? Why would anyone choose to only get a legal separation, then, if ending their marriage was their primary objective? For many couples, there are some significant advantages to filing for legal separation instead of divorce.
Benefits of Legal Separation
First and foremost, a legal separation represents for many people a time to sit and think in peace. Marriages can get rocky when neither spouse feels like they have time for themselves to decide what they want for their future. A legal separation can allow each spouse space and time away from each other to evaluate their marriage, as well as what makes them happy.
Legal separation also does not technically end a marriage. Therefore, any advantages that were gained due to the marriage will remain intact. Some of these advantages, such as the ability to continue receiving healthcare benefits, are the main reason couples choose legal separation.
You will not lose the following marital benefits in a legal separation:
- Tax benefits
- Retirement plan benefits
- Health insurance
- Immigrant status
You will still need to decide how to manage multiple aspects of your day-to-day life, as if you were divorcing. This includes making choices and agreements regarding living situation, incomes, child custody, child support, relocation, and so on. Legal separation can act as an effective “trial period” to see if these agreements will hold up permanently in a divorce.
Potential Downsides to Legal Separation
Everything has its pros and cons; legal separation is not an exception. While there are many benefits for keeping your marriage intact despite separating from one another, there are distinct downsides to consider.
Two possible disadvantages to legal separation are:
- Neither you nor your spouse can remarry someone new.
- If you do want to divorce, you must wait at least six months since the separation decree was approved.