If you and your spouse are considering getting divorced and are not sure if this is the right way to handle your situation, you may want to consider a legal separation instead. Getting a legal separation is not the same thing as divorce, yet it offers a way to get some time away from the marriage while still reaping some of the benefits offered through marriage. Here are three things you should know about legal separation.
It Makes Getting Back Together Easier
A legal separation is something the court can grant you, and it is designed to offer time to spouses so they can determine what they want to do in the future. For some couples, legal separation is just the first step towards a divorce, but for others it offers a chance to realize what they are missing.
If you decide to legally separate, you may also decide to spend some of the time together. You can still go on dates, spend time at home with each other, and seek help from a marriage counselor. These are all great things to do if you both want to avoid divorce and make the marriage work. The time apart may help you realize how much you love each other, and getting back together with a legal separation is quite simple.
It Offers Marital Benefits
A second thing to realize is that using a legal separation instead of divorce offers several key benefits. The first benefit is that you will not have to switch health insurance plans if you are on one plan together. If you are on your spouse's plan, you can legally continue receiving coverage during a legal separation.
A second benefit is that you can still file tax returns jointly. For many couples, filing a joint tax return offers more benefits than each spouse filing individually. If filing individually is more beneficial for you, you may have that option too during a legal separation.
Thirdly, with a legal separation you will not have to worry about dividing up all your assets and debts. You may have to make some decisions for your separation, such as who will live in the house, but you will not have to decide all the things you would for a divorce.
It Could Be A Step Towards Divorce
The third thing to realize about legal separation is that it can make getting divorced easier, and this could be a good or bad thing, depending on your situation. If you really hoped the separation would help you rekindle the relationship, you may be disappointed if your spouse decides that he or she likes the freedom and wants to stay separated. On the other hand, if you both decide that living apart is the better option, being legally separated will make that easier.
It makes it easier for several reasons, including:
- You are already getting accustomed to living alone
- You may get along better if you do not live together
- You may have already split up most of the things you own
- You have a good strategy in place for your kids
If you get used to living in separate homes, getting divorced will not be as difficult as it would be if you had not used a legal separation prior to the divorce.
Legal separation is not always the best option for all couples, but it does offer a lot of benefits to many. If you are considering getting divorced or legally separated, you may want to call and schedule an appointment with a family law attorney to find out your rights, options, and responsibilities.