Brazil & Benske, LLC

Is legal separation a better option for you than divorce?

Sometimes, a legal separation can serve as a cooling down period if there has been a great deal of conflict in a marriage. However, there are several other reasons a legal separation may be a better option than divorce for you and your spouse.

Following your religion

Some religions do not allow divorce, but some people go ahead with it anyway. Still, your faith may be essential to you. A legal separation would allow you and your spouse to live separate lives while remaining married.

Collecting benefits

If you are a nonworking spouse, there is a 10-year marriage requirement if you seek to obtain Social Security benefits from the earnings of your wife or husband. A 10-year marriage requirement also applies if you are a military spouse so you qualify for benefits established by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. Keep in mind that the judge in a military divorce will determine the division of assets such as retirement income.

Retaining healthcare coverage

When you are legally separated but still married, some companies will allow you to retain benefits from your spouse's healthcare plan. Every company has its own policy in this regard.

Giving each other space

Divorce is final. Once the judge signs the decree, you are no longer married, but this may not be what you want. If love has not fleeted entirely from your relationship, but there is more conflict than happiness, you may want to try a legal separation to look at the marriage from a different perspective.

Carrying over the agreement

A legal separation agreement contains the same items and terms as a divorce agreement. You and your spouse would decide how to divide assets and debts, how to deal with child custody and visitation matters, agree to spousal support and split legal fees. In six months, you may decide to get back together. On the other hand, time apart may show you a whole new world. If you eventually decide to officially end your marriage, your legal separation agreement can convert to a divorce settlement.

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