Legal Separation or Divorce: What Are the Benefits?
Is your marriage on the rocks? Before you file for divorce, make sure you understand the full ramifications of that decision. For some people, a permanent or long-term legal separation may be the better option than divorce.
Why Would Someone Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?
There are many reasons people might choose legal separation over divorce. Some people shun divorce for religious reasons. Others prefer to remain married for a co-parenting situation to work effectively. There are even rare couples who love each other, but simply can’t live together. These are, of course, personal decisions that no one but the two of you can make.
But one not a lot of people consider is financial. Sometimes, it just makes more sense for both of your bottom lines if you opt for separation, and should consider looking into before filing paperwork.
What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation isn’t the same thing as simply deciding to live apart. A legal separation requires a legal separation agreement in which you and your spouse resolve issues about assets and debt, spousal and child support (and visitation) among other things.
Legal separation is vital if it’s allowed in your state because not having that agreement can get you into trouble if your spouse manages your joint money or assets badly, fails to pay debts he or she said they would, or even gets into certain kinds of legal trouble.It could cause you serious issues.
You should know that separation agreements are governed by state law, which means each state handles it differently. Some states don’t recognize separation at all, while others require it for a specific leant of time. Though there are some states that recognize it, even if they don’t require it.
In Florida, the law doesn’t directly address legal separation, but there are provisions regarding spousal and child support, child custody and visitation. This is why it’s important to reach out to a qualified Florida divorce attorney prior to filing for divorce.
When Could Legal Separation Be Financially Prudent
It will always vary on your circumstances, but there are some specific circumstances you should discuss with your lawyer.
- When you need to meet the 10-year requirement for certain social security benefits
- For one spouse to continue receiving health insurance benefits on the other’s insurance
- To take advantage of any potential tax benefits of filing jointly (this may not apply to all — see your qualified tax representative for details)
- To retain certain military benefits
- To pool certain resources (such as a joint home)
Note that we said these are reasons you might want to opt for separation. The laws surrounding each of these circumstances can be very complex. It’s vital you consult with a qualified divorce attorney (and a qualified financial advisor at the behest of your attorney) to work out all the ramifications before committing to either process.
The bottom line is that you’re working, usually together, to protect both of your assets. While this may not be an option in a contentious divorce or in an amicable one, it could be best for both of you.
Are You Planning a Divorce?
If you’re getting divorced and you’re curious about which option might be right for you, call the Orlando divorce attorneys at Draper Law Offices at 866-767-4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation.