Before getting divorced, many couples often file for
legal separation first. A legal separation is a court-approved written agreement which
addresses each spouse’s rights and responsibilities while living
apart but remaining legally married. While deciding between a
divorce and a legal separation boils down to personal preference, there are many
advantages to legal separation prior to filing for a divorce.
The following are several benefits of legal separation:
Honor religious beliefs – In many cultures and religions, divorce is prohibited. If you
wish to separate while remaining married due to religious purposes, legal
separation is an effective alternative.
Consider the possibility of reconciliation – Some couples who file for a legal separation are not quite sure
if divorce is the best thing to do. To keep their options open and perhaps
resolve any issues surrounding the marriage, legal separation allows spouses
to spend time apart to see if divorce is right for them.
Maintain healthcare – Legal separation allows you to continue receiving your spouse’s
insurance. If a couple gets divorced, they can no longer be part of a
joint health insurance plan. However, it is important to check the policy
to determine if you would still retain coverage after legally separating.
Receive Social Security and military benefits – In order to receive military and Social Security benefits from
your spouse’s work, you need to be married for at least ten years.
Legal separation enables you to technically remain married until you are
eligible for these benefits.
Continue to receive tax benefits by filing jointly – You can only file jointly on your taxes if you are still married,
which means a legal separation doesn’t change your marital status.
Continuing to file taxes jointly can result in some tax benefits compared
to filing as a single individual.
Faster divorce process – If you and your spouse decide divorce is the best option, the separation
agreement can be changed to a divorce decree.
Remember, a legal separation can be just as stressful and confusing as
divorce. If you are interested in legally separating from your spouse, a
family law attorney can help you determine whether or not a legal separation is appropriate.
For more information about divorce and legal separation in New York,
contact our Bronx divorce attorneys at
The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C. today.