Married couples who are considering a divorce have many issues to deal with, such as child support, child custody and property division. And while divorce may at first appear to be the only way to resolve these issues, legal separation can offer benefits the couple should consider.
What makes legal separation different from divorce?
Unlike divorce, a court-approved legal separation does not end the marriage. The couple remains married, and cannot remarry, until they choose to divorce. But in the interim, issues like child support, child custody and property division are resolved by the court as if a divorce had taken place.
Benefits of choosing legal separation
Because the marriage isn’t ended, the couple can more easily continue the marriage should they choose to reconcile. This can make legal separation an attractive option for couples who want time and space to consider their future, without immediately committing to a divorce.
There are also tax benefits that may come with legal separation. Since the couple remains legally married, tax incentives available to married couples continue to be an option. These incentives would be lost upon completion of a divorce.
If there are religious implications for the couple that make divorce an unattractive option, legal separation can provide an avenue to resolve their differences without resorting to divorce itself.
And even if the couple ultimately chooses to divorce, legal separation can provide them with time to test the resolution of child and property issues. Since these issues are resolved by the court – and modified, when necessary – the couple receives clarity as to their resolution prior to the divorce itself.
Ending a marriage can be a complicated process with many decisions to make. Speaking to an experienced attorney can help those with questions decide whether the benefits of a legal separation make it an attractive option.