The pros and cons of legal separation over divorce

November 3, 2015

The pros and cons of legal separation over divorce

While a divorce is too final for many couples, a legal separation may leave them in limbo. It's important to consider the pros and cons of divorce and separation before filing the paperwork.

The pros and cons of legal separation over divorce

What is the difference?

The key difference between getting a legal separation and a divorce is that you don't cut all legal ties. When you're legally separated, you're still technically married to your spouse and therefore cannot get married to someone else. If, after a legal separation, you decide to get a divorce, you will have to go through all the legal channels and pay for a divorce, just as you did with your separation.

The pros of a legal separation

  • If you have religious or ethical concerns when it comes to getting a divorce, getting separated might be your best option. Many religions still frown on divorce, but a legal separation is an acceptable way to live apart from your spouse.
  • A legal separation in most states means that a spouse can still be covered under another spouse's insurance. Once a divorce is final, that insurance coverage would be dropped.
  • Separation, instead of divorce, can allow a couple to file taxes together and hope for some type of financial stabilization before they file. This is significant, since many marriages suffer due to financial problems.
  • If you're hoping to be able to work your problems out, then a legal separation isn't as final and you have a better chance of reconciling.

The cons of a legal separation

  • You need to check with your insurance company before filing for a legal separation, as some insurance companies will refuse to insure the spouses if they are not living together.
  • If you are separated, you cannot be remarried until you file for a divorce and it's granted by a court of law.
  • If you have bank accounts together, each spouse is responsible for any debts or anything that happens with those accounts until a divorce is final.
  • Sometimes a legal separation makes it harder for a couple to get on with their lives.

These are just a few of the pros and cons that you might want to consider when you are contemplating divorce or legal separation. You should sit down with your spouse and weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully before making any type of decision.

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