Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is More Sensible for You?

Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is More Sensible for You?

If you feel like your marriage is failing, divorce is not the only option you have. You can also obtain a legal separation. The path you take depends on a variety of circumstances, including whether you ever intend to reconcile and your current financial situation.

The primary difference between legal separation and divorce is that a divorce ends the marriage permanently, whereas a legal separation essentially puts it on hold while the couple remains married. Otherwise, separation and divorce both address the same issues, including custody, child support and property division.

Financial implications

There are some financial benefits to choosing a legal separation over divorce, such as:

  • Health insurance: Legal separation may allow you to maintain coverage under your spouse’s employer-provided health plan without having to pay for COBRA coverage.
  • Social Security: If a couple remains married for at least 10 years, each spouse may be entitled to Social Security benefits based on the other’s work record, even if the spouses end up getting divorced. Using a legal separation to get to 10 years could be a worthwhile long-term strategy.
  • Taxes: A legal separation allows you to continue filing joint tax returns, giving you access to more tax breaks.

For these reasons and others, legal separation is often used by couples whose financial standings do not make divorce a feasible possibility in the immediate term. You must also consider the potential costs of child support and alimony that would be awarded after the divorce, along with possible losses associated with the division of marital assets and property.

For more information on which path makes more sense for you, speak with an experienced Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.

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