When is Legal Separation a Viable Option?
When married couples decide to part ways, there are options outside of divorce that provide a legally recognized “break” in a marriage. Legal separation offers a way for couples to live separately while remaining legally married.
For couples that experience difficulties in their marriage, but don’t believe divorce is right for them, there are several reasons to consider legal separation. A common reason couples choose to separate is that their religious affiliation does not allow for or is morally opposed to divorce. Couples may also decide to legally separate because they find it to be a less stressful solution to their marital problems, or because they would like time apart to consider if there is a chance to reconcile their marriage.
Additionally, couples may choose to separate because staying married affords them certain benefits that would terminate if they got divorced. For example, a spouse may wish to remain legally married to continue being covered under their partner’s insurance policy. Also, couples may wish to stay married to their spouse because they would like to maintain their eligibility for Social Security benefits. Furthermore, couples may also be elect for legal separation for financial reasons such as keeping a tax or other benefit afforded to you as a married couple.
After a couple separates, if it is necessary for one spouse to provide for the other financially, separate maintenance may be applicable to your situation. Separate maintenance is similar to alimony, but allows the couple to remain married. Factors that go into deciding separate maintenance payments are akin to those used for determining alimony and may include income, earning ability, age and duration of marriage.
For more information on whether legal separation may be right for your marriage, consult an experienced Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.