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Separation vs Divorce
Possible Benefits to Permanent Separation
Before we get into this article, let’s point out that this discussion may or may not pertain to your situation and that we strongly advise you to get a professional opinion pertinent to your case!
So you are getting divorced (probably a ‘friendly’ divorce) and are wondering what advantages there could be in a separation vs divorce.
Most states require a separation prior to granting divorce to give couple time to review their circumstances before committing to ending the relationship.
Interestingly, more couples are deciding to remain permanently separated for different reasons.
Why in the world would a couple who do not want to be married decide to stay married? Why stay apart and stay married? As usual – just follow the money. Often a legal separation can be a good financial decision.
Legal separation agreement – Defined
A legal separation agreement is a legally binding agreement between the former partners to define the division of assets and debt, alimony/spousal support, child support and visitation. This agreement goes a long way in helping reduce financial risk for both parties.
Caution! An agreement of this kind protects everyone. Don’t neglect it!
Without legal agreements, it would be possible for each spouse to remain liable for the other’s debts and legal issues. For instance, if one spouse fails to pay certain marital debt, a creditor could possible come after the other spouse – living together or not!
In addition it just makes sense to legally spell out:
- Asset distribution
- Debt responsibility
- Any alimony or child support to be paid
Possible Advantages to Permanent Separation
- Insurance/health care coverage:
Staying married (although separated) both parties would probably be able to keep any insurance or health care coverage they maintained as a married couple.
- Income tax benefits:
There could be certain income tax benefits including possible increases in deductions.
- Social Security benefits and/or pensions:
If the marriage is past the ten year mark, social security benefits may be part of the agreement.
- Mortgage/home sale:
With the housing market is such turmoil, there could be either issues in selling the primary asset (home) or a mutual decision might be made to hold the home for a better time to cash out. (Some couples even choose to continue living together on the same property in order to avoid a financial loss involving the marital home!)
If you find yourself thinking about divorce or separation, our best (free) advice is to contact our office and get serious professional legal advice to maximize both your mental and financial comfort!