If you and your spouse have decided that it is best for you to live apart for one another and take some time to determine if you want to remain married. There are benefits to filing for a legal separation you need to be aware of before you move forward with the process.
#1 You Can Receive Spousal Support
When you are legally separated, you can receive benefits much like you would if you were divorced. When you file for legal separation, if one spouse depends upon the other for financial support, the court can order the other spouse to make spousal support payments. This can allow you to maintain your lifestyle while you are legally separated.
For the spouse who is paying spousal support, they can deduct this expense from their taxes. If your spouse decides to deduct the spousal support payments they make to you from their taxes, you can no longer file jointly as a married couple. You will have to file your taxes separately.
#2 You Can Satisfy Prerequisites for Divorce
In some states, you have to meet certain prerequisites before you can be granted a divorce. These requirements typically include a waiting period of a set number of days before a divorce can be finalized. In some states, you have to be living apart in order for your divorce to be finalized.
Being legally separated and living in separate residences can make it easier to show that you meet the prerequisites for divorce. You can easily show how long you have been apart and thinking about the divorce process and you can also easily prove the length of time you have been living separately with legal separation documents to back up your claims.
#3 You Can Still Enjoy Married Benefits
When you are legally separated, you can still enjoy many of the legal benefits of being married. You can stay on each other's health insurance. You can continue to get social security and retirement benefits from one another as well. A legal separation allows you to continue to benefit from your status as a married individual, while firmly establishing that the two of you are no longer living together should you decide to move forward with your divorce. When you file divorce papers, you are no eligible for all the spousal benefits you can enjoy while legally separated.
Talk to a family law attorney like Dionisio, Christopher to determine if a legal separation is the right legal and financial move for you and your spouse.