There are times when a couple knows that their marriage is over. But, they may have reasons why divorce would put them in situations that they do not want to be in. When these types of issues come up, the answer may be a legal separation.

What Situations Make Divorce A Less Than A Desirable Option?

Let’s say that a couple has been married for a while and they have children together. One of the spouses is ill, or one of the children has a medical condition that is expected to last a long time. They utilize the medical insurance provided by the company that one spouse works for.

A divorce would mean changing insurance companies. While the law will not allow an insurance company to refuse coverage because of existing illnesses, the premiums and deductibles will probably be very expensive.

To get a divorce, you must have lived in the state for at least six months before you can file. After the divorce has been filed, you must wait an additional six months before the divorce is final. There are no waiting periods to file a legal separation, according to our divorce attorneys. From the moment you file the separation, the clock begins for the six-month finalization. Once you have filed for the legal separation, you can request that the courts convert it to a divorce, and by then, the waiting period is usually over. So, people in a hurry to get a divorce will sometimes file for the separation first.

Is It Easier To File A Legal Separation Than To File For Divorce?

There are only two choices acceptable to the courts to file a legal separation. They are irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity of your spouse. Your spouse has to agree with the route of legal separation or he or she must default (not appear) after they are served with the petition.

The methods and procedures for filing a legal separation are the same. You must disclose financial information, debts, and property ownership. There will be a custody decision and child support orders. Just as in a divorce, all property will be divided, and finances will be managed.

While you are legally separated, you cannot remarry. You are still legally married unless or until you convert your legal separation to a formal divorce.

Taxes

If you are legally separated but still married at the end of the year, you can file a joint tax return with your spouse. Both spouses must be in agreement on this issue.

If you have been separated at least 1 ½ years, and you have at least one child that lives with you more than 50% of the time, you can file head of household which may lower your tax rate. However, it is almost always beneficial to file jointly if you can and if both spouses agree to it.

As you can see, there are times when a legal separation is beneficial. As in divorce, it can be complicated, and it is always a good idea to utilize the skills of one of the top divorce lawyers. The agreements you make when you file a legal separation are binding, so it must be taken seriously. If you later convert it to a divorce, it converts with the same stipulations you agreed to on the separation.