When Separate Maintenance May Be a Better Financial Choice than Divorce
If you believe that your marriage cannot be saved for whatever reason, you may want to consider legal separation instead of divorce. Of course, you may wonder why a couple would want to undergo legal separation, when it is just as costly and timely as divorce, yet not nearly as final as divorce.
There are actually many reasons why a couple may opt for legal separation instead of divorce, but the most common reason is to avoid the financial burdens that often come with divorce. Another reason is that moral values or religious beliefs held may make divorce an undesirable option.
Here are some of the many financial benefits of getting a legal separation instead of a divorce.
Social Security Benefits
If your marriage has lasted at least a decade, you likely meet the requirements for social security benefits. At the age of 62, you will be entitled to social security benefits if you remain unmarried. The social security benefits will be equal to whichever is greater of the following: benefits based on her own earnings, 50% of the benefits the other spouse is entitled to based on his or her earnings.
Health Insurance Benefits
Under legal separation, one can continue to get health insurance benefits under the health insurance plan of their spouse. After a divorce, the health insurance plan remains, but the coverage and costs usually change. The costs and coverage remains the same, however, if you opt for a legal separation instead of divorce. Therefore, if good health insurance is vital for you or your family, divorce is not best way to deal with your broken marriage. This is especially true if the insurance plan is provided by an employee, as such plans only cover married couples, at least in the private sector. The self-employed spouse will no longer be covered by the health insurance plan once the divorce is legalized.
Tax Filing Benefits
As you likely know, there are many benefits of filing taxes jointly rather than separately. If you want to continue to enjoy the tax benefits associated with filing jointly, you should get a legal separation rather than a divorce. You can only file taxes jointly if you’re married. With a legal separation, you will still technically be married to your spouse.
Another reason why you should consider legal separation instead of divorce is to maintain military benefits. Married couples enjoy certain benefits bestowed by the military, such as insurance as well as death benefits. A couple must have been married for at least a decade in order for both spouses to continue to enjoy these military benefits after divorce. This explains why many military couples maintain their marriage through legal separation and then divorce after the 10-year mark of their marriage.
State Policy Regulations
The benefits you can entail from a legal separation largely depend on which state you live in. Some states actually require couples to get a legal separation before they get a divorce. Other states don’t require a legal separation, but they do recognize it if you opt to get one. Still other states not only don’t require a legal separation, but they also don’t recognize it. Therefore, you should look up your state’s policies on legal separation before you even think about getting one.
Discuss Legal Separation with Experienced Family Law Attorney in Utah
For more information on legal separation in Salt Lake City, Utah, contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas PLLC for a free 30 minute consultation