Legal separation is a popular alternative to filing for divorce in Maryland. Divorce is final. Legal separation is not a final measure for couples struggling to get along. Many couples use this alternative to divorce to find themselves, seek therapy, reconcile differences and determine if continuing with the marriage is worth it. So, what are the benefits of legal separation?

One of the most popular benefits of legal separation is that couples can keep their marriage intact for religious purposes. For example, many religions view divorce as a sin. If the couple believes this to be true, but can no longer live together, they can use legal separation to make this happen.

Married couples that want to stay on their spouse’s health plan through work could benefit from legal separation. Just be sure to check the plan policy to determine if there are any provisions regarding couples who are legally separated.

Legal separation is commonly used by couples as a trial period. By living apart for a couple of months, the couple can take a long look at the marriage and find out if divorce is actually best for them.

Couples that might be headed for divorce, but are also close to meeting the Social Security requirements for benefits of a spouse, can use legal separation to meet the 10-year requirement.

A huge benefit of legal separation is the ability of each person to protect their financial assets. Any debt incurred or assets gained during this period might be considered separate property instead of marital property. If the couple decides to divorce, the assets would not have to be divided equally and the debt would not have to be shared between the two.

Should the couple determine that divorce is best for them, the legal separation agreement can be transformed into a divorce agreement.

If you and your spouse have had marital difficulties, contact a family law attorney to discuss options for legal separation in Columbia, Maryland.

Source: Woman’s Divorce, “Understanding Legal Separation,” accessed May 04, 2017

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