If you live in a state that allows legal separation, you may be wondering how it differs from a divorce. Legal separation is still a legal agreement and while there are similarities with divorce, legal separation and divorce are not the same.
The biggest difference when you legally separate is that you are still married. You can split your assets, fund child support and work out child custody issues, but you cannot remarry and are still legally married.
When you are legally separated, you can still file joint taxes. This allows you and your spouse to continue to take advantage of the tax benefits. When it comes to tax benefits, every state has different laws regarding whether a legally separated couple can file jointly or if they have to file as single. Consult with an attorney, like a family lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols, to find out what laws are present in your state. Tax laws tend to be complex and so it is always best to have a lawyer on hand to help with these more complex issues.
Healthcare is important. In many marriages, one spouse may have better healthcare than the other. In a lot of instances, only one partner has healthcare at all. After a divorce, the former spouse would no longer be covered. For the spouse to remain on the healthcare plan, many couples decide to legally separate instead. Even if you are splitting up, you may still worry about the health of your partner. Legal separation protects his or her healthcare benefits.
Social Security Benefits
If you are married or at least 10 years, you are entitled to benefits when you turn 62. If you are married less than 10 years and then divorce, you may not be entitled to anything. For couples who have been married for almost 10 years may decide to legally separate until the 10-year mark so that they can take advantage of the social security benefits later. At age 62, the lesser earning partner would be entitled to benefits based on his or her work record and 50% of the spouse’s earnings.
Legal separation and divorce are two different concepts. While both allow you to live separately from your ex and provide you with a means to split assets and work out child custody issues, there are other benefits to legal separation. If you are debating between legal separation or divorce, contact a family lawyer for a consultation.