Divorce is a difficult decision, especially if children are involved. Some couples may feel it not in their best interest to continue residing together but they are not yet ready to terminate the marriage.
A legal separation allows spouses’ many of the same benefits as divorce without actually ending the marriage. Upon filing for legal separation, a court may issue an order regarding child custody, support and division of assets. A legal separation allows parties time to live separate from one another and determine if they want to end the marriage permanently.
Some reasons couples may seek a legal separation instead of divorce include:
- Religious beliefs.
- Need time apart to see if they want to give the marriage another chance.
- The children.
- To protect their finances.
- So the spouses can continue to receive benefits, such as health insurance, Medicare or Social Security.
Even though the spouses may live separately, they are still legally married and are not free to remarry. However, a legal separation does not keep either of them from filing for a divorce or dissolution of marriage at any time in the future.