Marriage comes with many challenges. When those challenges become overwhelming and tensions build, the time comes to determine the best solution for both parties.
According to World Population Review, approximately 50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Instead of the finality of a divorce, many couples opt for a legal separation. While the couple has the option to live separately, the marriage itself legally continues.
Couples choose a legal separation for many reasons. Although it has an associated legal process, including an agreement and filing paperwork with the court, it has different results than a divorce. Financially, each party maintains insurance benefits, such as medical and life. For couples who need time to decide if the marriage should continue, a separation provides a less-expensive way to figure things out and an easier way to return to legal marriage. When a couple has children, a separation helps provide a slow transition toward divorce.
Since a couple remains married, life issues continue, such as child custody, child support and property division. Properly settling the agreement helps finalize those decisions before separating. For couples legally separating to maintain health insurance, it comes with some downsides. First, it means no remarrying. Second, the spouse inherits assets. If one party has moved on to a new relationship, these cons open the door for other issues.
Before choosing between legal separation and divorce, consider the chances of reconciliation. For some couples, a separation provides needed space while making it easier to reinstate or dissolve the marriage.