5 Reasons to Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce

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You and your partner have made the difficult and brave decision to end your relationship – but should you get a divorce, or legally separate? The two are very similar, with divorce legally ending the marriage, while legally separated couples remain legally married. 

A couple may enter a legal separation as the first step on the path to divorce, or they may choose it instead of divorce. Here are five reasons you may choose legal separation over divorce. 

You want to continue sharing benefits

One of the biggest benefits of choosing legal separation over divorce is that it allows you and your spouse to continue sharing medical benefits. You can also make medical decisions for each other and continue to receive pension benefits. If your relationship is still amicable, this may be the best solution for your situation while you or your spouse works on saving money to achieve financial independence. 

You need time to work out custody arrangements

One of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is making decisions on custody arrangements. Not only will you need to decide how much time your children spend with each of you, but you’ll also need to decide how decisions about your children’s health and education will be made, and how you will co-parent in the best interests of your children. 

Many factors go into making these decisions, and this can take time. Legal separation gives you the time you need to come up with the best solution for all parties involved. 

You’re not ready to give up on the relationship

After spending so much time and investing so much energy into your marriage, simply ending it may feel too drastic of an action to take. If you and your partner still want to try to make it work but need some space, legal separation may be the best first step. After living apart for a while, you may find that you no longer want to go forward with the separation. 

You may also find that you’re happier living apart and this arrangement is benefitting both you and your family. Legal separation gives you the opportunity to give it a trial run. Regardless of where it leads, you can rest easy knowing you didn’t jump the gun. 

You have religious beliefs that prevent divorce

Some religious denominations prohibit divorce. This makes legal separation a middle-of-the-road option. Though you’ll legally remain married, you’ll be able to split your assets, live under separate roofs, and make custody arrangements. 

Simplify the divorce process down the road

Legal separation isn’t a simple process; it costs money and requires a heavy load of paperwork. The good news is, if you decide to get a divorce down the road, you won’t have to complete that paperwork all over again. This makes filing a divorce much easier than it would have been if you had done it right away. 

While the above are all good reasons to enter a legal separation rather than a divorce, it isn’t the right option for everyone. If you’re just extending the process because you feel guilty, you aren’t choosing legal separation for the right reasons. Ending a marriage is an emotionally taxing experience and drawing it out needlessly will make it more painful than it has to be.

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