What To Do When All You Need is Time Apart
It’s regarded as an act of love by some people, and some couples come out of a legal separation decree stronger than they ever were. But, what exactly makes marital separation something couples consider? Why should a couple opt for marital separation?
While legal separation sounds like a slow path to divorce, especially for persons who prefer to strip off the band-aid in one move, however, if you are keen on different marriage agreements, legal marital separation is one of the best things couples could do for their marriages because it serves as a buffer between two worlds – marriage and divorce.
Legal separation refers to a legally binding contractual agreement that allows a couple to live separately and as independent parties while remaining married. Although the processes that lead to the signing of the marital separation do not take place, the decree is court-honored. Only when the separation ends in a divorce is the marital separation agreement used as part of the divorce decree.
Now that we have all that covered, why pursue marital separation?
It has financial benefits
1. Tax Benefits
The biggest and the most appealing benefits of marital separation has everything to so with Uncle Sam. When you remain married, you get financial incentives such as the ability to deduct spousal support form. This is in line with the IRS’s publication 504 which states that alimony can only be deducted if the spouses are legally separated and not members of the same household. All you need is a court-certified marital separation decree for deduction of alimony from your taxes.
Also, you get to file your taxes jointly as a married couple because you are still married, technically. After a divorce, you cannot file joint taxes. Therefore, a legal separation may be beneficial for you if your income gains are greater when filing together than filing as singles.
2. Insurance benefits
If you work in the private sector, you know that the employee insurance plans only cover married couples. And in the military, you should be married for at least 10 years to benefit from the military insurance mutually. These instances make legal separation suitable, even when the marriage stops working. Accessing Social Security benefits as a couple also follows the military 10-year rule.
3. Divorce is forbidden in some religions
Since divorce is not recognized or forbidden in some religions, with divorcees facing punishments like ex-communication, legal separation comes in as the second best thing. Even though you cannot remarry when legally separated, you get to live apart easily.
4. A prerequisite for divorce
In some states, you can file a no-fault divorce, without any warning or notice. But, this is unacceptable in some states where couples are required to stay apart for a whole year and a day before they file for a divorce. In the latter, a marital separation is essential – it is evidence that the separation requirement was met.
Also, the legal separation agreement lets you set out the terms of your divorce in advance – the separation agreement addresses matters like alimony, child support, and custody, as well as asset and debt distribution. Once in agreement, the parties should sign the agreement. The agreement will be void if the parties choose to get back together, but it will be used in the court to pass a divorce decree if the couple divorces one year, one day later.
5. Cheaper Divorce
Since the terms of the separation mirror your terms of divorce (in most cases), the divorce proceedings will be less complicated, taking less time, and setting you back a few dollars, compared to traditional divorces.
Therefore, and in the end, marital separation is a preferable choice for couples to divorce, even when the state laws demand it.