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Do You Know What A Legal Separation Mean?

By Wendy Wall

There has been some confusion about legal separation and a full blown divorce.

What are the reason and benefit for a separation?

A separation is an arrangement ordered by the court. The document states that the couple lives apart and leads separate lives. It is a common alternative to divorce. A married couple goes down this route when they are unsure about their relationship but want to have boundaries regarding their responsibilities and finances. For instance, custody of dependents, separation of assets, child support, and so on.

In some cases, couples who want to get divorced are sometimes required by the judge to arrange legal separation before they are granted a divorce.

It is essential to take this type of separation as seriously as you would take a divorce, especially if a judge orders it. Both parties have to legally uphold all the legal responsibilities and obligations as the judge may take into account the details for his ruling.

Reasons for Legal Separation

There are various reasons for these separations. Each couple is different, and each one may have a different set of problems. However, here are some of the most common reasons for this severing.

  • It is sought by couples who are uncertain of their marital future, but there is a chance for reconciliation.

  • Couples who have minors and decide to seek a legal separation instead of a divorce since it doesn't come with the same level of complications and issues affecting the children, unlike divorce proceedings. In this arrangement, the partners live separately but simultaneously can maintain stability and remain a family.

  • Another reason for couples choosing this form of separation is to retain retirement and health benefits.

A lot of couples these days are opting for this form of separation. They believe it is a lot simpler and less expensive than divorce proceedings. In the case of divorce, once the determined date of separation is complete, the spouse loses the ability to use or withdraw money from their joint bank account or credit card. They also lose other assets, such as vehicles and properties. Each individual becomes legally accountable for their respective debt after the legal date of separation.


  • If a married couple has decided to part ways after a 10-year mark, they could potentially lose a lot of future benefits. A legal separation is a good way of remaining entitled to the benefits.

  • Being married for 10 years would also mean taking advantage of spousal social security benefits. If your spouse will end up withdrawing more than you during retirement, it is beneficial to remain married for at least 10 years to draw a larger sum on your spouse's social security.

  • This parting of ways makes sense for couples who want to live separately to figure out their relationship. This may be their last resort for saving their marital relationship. Divorce is permanent, whereas a legal separation can be considered only a "rough patch."

Moreover, legal separation is a lot more affordable than divorce.

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