A legal separation may have some benefit for parties considering divorce, but who are not yet certain that they are either financially ready, or emotionally wish to be legally separated. The couple must sign a legal separation agreement that will outline the parties' respective rights and obligations concerning ongoing expenses, debts, child custody/parental access, and property distribution. The separation agreement is eventually used, if not otherwise modified, to convert the legal separation into the divorce.
A legal separation also generally allows for medical benefits to continue through one or the other spouse's coverage, as you are both still legally married during the separation. Military spouses who are separated, but are still legally married, may take advantage of certain benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act if the marriage has lasted for ten years or more. Also, remaining married for ten years or more even though legally separated allows a spouse under certain conditions to take advantage of certain social security benefits that will otherwise be lost if the marriage is terminated earlier than ten years.
For more information about the benefits of a legal separation, please contact Jane K. Cristal, P.C. We are always available to answer your questions regarding divorce or separations.