5 Instances When You May Consider Separation Over Divorce

by David Betz on Feb. 17, 2020

Divorce & Family Law Divorce & Family Law  Divorce Divorce & Family Law  Family Law 

Summary: Being in a marriage that makes you unhappy can be very hard for anyone, especially if the situation is complicated or involving minor children, a family business, common debts, etc.

Divorce is certainly not a pleasant thing to go through, but when the relationship doesn’t work anymore, staying together often seems to be the worst option.

Divorce isn’t the only option you have as a married couple. Legal separation can be a better alternative for couples who decide to part. In Missouri, legal separation is called separate maintenance and it is required before the actual divorce. More and more couples decide to stay in the long-term as a separated couple instead of divorcing, because of its advantages and because it’s not such a final decision.

Let’s see when legal separation may have its advantages.


Remaining on Your Spouse’s Health Insurance

For couples that struggle with health problems, health insurance might be a reason to stay married and choose separate maintenance instead. That way, they can ensure that they will continue to get access to healthcare but without compromising their emotional wellbeing.


Meet the 10-Year Requirement for Social Security Benefits

Some couples decide to postpone divorce and be legally separated instead because they don’t want to lose social security benefits. There is a 10-year requirement to be married before you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s records. After the mark, you can file for a divorce if you still wish to.


Filing Joint Tax Returns

Some couples believe that they will get a better tax return if they file jointly, as a married couple. While this may be true in case you didn’t take any legal actions regarding your separation, if you have filed the separate maintenance and you have a court settlement in place, federal tax laws might not consider you married anymore, so you have to check the laws thoroughly.


Maintaining the Current Lifestyle

One of the most common reasons for choosing a legal separation instead of a divorce is that the two spouses simply want to preserve their lifestyle and skip all the hassle of dividing the assets, moving out of the marital home, etc. Some couples decide to live together, but be separated.


Religious Beliefs

Some people’s religious beliefs don’t allow them to get divorced. If their relationship is irreparable but they don’t want to get divorced, they can go with a legal separation and preserve their married status.

No matter what reasons you may have for choosing separation over divorce, it’s important to talk about it with an experienced St. Louis divorce attorney to double-check all the implications either option has. You need someone who knows both state and federal laws and to discuss with them all of your intentions and concerns related to this important step in your life. That way you can make an educated decision.


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