If your marriage isn’t working, the typical response is to legally end it by filing for divorce. There may, however, be reasons why you might want to file for legal separation without officially terminating the marriage.
What is Legal Separation?
A legal separation is often a precursor to divorce, allowing the parties to resolve all potential issues, such as custody and visitation, support, and property distribution, without officially ending the marriage. With a legal separation, the parties enter into a binding agreement that sets forth the terms of the separation. The agreement must generally be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed by a licensed notary. Though most separation agreements simply address issues of custody, support and property, you can include provisions related to day care, insurance, mortgage and car payments and even tax returns. With a legal separation, there is no need to involve the court in any proceedings, unless one of the parties fails to honor the terms of the agreement.
Why Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?
Among the reasons you may want to consider legal separation instead of divorce are:
- You or your spouse may be able to keep health insurance benefits (which are always terminated in the event of a divorce) through an employer’s plan
- You can have the tax advantages of married filing jointly
- You can become eligible for certain Social Security benefits if you remain married for at least 10 years
- If you (and/or your spouse) are in the military, there can be benefits available under the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act, provided you are married at least 10 years
- Separation can give you time to reconcile without the permanency of divorce
- If your faith prohibits divorce, you can stay true to your religious beliefs
At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.