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Is a Legal Separation Better for My Family Than a Divorce?

Posted on in Family Law

Kendall County family law attorney legal separation

Many couples decide to separate before they fully commit to a divorce. However, simply moving out of one's shared household is not enough to make a separation official. In many cases, couples in Illinois will want to take steps to protect their rights by filing for a legal separation. This will allow them to consider many of the issues that will be addressed during divorce, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal support, and property division, but they will continue to be legally married after the separation. Although this may sometimes be the first step on the road to divorce, some partners will decide to remain separated rather than get divorced due to the financial benefits a legal separation can offer them and their children.

Can a Legal Separation Save Me Money?

One of the main reasons why couples will decide to remain separated rather than divorced is the financial benefits that come along with remaining legally married. Reaping the benefits while separated may not be a long-term plan, but it can help you save up for a divorce in the future if you do not have the funds at the moment. Here are a few advantages to obtaining a legal separation instead of a divorce:

  1. 10 Years Together - The number 10 is important in the divorce process. For those who have been married for 10 years, the lower-earning spouse who does not remarry before the age of 62 is entitled to Social Security benefits based on his or her own work, or 50 percent of his or her former spouse’s benefits. It may not be realistic to remain separated, and thus legally married, for couples who have only been married for a few years. However, it may make sense for couples who have been married for close to a decade to stick out the separation in order to earn these deserved benefits.

  2. Health Insurance - For individuals who are unemployed or whose workplace does not offer healthcare coverage, they may remain legally married to continue receiving their spouse’s health insurance benefits. However, it is important to ask the appropriate personnel about the fine print of the plan. Some insurance plans will not provide the other spouse or children with healthcare benefits if a couple is separated. Remaining separated for this reason may not be a long-term solution, but it may be a good idea until the other spouse finds a new job that offers him or her adequate family medical coverage.

  3. Tax Cuts - It is commonly known that filing a joint tax return with your spouse can provide you with certain discounts or credits in the amount of taxes you may owe. If you have children together, you may be eligible for additional tax credits. Some couples who are preparing for divorce may choose to wait to finalize their divorce until after they file their taxes. This may save them money in the short term, which they can use toward their divorce or toward establishing separate homes. To determine the best strategy for taxes and other financial matters in your divorce, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. The tax laws can be complex, and your ability to file jointly may change depending on your circumstances.

Call a Kane County Family Law Attorney

Whether you are separating as a precursor to divorce, as a temporary measure, or as a long-term solution, you will want to be sure to follow the right steps to complete a legal separation and ensure that your rights are protected. At Emily Rapp at McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C., our distinguished attorneys have over 12 years of experience in family law, including divorce and legal separation. We can help you understand how a legal separation will affect your life and finances in the future. To learn more about how we can help, contact our Geneva, IL legal separation lawyers at 630-402-0185 to schedule a free consultation.




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