When a married couple decides that they no longer want to live together, but they do not want to get a divorce, then they may determine a long-term separation is the best option.
How do you know if long-term separation is the right choice for you? We share some pros and cons of this arrangement for you to consider:
Pros of Long-term Separation
Health Insurance/Coverage – Sometimes a divorce can make it difficult for one person to obtain adequate or affordable health insurance coverage. In a long-term separation, both parties can continue to use the health insurance without losing any of the coverage.
Mortgage – When couples get divorced, they often have to decide who gets the house or they have to sell it. Either way, this can place a huge financial burden on the couple. If you decide to separate instead, then the terms of the mortgage do not need to change at all. In fact, some couples continue living in the same house, even though they are – for all intents and purposes – separated from each other.
Taxes – Marriage deductions and tax incentives go away once you get a divorce, but you get to keep them in a long-term separation.
Social Security/Pension – When you have been married for 10 years or longer, then you can receive a portion of your spouse’s benefits. Some couples opt for a long-term separation to “wait it out.”
Cons of Long-term Separation
General Finances – Over the course of a long separation, each person’s assets or liabilities may change. If you are the one whose income increases during this time, then you may find yourself responsible for more of the alimony when you do divorce. Additionally, you could be partially responsible for your spouse’s credit card debt. Worse yet, your credit score could be negatively impacted if your spouse falls behind on credit card payments while you are in a long-term separation.
Relationship Changes – You may be on amicable terms when you decide to separate, but that has the potential to change over time. Since a divorce typically entails a splitting of both your assets, it may be less financially and emotionally draining if you get a divorce in the first place.
No Ability to Remarry – Even if you and your spouse are separated, you cannot remarry until you get a divorce. Long-term separation makes it difficult to get into another relationship, because you may have to maintain certain financial and marital commitments – and explain your “complicated” situation.
Should I separate or get a divorce?
If you are not sure of the financial or relationship implications that can happen in a separation, or you are considering a divorce, then you should get a referral to a family law attorney who can answer your questions. When you obtain a referral from the Lawyer Referral & Information Service in San Diego, you can get up to 30 minutes of free consultation with a family lawyer. Call (619) 231-8585 for more information.