Legal Separation May Preserve Some Marriage Benefits

When Michigan couples realize they have reached the point where a split is the best option for their family, they are likely well-aware that a divorce is an option. However, as with any critical decision, it is important to be aware of all available options. Aside from divorce, the legal separation may be a viable alternative.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is a judicially-approved arrangement in which the parties get enforceable rights and obligations through a court order without the marriage being formally dissolved. One reason that the members of a couple might choose to go for legal separation instead of divorce is that their religious denomination frowns on divorce. Legal separation frees them of some of the most burdensome aspects of marriage without legally ending it.

divorce-1Another reason to consider a legal separation is that, because they are still legally married, the couple may still be able to take advantage of some of the financial benefits of marriage. For example, if one spouse is on the other spouse’s employer-provided health plan, that person will probably be able to stay on the plan even after the legal separation. Also, the couple will still be able to reap the tax benefits that apply to married couples.
In contrast, once a divorce is finalized, each person likely will lose the benefits under the rules of the health care plan and tax laws. On the other hand, it is most often impossible to retain all the health care and tax benefits of marriage with a divorce.

Another benefit of legal separation, for couples contemplating a possible reconciliation, is that resumption of normal marital life will be much easier to achieve. Instead of having to marry each other again, the couple would merely need to ask the court to resume the marriage.

Of course, every Michigan family beings a unique set of circumstances. Divorce may indeed be the best options in some cases. By gathering available information and guidance, couples can pursue whichever option will best suit the needs of all involved parties, including their children.

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