A legal separation is a written legal agreement that is filed within the court that details the rights and obligations of a married couple while they’re living separately from each other. Matters that can be addressed in separation agreements include asset and debt allocation, child(ren) custody and support, visitation plans, spousal support, etc. Just about every state recognizes a written agreement of separation excluding Louisiana, Delaware, Georgia Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.
In some ways, becoming legally separated is a lot like becoming divorced. So how come individuals go through the separation process rather than just get divorced? Some of the advantages of legal separation include:
- Allow you to uphold your marital status because of religious beliefs.
- Enabling a couple, a little time to live apart from each other and find out if divorce is really what they wish for. In comparison to an unofficial trial separation, a separation agreement sets out how things will be dealt with while the couple is apart from each other.
- Having the ability to keep insurance benefits on a spouse’s coverage. If you are thinking about getting separation to maintain coverage, make sure to go over the policy and see if it outlines what occurs when a couple separates legally.
- Keeping specific military benefits.
- Continuing to be married in order to reach the necessary 10 years needed to qualify for specific social security benefits of a spouse.
- Safeguarding the financial interest while apart from each other, as assets and debts amassed throughout a legally recognized separation might be deemed separate property. This may be vital in states that have a required period of separation prior to a divorce being granted.
- Potential tax benefits by proceeding to jointly file taxes. Where you reside will impact whether you may file jointly because the IRS follows the divorce laws in each state. For instance, Texas deems you legally married until the divorce is complete. As a result, you are required to file jointly when separated in the state of Texas. At the same time, being legally separated in California enables you to file your taxes as either married jointly filing (each spouse is required to agree in filing this way) or married separately filing. It doesn’t matter of where you live, you need to claim the same filing status on the state and also federal tax returns. Speak with a tax professional to determine which filing status is permissible in your situation.
- When a couple comes to the determination that getting divorced is the right choice, a separation agreement may be modified into a divorce agreement.
Whereas a legal separation may safeguard you prior to you getting divorced, it can also set priority for the actual divorce. If the divorce case goes to court, a judge would surmise that if you were happy with the provisions in the separation agreement, there should be no reason to make any significant changes in the divorce.
As a result, you need to treat the separation agreement just like a divorce, and do not agree to anything that you won’t be able to live with. This is the reason it is so important to have your lawyer review the agreement and discuss the consequences of it with you.
- “Legal Separation – What Are the Benefits?” WomansDivorce.com, www.womansdivorce.com/legal-separation.html.
Speak with Our Legal Separation Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona Today
Ogborne Law can help with a legal separation in Arizona. Our legal separation lawyers have many years of experience in drafting separation agreements. Our law office is located at 5020 E Shea Blvd Suite 240, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 inside the Paradise Valley Plaza.
While the legal separation process is not for everyone, it can save you money, stress, and hassle vs getting a litigated divorce. Speak with our legal separation lawyers in Phoenix, AZ to find out if legal separation is right for your family.
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