The main difference between a legal separation and divorce is the status of the marriage. Couples who get a legal separation remain married. This allows such couples to maintain certain benefits exclusive to married couples, while still being able to live separate lives. Those include:
- – Remain on their spouse’s health insurance plan or alternatively maintain their spouse on their own health insurance plan.
- – Remain entitled to claim social security benefits at retirement, reserved for marriages that exceed ten years.
- – Retain military benefits for spouses, under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, available to military spouses who are married for ten years or longer.
- Maintain the advantage of filing joint tax returns
Keep in mind that being married may also have financial risks involving joint debt and obligations. As such, you should consider all foregoing factors to decide if legal separation is an appropriate option in your case.