You’ve been sharing your life with someone for years, and it can be hard to imagine it any other way. But sometimes, things need to change. For some couples, divorce is not an option due to insurance issues, religious beliefs or other obstacles.

For some people, a legal separation is the best choice.

Divergent paths

Divorce doesn’t work for everyone. In specific situations, a legal separation can provide the framework to separate financial and physically, while maintaining some of the legal benefits of marriage.

  • Requirements: Similar to divorce, you still need to petition the court. When you submit your Petition, you will still need to meet residency requirements.
  • Process: As with a divorce, a legal separation requires you to make full financial disclosures to the court and allocate the marital estate, parenting time and decision-making.
  • Benefits: A legal separation allows spouses to continue enjoying some tax benefits, health insurance benefits and may meet religious requirements while allowing the couple to separate.

For certain situations, a legal separation can present an alternative to divorce. Familiarize yourself with both options and the legal ramifications of a legal separation before moving forward.