Many married couples decide they no longer want to be together, but that doesn’t always mean they are going to get divorced. In fact, some couples choose to be legally separated instead of going through the divorce process.

A legal separation is similar to divorce, as there will be child custody negotiations as well as visitation rules and child/spousal support. Division of properties is another conversation that will take place when the couple is preparing to be separated.

What makes legal separation unique from divorce is that although you will not be living together, in the eyes of the state you are still married. For some, legal separation is a better route to take than divorce, be it for financial or family reasons.

If you do decide to get separated, it is important to know that if you choose to get divorced later on, you will still have to go through the divorce process in its entirety, regardless of what might have been decided in the separation negotiations.

These are the main reasons that spouses might choose legal separation over a divorce.

  • Religious beliefs might prevent the possibility of divorce;
  • If you remain married, your healthcare/insurance plan won’t change, and neither will the listed beneficiary;
  • By staying married, you can take advantage of the tax benefits that come along with it;
  • The divorce process can be long, expensive and emotionally draining, and some spouses find that it just isn’t worth it to go through the entire process. In this sense, cutting your losses and just getting separated is a sensible way to go, as you essentially accomplish the goal of terminating the romantic and intimate part of the relationship.

One point I wanted to make separate from the others is that unlike in divorce, legal separation allows you the possibility of reconciling and working on your relationship, to the point where you might even move back in together.

Legal separation allows this door to stay open while getting divorced and then getting back together requires more time and a lot more money.