If you are preparing to go through a legal separation, you should realize that you can remain legally separated for as long as you want. Some people will choose to stay this way for the benefits it offers, but other people prefer getting divorced, as this too can offer benefits. There are effects of both, and here are the effects a long-term legal separation can have on your life.
You will not be able to remarry
The first effect you should understand is that when you are legally separated, you are still considered married in the eyes of the law. This means that you will not be able to get remarried while you are legally separated, even if you have been legally separated for 10 or 20 years. Until you get divorced, you are still considered married and marrying two people at one time is against the law.
You may receive tax benefits from staying married
Some of the effects of staying legally separated for a long amount of time is that you can reap benefits by choosing to do this instead of getting divorced. One benefit of this is the ability to reap tax benefits. If you are legally married still and have not yet sought a divorce, you could file a joint tax return instead of each filing separate ones. By filing together, you may end up owing less money on your tax bill.
You may receive other benefits from this
A second key benefit of staying legally separated is that you can continue to use your spouse's health insurance plan if he or she is willing to let you. As long as you are not divorced, you have the right to utilize your spouse's benefits, and this even includes access to his or her pensions and other types of benefits.
You could be responsible for your spouse's debts
One pitfall of legal separation is that it could result in you being responsible for debts your spouse racks up. This is something that you will need to be cautious about if you choose to stay legally separated for a very long time; however, you might be able to avoid this problem by using the right wording on your legal separation agreement.
Getting legally separated is often a good first step to take, but you might not want to stay legally separated forever. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Cooper Levenson Attorneys At Law.