Many couples use separation as a testing ground for divorce. At the end of the separation period, they can decide whether to divorce or resume their marriage. If you are planning to go down this route, then you should know that many factors will determine whether or not you eventually divorce. One of these factors is money, and here are a few ways in which it may affect your separation:
To Enjoy Income Tax Benefits
If you aren't legally separated, then you are still married in the eyes of the law. This means that you are still allowed to file joint returns, which entitles you to certain income tax benefits. As a general rule, filing separate taxes means that you end up paying more than if you would have made a joint filing. There are many other tax benefits of staying married. Therefore, you may be tempted to postpone your actual divorce and stay separated indefinitely to take advantage of these benefits.
To Wait for Social Security Benefits
Another money issue that can prolong your separation is that of Social Security benefits. As a general rule, you will only be allowed to receive a share of your former spouse's Social Security benefits if you have been married for at least ten years. Thus, if your marriage has not lasted that long, then you can have an informal separation as you wait for the threshold. Obviously, this is likely to happen only if you are still in good terms with your partner.
To Take Advantage of Health Insurance
The possibility of missing out on health insurance coverage may also make you prolong your separation instead of divorcing. This is especially true if one of you might find it difficult to obtain individual health cover. Pre-existing illness or inadequacy of funds may make it difficult to obtain the right health coverage. For example, it might be that your spouse gets his or her medical health coverage from his or her employment, and it extends to his or her family members. If you divorce, then you cease to be a family member and lose those rights.
These are serious issues, but they don't automatically mean that prolonging your separation is the answer. A candid consultation with a family lawyer, like Borowiec & Borowiec PC Attorneys At Law, may provide you with a way out. For example, the issue of health coverage may be factored into a separation agreement so that you are covered even after the divorce.Share