Sometimes marriages don't work out. That's just a part of life. However, for some couples, divorce does not have to be the final option – sometimes it is better to engage in a long term domestic separation rather than a divorce. Stacy Schmidt, a Utah divorce attorney from Schmidt & Gladstone helped me explore some of the reasons why someone would choose to avoid divorce in a failing marriage. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Tax purposes.
When a couple is separated, although they live apart and conduct their affairs independently of one another, they are still legally married. This enables them to file their taxes as a married couple. Assuming the two are amicable enough, this can save them money each year. This arrangement is common between couples who remain friends although their marriage has failed.
While separated, the spouse still maintains the benefits of the other member's healthcare plans. Considering the relatively volatile environment when it comes to finding affordable healthcare, this can be a better option than choosing divorce flat-out. At the very least, this arrangement allows the members of both parties enough time to find a policy that works for both of them.
3. Religious reasons.
Some religions forbid divorce on grounds of moral and ethical reasons. However, that isn't always enough to keep a couple together – when this happens, a legal separation can skirt the edges just enough to be acceptable compromise. This option does raise certain questions about how morally acceptable the option is in the eyes of the couple's religion, however.
4. Social security benefits.
There are certain social security benefits that couples are eligible for if they remain married for ten years. A domestic separation does not invalidate these benefits; if a couple is trying to remain together long enough to obtain these benefits, it is often better to opt for a separation rather than divorce, at least until the ten year period is up. There are also benefits similar to social security for military spouses that share the same ten year requirement period.
5. A second chance.
Sometimes a separation allows the couple time enough to work out the differences and can possibly save a marriage. If neither party is absolutely sure divorce is the right choice, remaining separated until a decision is made might be just what they need in order to keep the marriage going. Many divorced couples wish they would have continued to work at their marriage before ending it.
Regardless of your views on divorce, there are often very valid reasons to opt for some time apart. A domestic separation is the perfect option in this case.