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When to pursue legal separation instead of divorce

When South Carolina couples decide they no longer wish to remain married, they typically obtain a divorce. Fortunately, those numbers continue to decline. A report from Fox Carolina shows the divorce rate in the state was 2.9 divorces out of every 1,000 couples in 2014 compared to the rate being at 3.1 in 2010.

Although most people's thoughts turn toward divorce when they no longer wish to live with a spouse, it is important to also consider a legal separation.This occurs when a couple no longer lives together but still maintains all the benefits of legal marriage. In actuality, there are some circumstances where a legal separation is actually preferable.

Religious reasons

One or both members of the couple may not want to divorce for religious reasons. A legal separation does not terminate the marriage, but it does allow both people to live separately and maintain separate bank accounts. It is a viable middle ground.

Continuation of benefits

Perhaps one spouse wants to remain on the other's health insurance plan for a little while longer. Additionally, married couples that remain together for at least 10 years qualify for Social Security benefits. Two people may want to prolong the marriage just a little time longer so that both people can get out of it on good footing.

Chance for reconciliation

A divorce entails a lot of paperwork and time in court. A couple may simply be going through a prolonged rough patch, and neither person is 100 percent certain a divorce is absolutely best. Under these circumstances, it can be good for the couple to go through a legal separation first. This essentially serves as a trial run to see if the couple is actually better off. After some time apart, the couple may realize they want to separate for good or get back together. Either way, a legal separation is much simpler to reverse.

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Stampfle Law Firm
1341 44th Avenue North
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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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