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Legal separations allow couples to remain married though apart

There are times when married couples in Illinois have problems but decide against getting a divorce. They may want to delay this final option for a later date. They may just want to live apart to get away from one another. For whatever reason, some people choose to remain married, though living apart. This arrangement can be an informal one. The couple can merely split, going their separate ways. However, doing so can lead to problems further down the line. For this reason, others go through a legal separation.

Legal separations are binding contracts between two partners who have decided that they want to split while remaining married. The legal separation document spells out the responsibilities of each party. It is important to do so, because even though they are married, the husband and wife usually do not live together. If there are children, someone may need to pay child support. If one was financially dependent on the other, there may be a need to decide on alimony. The separation decree clarifies all of these important issues.

There are many reasons why people choose to separate rather than divorce. Financial factors are some of the most prominent considerations. Couples may benefit from being married under the law. In some cases, they can enjoy the tax benefits of filing jointly. There may also be a business or property that the two would rather not divide.

One problem the separated at times encounter is with taxes. Yes, there may be an economic advantage of staying married. However, tax laws can be tricky and change often. The regulations might make it impossible for those separated to file jointly. A divorce lawyer is a good source of advice for those planning to separate legally. It is a shame when couples separate, expecting to reap a financial benefit, only to find that they cannot file a joint tax return. An attorney can help determine the benefits of using a legal separation agreement.

Source: Forbes, "Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is Better Financially?", Jeff Landers, Jan. 10, 2012

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