One reason why some couples choose legal separation instead of divorce is to maintain eligibility for benefits which only married couples can receive. For instance, a legal separation may allow spouses to remain on the same health insurance policies. If one of the parties is in poor health or injured, the only medical insurance available to them may be through the other party’s medical insurance plan. Generally, employer health insurance plans do not extend coverage services to non-family members. Accordingly, the parties may elect to be legally separated but remain married.
Another reason why some couples may choose to be legally separated is because of their religious beliefs. For individuals with religious or moral prohibitions against divorce, a legal separation allows them to separate their lives, obtain custody and support orders, but still remain married. However, it is important to note that both parties must agree to the legal separation. Oftentimes when a spouse initiates a legal separation rather than a divorce proceeding citing religious beliefs, the responding party responds by asking for a divorce instead. Therefore, couples who are certain that their marriage will ultimately be dissolved, may want to avoid going through the mechanics of filing for a legal separation and file for dissolution instead.
To speak with an experienced family law attorney about filing for legal separation or divorce in Arizona, call Tim Durkin at (480) 779-7972. Consultations can be held at both the JacksonWhite Mesa office and the JacksonWhite Peoria office.