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Legal separation offers an effective alternative to divorce

Challenges come along to test the strength of any relationship. For unmarried couples, there is always the option of parting ways when challenges reveal differences that lead one or both parties to realize that the relationship will no longer prosper. The situation is typically more complicated for married couples. Beyond personality or emotional differences are considerations of children, assets and property, as well as other legal issues. For these and other reasons, couples in Washington may not want to divorce completely, perhaps for religious reasons, but to live apart in a way that allows them to maintain some of the financial benefits of marriage. For these couples, legal separation is an option.

Legal separation may be less popular only because it is not well known. Legal separation is the court-approved split of a couple that entitles them to particular rights and obligations, but also has some restrictions, the principal one being no re-marriage without first completely divorcing. Couples are still considered legally married even though they live separately. They also maintain rights to property division, child support and child custody.

One advantage is that legally married couples can still take advantage of tax incentives and tax laws. And, if a couple decides to give the marriage another try, they do not have to officially marry again. All a couple has to do is file a request informing the court that they wish to continue their marriage and then resume their marital life together.

Another advantage Washington couples should be aware of is that if and when couples do decide to divorce, being legally separated significantly simplifies the process of divorce. Having had time apart because of legal separation, couples may also have settled some of their differences and in turn will have an amicable divorce.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Legal Separation," Accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

Source: Findlaw.com, "Legal Separation," Accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

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