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Don't overlook the financial implications of legal separation

Some couples in Gig Harbor find that a separation is, for the time being, a better alternative than divorce. They may have many personal reasons for believing this. Some may feel that they just need some time apart before deciding whether or not to end their marriage, while others may have religious or financial reasons for declining to divorce. Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that even couples who have legally separated still have financial ties with one another.

First of all, even separated couples need to discuss finances with one another. They need to decide on who will pay what bills, or whether certain bills will be split down the middle. If a couple is legally separated, they may still be able to file their taxes jointly and be on one another's health insurance. Keep in mind, however, that marital property, for the purposes of divorce, will retain the value it had when the couple separated. Therefore, any assets (or debts) acquired after a couple separates will be deemed separate property, not marital property.

For these reasons, couples, even if they are separated, may want to find a way to reduce their jointly owned debts. After all, if a joint credit card account is left open, one spouse could still be responsible for what the other spouse spends on it. Becoming financially independent, and having solely owned bank accounts and credit cards is important. To that end, preparing a budget for your newly independent life can help you see where you need to funnel your money with regards to the new expenses incurred as you set up your own individual household.

Legally separating from your spouse is a big step to take, so those who take it should make sure they understand what their legal rights are. Retaining a family law attorney may be the first step one wants to take if they decide that a legal separation is necessary.

Source: Nerdwallet, "3 Tips for Managing Your Money While Separated From Your Spouse," Shawn Leamon, Sept. 21, 2016

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