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Legal Separation

Legal separation allows for protection of the rights and duties of spouses. Legal separation offers advantages for couples that are faced with irreconcilable differences but not prepared to proceed with a divorce. Legal separation may be short term or long term, depending upon the needs of the couple and state laws. Indiana law allows for a one year term of legal separation. Though, couples in Indiana may re-file at the end of the year to convert to a longer term.

Financial Obligations: A legal separation often involves the disclosure of financial obligations that can be divided to reduce the risk of credit issues and unforeseen expenses.

Homestead Requirements:  A legal separation agreement discloses who will remain in the home and who will leave the home. Family law attorneys may advise couples to remove their names from property in order to avoid future liability such as financial or personal injury liability that may occur because of dangerous property. The spouse responsible for the upkeep of the home will also be outlined in the legal separation agreement.

Pension and Retirement Plans: Family law attorneys ensure that spouses meet legal requirements to secure interest in pension and retirement benefits.

Possession Issues: A legal separation allows spouses to define which possessions each spouse is entitled to. Family law attorneys also advise that possession is 99% of the law.

Spousal Support: A legal separation agreement allows for the documentation of the spousal support award. A legal separation agreement permits for payments to be claimed as a tax deduction which is not permissible without a legal agreement.

Health Insurance: Family law attorneys can help identify if health insurance providers will allow benefits to be maintained following separation. This is documented in the legal separation agreement.

Legal separations allow couples to take a break to evaluate the strength of the marriage. Some couples prefer long term legal separation over divorce to allow spouses to receive Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act and Social Security benefits.

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