Benefits of a Legal Separation in a Pandemic
Contrary to what many people believe, if your marriage has reached an impasse, divorce is not the only option. Legal separation allows you and your spouse to experience many of the benefits of divorce while the marriage remains legally intact. Like a divorce, a legal separation allows you to work through the division of assets, debts, and shared property, determine child support, custody, visitation, and necessary financial support for the other spouse. A legal separation therefore puts both you and your spouse in the position to be able to begin living separate lives without actually terminating the marriage.
The Benefits of a Legal Separation in Alabama
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the United States hard, and Alabama is no exception. Divorce rates are up nationwide, in large part due to stressors stemming from the pandemic, such as financial and housing instability. However, some couples are turning to legal separations instead, for one very important reason: health insurance. If your spouse does not receive health insurance from their employer and does not qualify for medicaid, a divorce could leave them uninsured during a pandemic. Many couples faced with this option have chosen to put divorce on the back burner to revisit after the pandemic. However, a legal separation allows the uninsured spouse to remain insured, because, as the marriage is still intact, they still qualify as a dependent for their spouses’ medical insurance coverage.
Once the pandemic is over, or the other spouse has secured their own health insurance, the couple can return to court and request that the legal separation be converted into a divorce. As all the same issues that would have been determined for a divorce have already been agreed upon during the legal separation process, it’s usually a very simple process to simply have the marriage legally dissolved.
Other Benefits of Legal Separation
For some, religious reasons are an important aspect of pursuing a legal separation. This allows them to keep their marital union intact while taking the steps necessary to live full and independent lives. For other couples, as much as they want to live separate lives, divorce still feels too terrifying to consider. A legal separation can be like a test run, allowing a couple to experience exactly what it would be like to be divorced, without the pressure of knowing that it is forever. In fact, if a couple decides to reconcile after a legal separation, they just have to go back to court and say so.
Criteria for an Alabama Legal Separation
It’s important to note that while a legal separation can be an effective tool for couples to define and evolve beyond the limitations of their current relationship dynamic, it is not something to be taken lightly. Alabama courts certainly take these orders seriously. In order to qualify for one, it must be shown that an irretrievable breakdown in marriage has occurred, and that at least one spouse wants to live separate and apart from the other. Additionally, there is a residency requirement that at least one spouse has lived in Alabama for at least six months prior to filing for the order.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are wondering whether a legal separation may be right for you, and want to know more about your options, schedule a consultation with a Birmingham family lawyer at Peeples Law today.