While separation is often seen as a trial period to determine whether divorce is right for a couple, there are many reasons that a couple might choose this route. Some people want legal separation for religious reasons. Others stay married to preserve certain benefits that they receive from the government or employers.

In Maryland, you can pursue a limited divorce, which does not end your marriage but does provide legal documentation for your separation. There are a variety of benefits that you might gain from this legal state.

You might start your single life with a stronger financial future.

Moving forward as a single-income household can be a challenge for all divorced people, and legal separation might be a smart way to protect your finances. With legal documentation of the separation, you could argue that any assets gained thereafter are separate property rather than marital property.

If you have been married for less than 10 years, legal separation could allow you to have greater social security income. Social security requirements state that your social security benefits can be based on your former spouse’s income rather than your own if your marriage lasted for at least 10 years.

Healthcare needs will still be covered.

If you or your spouse has a medical need that requires time away from work, a legal separation will allow you to share healthcare coverage during this time. This not only assists with treatment, but it could ensure that the stress of paying for that medical care without insurance does not put greater strain on you and your spouse.

Separation could give you valuable space away from your spouse.

Perhaps the most important reason to consider legal separation is that you gain the physical and emotional space to consider your situation. You may want additional time to think about which assets will be most important for your life after property division. You may desire to have additional time to negotiate with your spouse about your child custody arrangement or your divorce agreement.

Separation gives you the chance to consider these issues, and that time could be an invaluable asset as you work toward a divorce agreement that meets your needs.