The pros of a legal separation can be vast. Since couples are still married in the eyes of the law, they are still afforded the same rights and obligations that apply to married people unless they’ve agreed otherwise in their separation agreement. “For example, if a spouse has concerns about their ability to obtain health insurance at an affordable cost, a couple can agree to remain legally separated (so, still married) so that a spouse in need of coverage can stay on the existing policy for a period of time,” Frawley and Pollock explain.
But that’s not all: There might be tax benefits to staying legally separated vs. filing for divorce. (Yep, a legal separation means you can still file jointly on your return, which isn’t an option after you divorce.)
Still, if one half of the couple wants to remarry, a divorce agreement is mandatory. “We have seen situations where one spouse is dating someone who wants to marry them and they do not want to be remarried, so they’ve stayed legally separated without getting divorced for as long as possible to avoid the re-marriage.” (So, if you’re ever dating someone who’s legally separated but dragging their feet on the divorce for no real reason, red flag.)