The advantages of a legal separation over divorce include the ability to stay married yet live apart and to have legal agreements regarding property, children and assets, according to WHAM. The marriage does not have to be terminated in order to have agreements that are recognized by law.
Under some circumstances, couples may choose to remain married before deciding whether or not to get divorced, but they wish to officially separate and divide rights and responsibilities. Like a divorce, there is a legal separation agreement that resolves the division of property and assets, as well as child custody, visitation and alimony, explains WHAM.
The difference with a legal separation is that the couple remains married and eligible for any benefits they would have if they remained together, according to Forbes. For instance, a spouse can continue to carry the couple's health coverage, which would terminate after a divorce.
Additionally, there are some benefits for military couples if they remain married for at least 10 years, as well as some Social Security benefits, Forbes adds. There are also some tax benefits that can be leveraged if filing tax returns jointly. Another consideration for the couple is if their faith or institution doesn't approve of divorce. They may choose to stay married for the sake of their religion.