Divorce rates are down — except among seniors. Divorce rates in America for couples who are over 50 years old have risen dramatically in the last few decades.

However, a gray divorce isn’t your only option if you’re unhappily wed and older. A legal separation might actually work out a lot better for you. Here’s why:

  • A legal separation can allow one spouse to remain on the other’s health insurance plan. Health insurance can be a thorny issue when couples divorce if one half of the couple doesn’t have access to a decent insurance plan and isn’t old enough for Medicare. It’s particularly problematic if either spouse has chronic health issues.
  • Remaining married can allow one spouse to qualify for the other’s Social Security benefits. A dependent spouse only qualifies for those benefits on the other spouse’s employment record as long as the marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
  • You can continue to take advantage of the tax benefits that are available to married couples The deductions that married couples receive are usually greater than those for single people, and that could play an important part in your retirement strategy.
  • You may preserve your immigration status. For some couples, a divorce could put one spouse’s residency in this country in danger. Remaining married may allow you to avoid unpleasant immigration complications that could take you away from your extended family members.

The business of divorce can be extraordinarily complicated — and divorce isn’t always your best option. Find out more about how a legal separation from your spouse could benefit you.