'The Conners' star Michael Fishman shares surprising reason he chose legal separation over divorce

Michael Fishman and his estranged wife, Jennifer Briner, are making their split as amicable as possible.

Briner filed for legal separation from "The Conners" star after nearly 20 years of marriage on Thursday, and in a statement to TMZ, Fishman explained the surprising reason why they opted for separation over divorce.

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"Among the reasons for not getting a regular divorce is the shared desire to keep Jenny covered by my health insurance, and allow to slowly unfold our 20 years together in a way mutually beneficial for our family, particularly on behalf of our children," he said.

Fishman and Briner married in October 1999, and share two children together, a 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. In court docs obtained by ET on Thursday, Briner listed their date of separation as June 16, 2017. On Thursday, Fishman told TMZ that their process of splitting was delayed after production of "Roseanne" was halted, and in a statement posted to his Instagram on Saturday, he insisted that regardless of the timing of their split, he and Briner will remain "the closest of friends."

"Nineteen years ago, as young kids, Jennifer and I entered marriage with little more than love," the statement began. "All marriages are complex, with tremendous growth and change over the course of a twenty-year relationship. Goals shift, life challenges us, and our twenty years together have been a resounding success. We are raising two wonderful children who continue to be the focus of our decision making, they remain our top priority."

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The statement continued: "We completed our marriage with compassion, kindness, and respect. Opting to postpone filing until after the holidays and the completion of our son's first semester at college. Through love and communication, we are transitioning our family, unraveling the complex responsibilities forged over nineteen years. Collectively we are focused on privately making the transition as seamless and undisruptive for our family."

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In her filing on Thursday, Briner requested joint custody and visitation of her and Fishman's daughter. She also asked to terminate the court’s ability to award spousal support to either party, and that the court determine the rights to the community/quasi-community property, which include two Ford vehicles and multiple bank accounts. Additionally, Briner asked that each party be responsible for their own attorney’s fees.