Top do’s and don’ts for trial separations
Before going through a divorce, it may seem like a good idea to first attempt a trial separation. Most often known as “a break” on TV and in films, a separation is time spent away from your spouse in order to determine whether you are simply going through a rough patch or should actually pursue a divorce.
Very few people ever want to struggle needlessly through the divorce process if they could instead repair their marriage, or find common ground. That being said, separations can often create bigger issues within your marriage, possibly even inadvertently prompting the need to divorce. Here are some do’s and don’ts on how to effectively try a separation.
Do Draw Up a Separation Agreement
First and foremost, it is a good idea to set the parameters of your trial separation. Without any expectations or guidelines, you may not get what you need out of the time and space created by a separation. Decide on day-to-day affairs as well as how you will communicate and when you will get together to revisit your relationship.
Don’t Maintain Existing Issues
If things were not working as they were, a separation allows the freedom to reflect and try new things, possibly finding what you needed but weren’t getting with your spouse. This is not the time to perpetuate old habits. If you were struggling with finances, but agree to continue to pay the bills while you are separated, chances are nothing will change. Compromising will be the key both during your separation and once you reconvene to reconsider divorce.
Do Keep Finances Separate
Finances can often be one of the more contentious aspects within a relationship. Whether or not this is the root cause of your separation, it is always a good idea to separate things that may cause additional discord down the road. Joint accounts can be tricky to separate, but having individual control over your money allows each party to have a clear sense of their financial stability and removes the ability to be deceptive about finances.
Don’t Move Out Unnecessarily
While separating assets is a great plan, moving out isn’t always the best idea. Especially if children are involved, moving out creates a physical divide within the family that may be irreparable. Additionally, the spouse that leaves may ultimately look like the spouse or parent who has given up on the marriage, something to keep in mind should your marriage eventually end up in court. Unless necessary, do your best to find ways to live separately under the same roof to avoid additional stress.
Do – Be Honest With Yourself and Your Spouse
While a separation allows you to reclaim a sold sense of self, there is a good chance that you and your spouse already know whether or not you want a divorce. If you are not happy, have met someone else, or just found that marriage is not for you, be honest about what you want. Most states, including Michigan, are “no-fault” states which means that neither party can be found guilty of ending the marriage.
It is sad when a marriage falls apart, but often two people are better off divorced. While a trial separation provides spouses a short time to reflect, it is best not to delay what may be inevitable. If you are at a crossroads in your marriage or are ready to divorce, contact the professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm for solid legal advice.
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