3 considerations before a marital separation
Written by Craig Cherney

3 considerations before a marital separation

You have been working hard to try to make your marriage work. Nothing has changed. What if you aren’t sure you want a divorce? You may want to try a marital separation.

A separation lets you take time apart before you decide. In many ways, it gives you a chance to catch your breath and regroup. Instead of giving in or giving up, it lets you try living separately and take time to decide how to proceed. Marital separation, which is separate from filing for a “legal separation,” can give you the clarity you need.

Just because it is an intermediate step doesn’t mean you can treat it lightly. You need to go in ready to think through your marriage. When it comes to it, you and your spouse are doing this together. Marital separation provides a chance to decide your future.

Give Your Marital Separation an Honest Try

Too many people think of separation as an easy step. It is not. You need to take the process seriously and understand how important it is.

In many cases, marital separation lets couples see themselves and each other differently. If you fight all the time, it forces you to cool off and see what life might be like if you were apart.

Use the time to practice living apart and to figure out what that would mean for both of you. Sometimes people learn they are not ready to end the relationship; other times, they realize that they are. If you don’t take the process seriously, you lose the benefit that the time apart can provide.

Set Expectations and Boundaries

If you are not used to being away from each other, marital separation can be hard. In the beginning, you must set boundaries to let each other have time alone. Decide when you will talk and when you will give space. Once you decide, honor that commitment. Don’t let old habits get in the way.

Before you separate, discuss finances, time with kids, and other aspects of living apart. Will you date other people? Do you want to put limits on anything? The more you lay out up front, the greater your chance to succeed.

Communication Is as Important as Ever

Finally, marital separation does not mean you ignore each other. You need to talk from time to time. A divorce requires working together on some things. Marital separation does as well. Your lives still connect at some points.

For some, counseling helps bridge communication gaps. Even if you do not see a counselor, involve people you trust. This can be friends, family, clergy, or someone else. You do not have to go through it alone.

In the end, it comes down to you and your spouse. Talk about the experience at scheduled times. Try to think about and understand each other during the process. You may be able to make your marriage work, or you may end up choosing to divorce. Separation can help you decide together.

If you are thinking about a marital separation, an experienced family law attorney can help you identify issues that may arise. Contact the professionals at Best Legal Choices to discuss marital separation and how it impacts a potential divorce.