A separation is not the same thing as a divorce. Separation means that you and your spouse are living apart from each other, but you’re still legally married until you are approved a divorce from a court (even if you already have an agreement of separation). Generally obtaining a separation does affect the financial responsibilities between you and your spouse before the divorce is final. Separation is a tactic used mostly by couples that have reached the point whereby breakup is inevitable.
What does it do?
Separation may or may not be the first step along the journey to separate lives. Separation enables the two individuals to get a taste of what it would be like to live separate lives— that is to manage separate households, separate responsibilities, separate finances, and separate identities. Most of the time, separation is a preface or rather a foreword to divorce—even if that was not the original motive of separation.
Separation as a preface or foreword to divorce has emotional and legal implications that you need to understand. Decisions made solely during separation often become stamped in stone, and anyone engaging in separation without the appropriate strategies, plans, safety tactics and protections can suffer the consequences for years. Legal separation agreements often cannot be renegotiated for the divorce.
The emotional drift after your separation can lead to the legal outcome of your divorce. Separation is a stormy and overwhelming period that leads to making stupid and rash decisions driven by emotions like remorse, guilt and anger. You may have made a more strategic deal when your mind is cool and at rest, but you will not generally have the luxury and the balanced mind of negotiating your decisions twice. If you are separating, you should try to develop the fine print of your future life now.
Sometimes, circumstances arise that lead to couples living apart with no initial motive, but perhaps to continue the marriage. Also some states and counties have laws that require couples seeking to file a no-fault divorce to live separate lives for a designated period of time.
Living separately can affect the property, assets, debts and bills division. Property, assets, expenses, bills, revenues and debt acquired while living separately is classified separately and independently depending on what state the couple lives in. Some states determine the property and debt classification based on whether either spouse has the motive and is willing to end the marriage. In community property states, all property, assets, revenue and debt acquired before the motive to end the marriage is still considered marital or jointly owned property and assets. When one of the spouses gains the motive to put an end to the marriage through a divorce, then all property and debt acquired thereafter is separate property. But during separation, assets, properties and debts acquired are still jointly owned by the couple.
What are the possible advantages of a separation?
That is enough talk about the consequences of separation. Separation also has its advantages if channelled and engaged into positively and actively.
1. Separation is beneficial when couples argue too much
Separation is good for marriage when you and your spouse find out that spending too much time with each other is the reason for your disagreements, arguments and conflicts. I know I have earlier said in previous articles that healthy arguments
are needed to make a relationship or marriage work. But when the arguments get much more constant and it later results to abuses and insult, the arguments and conflicts are not healthy and active rather it is unhealthy and passive. In every marriage, couples sometimes become co-dependent on each other in the sense that they rely on each other for virtually everything. Time apart can help a couple reclaim their personalities so that when they decide to reunite they both have their own separate and independent mind and spirit to contribute more to the marriage.
2. Separation makes partners long for each other
Separation or being apart rekindles the passion in the marriage. It is said that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Separation adds fuel to a marriage as it being said. Separation re-ignites the fire of love in a marriage. You don’t really have to move far away from your spouse to rekindle the same feelings, but it is a good idea to separate sometimes to spark some passion into the marriage. A simple vacation apart or visit to one’s family can help rekindle and re-ignite passion and love to the relationship. You will get to miss each other which help in increasing the love and passion for each other in a relationship.
3. Separation improves communication
Lastly, separation can be a very powerful tool that brings out the most effective communication among couples. It is distorting though why separation boost a communication structure, perhaps due to structured time periods apart, or due to the fading of resentment, or through a new sense of self-reliance by which partners begin to appreciate their spouses and effectively communicate with their spouses again.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.