A separation before divorce is not the same thing as filing or serving divorce papers.
Separation means that you and your spouse are living apart from each other, but you’re still legally married until you are approved of a divorce from a court (even if you already have an agreement of separation).
To understand the main differences between separation and divorce and make an informed decision, it would be helpful to read this piece on legal separation vs divorce.
Separation is a tactic used mostly by couples that have reached the point whereby breakup is inevitable. Obtaining a separation affects the financial responsibilities between you and your spouse before the divorce is final.
What does separation before divorce 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, maintain separate identities, fulfill separate responsibilities, and handle financial responsibility or manage separate finances during separation.
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. For those who want to opt for separation before divorce, and want to have a look at how a separation agreement looks like, check this out.
What is the outcome of separation before divorce?
The emotional drift after your separation can lead to the legal outcome of your divorce.
Separation is a stormy and overwhelming period that can lead to making unwise 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.
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 the motives and willingness to end the marriage of either spouse.
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.
Separation before divorce also has its advantages if channeled and engaged positively and actively. Something you must factor in before considering how to file for divorce, or coping with divorce.
1. Separation is beneficial when couples argue too much
A trial 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.
Healthy arguments are needed to make a relationship or marriage work. But when the arguments get much more constant and it later results in abuses and insult, the arguments and conflicts are not healthy and active rather it is unproductive and passive.
In every marriage, couples sometimes become codependent 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,
While filing for separation before divorce you don’t really have to move far away from your spouse to rekindle the same feelings. Although if you are separating to spark some passion into the marriage there are other ways you can try first.
A simple vacation apart or a visit to the family can help rekindle and reignite passion and love in the relationship. You will get to miss each other which helps in increasing the love and passion for each other in a relationship.
3. Separation improves communication
Lastly, for couples, experiencing marital strife, marriage separation before divorce, can be a very powerful tool that brings out the most effective communication among couples looking to rebuild a marriage.
Also, watch this video that shares insights on various aspects of separation and marriage:
Hopefully, this helps bring you closer to the question, “Is separation good for a marriage?”
For couples who feel they have tried everything to make their marriage work, separation before a divorce can be an opportunity to find the spark that they lost.
Not only can separation give you the space you need from unhealthy arguments, but it also gives you the time to reflect on why you were together in the first place and eventually find ways to improve your relationship.
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.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.