Trial separations are informal means of separating from your significant other. Unlike formal proceedings of separation, it is a private affair between you and your significant other. At the end of this trial period, according to the situation, a couple can either go ahead with their marriage or opt for divorce, which would require the couple to go to a court of law.
When opting for a trial separation, the couple should keep in mind that when you opt for this decision, some boundaries are set which have to be followed. These boundaries may also play a role in deciding your future with your spouse. Healthy maintenance of these boundaries may even save your marriage from disagreements and a divorce.
To help you understand better what these boundaries are, here is a list of some important trial separation boundaries that you and your significant other should consider.
1. Who will be leaving home?
You and your partner both will have to decide which of you will be leaving home. It is up to you and your significant other on what criteria you choose to evaluate the answer to this particular question. This may depend on:
- Who bought the house
- Who contributed more when purchasing the house
- Which one of you is willing to leave the house by themselves
The criteria will be determined by you both since it is a mutual decision.
2. Division of property
When answering this question, “property” will not include only the house or land on which the house is built, but also your cars, furniture, electronics and even dishes and other household items. Again, to answer this question, both you and your spouse would need to decide how you will go about answering this question. As a female, you may want to take some of the furniture, some dishes and of course your own car.
While as a male, you may also want to take your car, any electronics that you purchased and other similar items. The land and house itself may be divided according to the contribution that each of you made at the time of purchase. However, if one of you bought it, then the terms of division would have to be thought out.
3. Visiting children
This applies to couples who have children. As trial separation is a private affair between a couple, you and your spouse will have to decide who will keep the children for how long and what will the schedule of the visits be. For example, your husband may keep the children during Christmas break and you may keep the children during their summer break or vice versa. All these arrangements would have to be carefully thought out to minimize the burden and tension upon your children which they might face as a result of trial separation.
With trial separation comes responsibilities. For instance, if one spouse is living in the house while the other has left it, how will you divide the bills? Also, who will be paying the children’s school fees? How will you be maintaining your house and land? All these terms and conditions would have to be discussed by you both. When talking about responsibilities pertaining to finance, some couples are known to work on the same arrangement as that was present during their marriage and some come up with new ones.
One of the boundaries you need to consider is the time frame for which you and your spouse will be separated. The time frame generally is between 1 to 6 months and then, you both need to evaluate the situation and take a decision. It is unhealthy for a relationship to be hanging on a hook.
During a trial separation, it is not recommended that a couple interacts too much as this is a “cooling off” period from your unpleasant situation. During this time, communicate only when extremely necessary. Otherwise, utilize this time to think and decide what you want to do. Also, both you and your significant other should agree on the fact that you should not gossip about your marriage problems but have only 1 or 2 close friends, or close family, with whom you can discuss.
Many marriage counselors are of the opinion that couples should date one another during a trial separation instead of other people. Also, intimacy should be discussed openly so clear boundaries are set. This, counselors believe, may lead to your relationship becoming healthy again.
Final take away
Lastly, both of you should agree not to go for formal proceedings until the trial separation period is over and you both discuss what you want. Also, during this time, respect each other’s privacy.