A trial separation can go one of two ways: It can give a couple the space
and time apart they need to realize that they truly do want to save their
marriage. Or, it can cement the fact that a
divorce is inevitable. If you’re considering a trial separation, it’s
important to fully understand the implications before separating.
What is a trial separation exactly? It’s where a couple decides to
take a break from each other by living separate and apart. During this
time, most spouses will evaluate their marriages and whether they want
to save their marriage or file for divorce.
Creating a Physical Distance
Generally, the aim of a trial separation is to create a physical distance
between the spouses. Usually, one spouse will move in with a family member,
a friend, into a hotel, or they’ll rent their own apartment. If
the couple can’t afford the extra housing costs, they may agree
that they are separated, but instead of moving into another home, one
spouse will move out of the couple’s bedroom.
With most trial separations, the couple doesn’t enter into a formal
legal agreement regarding
spousal support, asset, and debt division. A trial separation is supposed to be temporary,
but if it drags on, the couple should highly consider a formal legal separation
until they decide on the fate of their marriage.
Pros and Cons of a Trial Separation
There are both pros and cons to trial separations. One of the main pros
is they can help the couple realize what’s best for the marriage
while they’re calm and not in the middle of bitter conflict. If
a couple eventually decides to make their trial separation permanent,
they can work out agreements over child custody and finances during the
separation period, and later incorporate what’s already working
into a divorce agreement.
One of the biggest negatives has to do with child custody. For example,
if you and your spouse have two kids and a house in San Diego, but you
decide to move by yourself to Texas to live with your brother and you
don’t have a temporary child custody order in place, your spouse
could seek primary custody of your children and argue that you abandoned
your children by moving to Texas.
Another issue is debt acquired during the trial separation. If your spouse
goes out and acquires an auto loan, or charges up the credit cards, you
could be equally liable for your spouse’s new debts. In contrast,
if you filed a legal separation, new debts acquired after the date of
separation by your spouse would be his or hers alone.
Don’t Let Social Media Derail Your Divorce!
Trying to decide between a trial separation, a legal separation, or a divorce?
Contact our San Diego divorce firmto request a
free case evaluation.