Marital Separation 101: Dos and Don’ts of Marital Separation
Marital separation is the process in which a married couple decides to live apart while they are still married. When a married couple separates, it is usually a great sign that divorce will be the next course of action. However, people should not view separation as the end of a marriage. There are times when a married couple needs to resolve the issues that affect their marriage or they simply need time apart from each other. If they are unable to resolve their issues during the separation period, then they may consider divorcing. Marital separation has its own pros and cons. Many people don’t take separation very seriously. Therefore, they do not take the time to understand the rules of separation. No matter how bad your marriage is, you and your partner must handle the separation in the right way. Marital separation is the time you decide whether you can save your marriage or get divorced. Here are some pros and cons of marital separation to help you through that period.
1. Do not move during the marital separation
Moving out of the house during the separation of the marriage is the worst thing you could do. Moving out of the house means that you won’t have the same time to spend with your children if you have any. It will also reduce the chances of getting your belongings back. It means that you are not ready to work to save your marriage. You may have heard stories about married couples breaking up, living in different houses, and taking the time to parent their children. You should know that those are just stories made up for Hollywood movies. It rarely happens in real life. If you decide to get divorced and appear in front of a judge, you will see yourself as the person who gave up the marriage and children because they moved. You will lose everything in the divorce agreement because the judge will side with your partner. If you are considering moving during the marital separation process, you should consult an attorney. He or she will advise you on the rights you have and the next step. You can move out of your home if you don’t feel safe staying there and you have the evidence to prove it. If that’s the case, everyone will support you in your decision.
2. Don’t make it public
Avoid telling everyone that you are going to have a marital separation. People will tend to give you tips and advice on how to go through the separation as their way of providing support. Most of the time, the guidelines are wrong and will mislead you. Telling people about your marital separation will cause some people to ask you for information about the process. Information will warp as it is passed from one person to another. In the end, it will reach out to your partner and interrupt the process of trying to work out your differences. This can lead to divorce rather than an agreement.
3. Maintain the status
This is one of the patterns that people tend to forget when going through a marital separation. You should always maintain the status quo despite being separate. If you were responsible for a certain bill, please continue to pay it since you are still married. Don’t create more problems by not maintaining the status quo. This will push any form of reconciliation down the drain. You must remember that you both have rights. If you end up divorcing, the judge will not be nice to the partner that creates financial problems for the other partner. The status quo also extends to children. Both of you should spend the same time with and support them during this difficult process of separation.
4. Seek advice
Separation from marriage is a difficult process that can be life-changing. Counseling is one of the recommended guidelines. You can even seek counseling before taking the step of marital separation. This will help you and your partner know if your marriage is broken. Seeking counseling during a marital separation is a good idea that requires the consent of both parties. Counseling will support you and give you guidelines on how to save your marriage. It will also let you know if the marriage ended and you will agree if the next step is divorce.
5. Make sure there is communication
Separation in a marriage can cause anger, hostility, and guilt between married couples. These things can cause communication between the couple to break down. Make sure you can communicate openly and peacefully during the period of separation from the marriage. This is very useful for couples who want to reconcile and resolve their marriage problems. Open communication will ensure that the couple reaches an agreement on the way forward. Avoiding communication can cause more problems and this can lead to a divorce.
6. Don’t harass your partner
The separation of the marriage can be very frustrating for the parties involved. You should avoid things that will make the situation worse. If you and your partner cannot agree on separation, do not harass your partner. Don’t make life difficult for your partner by harassing them on social media or through text messages. Never forget that you both have rights. Your partner can use text messages to take you to court for infringing on your rights. Harassment will only cause problems and prevent reconciliation from happening. It will even cause the separation of your marriage to end in divorce.
7. Don’t disrupt finances
During the period of separation from the marriage, avoid interrupting finances, especially if you have a joint account. Do not withdraw money from the account unless it is a decision of both. You will be asked to show where the money went and this will cause a breakup during the separation period. You also shouldn’t give away or sell any assets that both of you own, such as a car or house, without your partner’s consent. This will prevent the two of you from getting back together after the marriage separation. It will even get you in trouble if your partner decides to divorce and take you to court. If you have valuable things like jewelry and you think your partner wants to sell, hide or destroy them, keep them in a safe place where they cannot be found.
8. Collect your documents
Marriage separation is the time when you need to make sure that your assets and finances are in order because it could end in divorce rather than reconciliation. Gather all the documents you have such as bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements, auto insurance, life insurance, tax returns, retirement statements, trusts, and wills. This will help ease the divorce process if the marriage separation reaches that point.
9. Create healthy boundaries
One of the guidelines to follow during the separation of the marriage is to establish healthy boundaries. This can be done by deciding how to live together during the separation and how to explain it to the children if you have any. This will help you find a solution to your problems, and if you both agree to a divorce, it will be easy and friendly. In case both of you decide to stay in the marriage, both of you will know how to treat each other and not cross each other’s boundaries.
10. Accept the situation
During a marital separation, it is important that you accept that you are in this situation. It will make it easier for you to accept the outcome of the separation if you divorce or stay in the marriage. It will be difficult at first, but in the end, your emotions and your mind will be ready for anything.
11. Do not speak ill of your partner
Speaking ill of your partner during a marital separation is never a good idea. Whenever you speak ill of your partner to your friends or family, you will always come back to him or her. Your friends and family may even start to disrespect your partner, which will affect them. This will prevent future plans to make the marriage work from failing. It will create a lot of stress that will make the divorce difficult to bear.
12. Don’t be intimate with your partner
During the marital separation, you should avoid all situations that may lead to you and your partner be intimate. The separation of the marriage means that the two of you are not on good terms. Being intimate during this period will lead to further complications in the situation. First, solve the problems that are causing the marriage separation. If all goes well, both of you can go ahead and get intimate.
13. Get a good lawyer
It is important to have a good lawyer during a marital separation. The attorney will give you guidelines on what to do and know during this period. It is also good to have a lawyer in case the reconciliation ends in divorce. The attorney will have been with you during the period of separation from the marriage and will guide you on how to proceed.
14. Don’t date other people
Marital separation is a time when you and your partner need to figure out what you both need in marriage. This is not the time for you or your partner to start dating other people. This will greatly reduce the chances of fixing the marriage. It will even make you look bad in court if the two of you end up getting divorced. Take the time during the separation of the marriage to work out your problems and try to find a way out.
15. Do not prolong the separation
Marital separation shouldn’t take long. It is supposed to be a short period in which you and your partner are looking for a way forward. There are couples who are separated for years, which is unhealthy. Instead of staying in denial, just get a divorce if the marriage cannot be fixed. This is better for both parties and even the children involved. Marital separation is not something that any married couple wants to go through. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, know what to do and remember that you have rights. If you can’t save your marriage, don’t stay apart. Divorce and move with your life. It will be a good turning point for you and everyone involved.