UNITED STATES—Trial separation allows for a break from the marriage routine. It can help spouses decide on their future together or apart. If both consider the trial separation as an option, it is a good sign that they are at least open to giving marriage a second chance. Trial separation does not always lead to divorce. Sometimes it ends in a stronger marriage than before.

Trial Separation vs. Legal Separation

These two terms are often confused. For a married couple considering their future options, it is important to understand the difference between these two forms of separation.

Trial Separation

This is a form of informal agreement formed between spouses. It does not involve any judges, lawyers, or legal obligations. The spouses agree to live apart for a set period. During this time, each of them will consider their thoughts and feelings about the issue at hand. At the end of the period, each spouse will share their conclusions.

Even if there are no legal documents involved, it would be highly beneficial for an agreement to be formed regarding the trial separation. To maximize the effects of spending time apart, both parties should be on the same page. Think about what you would like to gain from this, and learn about your partner’s expectations, as well. Also, outline the dos and don’ts related to separation. You can put the main points on an unofficial written agreement.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is similar up to a certain point. A couple agrees to spend some time living apart, but lawyers and legal proceedings are involved. The status of the couple changes as a result of legal separation. They are no longer married, but they are not divorced either.

Couples usually pick this option when there is a child involved because it ensures child support. However, other obligations can be present as well, like paying bills and custody.

Why Choose Trial Separation?

To understand what trial separation can lead to, it is important to first know what can motivate couples to try it. If a couple chooses trial separation, it is usually regarded as a promising sign in that they remain open to the possibility of reconciliation. Spouses agree to spend some time apart reflecting on their relationship.

To make this period even more efficient, consider contacting a counselor. Couples therapy can help spouses through this process and work through their issues. Going to therapy can help couples find their way back to each other or come to terms with the fact that they no longer have a future together. This can also help to keep things civil and considerate if it comes to a divorce.

Can Trial Separation Affect Divorce?

While it may not always lead to divorce, what happens during a trial separation can affect proceedings in case of a divorce. One of the most common issues that may arise is that one of the spouses starts another relationship while under trial separation. If this happens, adultery cannot be used as a reason for divorce. However, if you are in a no-fault state like California, this should not be of any concern to you. Still, events during separation might affect determining child support or spousal support.

In case your trial separation leads to divorce, contact a California family and divorce attorney before the proceedings to learn more about how your actions may impact the case.

Possible Benefits of Trial Separation?

It is important to understand that trial separation does not always end in divorce. For some couples, time apart proves beneficial and can lead to a new beginning together. During their time apart, the spouses can appreciate one another more and realize that they belong together. Some of the possible benefits of separation include:

  • It lowers the risk of filing for divorce prematurely.
  • When the situation becomes heated in marriage, separation offers time and space for things to cool off.
  • It offers a glimpse into what life could be like after divorce.
  • It allows each spouse to reflect upon the present and future as an individual.

A New Beginning

A trial separation can lead to many options. Divorce is just one of the many possible roads that the couple can decide to take. The main benefit of time spent apart is to give the relationship’s future proper consideration before jumping to action.

While she had a solid education in law, Lynda King wanted more than a job as a lawyer. She knew that people needed information and a better understanding of everyday legal matters, so she began writing articles and guidelines to educate individuals and businesses. Now, Lynda is collaborating with Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, being proud that her knowledge and writing talent are helping everyone every day.