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Trial separations: Are they worth it?

When someone realizes that their marriage isn’t working, their first question is often: What should I do now?

For some couples, it is increasingly common to attempt a trial separation. Unlike a legal separation, it is a temporary period where spouses spend time away from each other to decide how they should move forward. Here are a few things couples considering a trial separation should know:

Trial separations usually have two different goals

Couples typically have two objectives when they approach a trial separation:

  1. Both spouses examine their feelings, their role in the relationship and how to possibly repair the relationship.
  2. Each spouse can determine how a divorce would affect their lives.

Regardless of the goal, a trial separation is not merely a break from marriage or arguments. They often involve a significant amount of thought and work. 

Therefore, couples need to plan for a trial separation

An effective trial separation requires careful planning. So, spouses must consider the rules and guidelines of their separation in an agreement, including:

  • How long will the trial separation last?
  • How will they inform their children?
  • How will they spend time with their children during the separation?
  • How will they tell family and friends?
  • What are the living arrangements?
  • How will the couple manage finances during this time?
  • What are each spouse’s expectations from this trial?

While couples can consult with family law attorneys or marriage counselors about the separation, they do not need any legal documentation of a trial separation. That is because the couple is still legally married. Therefore, spouses still have responsibilities to their family and each other during this time.

Is a trial separation worth the time?

According to an article from the Huffington Post, most trial separations do end in divorce. If they require a significant effort but only delay the inevitable, many Kentuckians might wonder if it is worth it to pursue a trial separation at all.

Of course, every couple is different. So, trial separations are not going to work for everyone. However, they can often help individuals get a glimpse of the future and feel more confident in their decision, whether it is to work on the relationship or seek a divorce.