How to make the most of a trial separation
The decision to divorce is probably one of the most significant you or your spouse will ever make. Before they make that decision, many couples decide to live apart for a time to get some space and perspective. This is known as a trial separation.
A trial separation is a relatively informal arrangement. It doesn’t involve legal documents or attorneys. Note that a trial separation isn’t the same thing as a legal separation, which Florida doesn’t recognize.
Ground rules are important
However, with a trial separation, it’s wise to have some clear ground rules for that separation period. You need to ensure that bills are still paid, that the children are cared for and whom you’ll tell about the separation. Will you be able to see other people? How much will you still be in each other’s lives? Not sending some ground rules and having different expectations about what this time apart means can make things between you far worse.
Spending some time apart can be healthy. However, it’s not going to solve your problems. It’s typically best to begin couples’ therapy if you aren’t already in it. This can help you and your spouse talk things out in a safe space and determine where each of you can make changes to resolve your issues – if you indeed want to make the marriage work. A therapist can also help you learn relationship skills and get out of the bad habits you’ve developed over the years.
If, after a trial separation, you decide to move forward with your divorce, that doesn’t mean your separation was a failure. It simply means that you took some to reflect on your relationship and work on it and yourselves before making this significant decision. This can also help make the divorce proceed more amicably — which is always a positive.