Many couples who experience problems in their relationships choose a trial separation in the hope of having some time off and then improving their marriage. It is my experience, as a divorce lawyer, that trial separations lead to divorce. When it comes to separations, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. My experience is that absence makes the heart grow suspicious and jealous.
The biggest problem in separations seems to be the one year lease.
Most couples who separate don't have the luxury of two homes.
Typically, one person moves out of the home and rents an apartment.
For most people, this means that they sign a one year lease and
obligate themselves to pay rent for a year. As a result, the person
who moves out thinks that the trial separation will last the full
year. During this year, one person remains in the home with the
children and the other enjoys the social freedom of independent
living. The person in the home lacks the social opportunities
available to the other. The natural inclination is to consider the
apartment rented for a year as a year long opportunity to enjoy sex
with other partners. It doesn't matter if the person commits
adultery, the spouse remaining in the home will suspect that adultery
occurs on a regular basis. This attitude won't help the couple
When a couple separates, they have to maintain two households
instead of one. This will cost more money and put a strain on the
finances of the couple. In addition, the couple will talk less about
expenditures and there is an opportunity for either or both to spend
money in ways that the other spouse would not approve. This lack of
financial control can drastically increase the combined debt of the
couple which must be addressed in the event of a divorce. Just as
assets are divided at the time of divorce, debts must be divided as
well. In addition, maintaining two households and increasing the
expenses can result in a lower standard of living. The standard of
living is one factor in both property division and alimony if a
A long term separation allows the other spouse the opportunity to
hide assets. The longer the period of separation, the more money can
disappear. While one party may be trying to reconcile, the other may
be trying to improve their position for the future divorce.
A separation is the equivalent of treading water. If the parties
are trying to reconcile, the separate residence makes it difficult.
Yet, as long as they are trying to reconcile, they won't be looking
for new relationships. Their life is put on hold.
If a couple is thinking about separating, they should consider
other methods of working on their relationship. They should consider
therapy. They should also remember that without intimacy, almost
every relationship will fall apart. Many couples consult with
divorce lawyers to understand the reality of the cost of divorce and
life after divorce. For most couples, separation leads to divorce
and not improvement in their relationship.