Marriages are highly complex relationships. And as people and circumstances change, so does the marriage. This means that there is a lot of room between happily married and divorced.
Many people decide to separate at some point, either on a trial or legal basis. In these situations, it can be important to avoid some common missteps that could jeopardize the next chapter, whether that is reconciliation or divorce.
Not having boundaries
Whether you are cohabitating or living in separate houses, having boundaries will be crucial during separation. Spouses should consider setting rules for:
- Sharing child custody
- Paying shared bills
- Visiting or staying with each other
- Attending counseling
Discussing these and similar matters openly and ahead of time can prevent bitter fights and help individuals get what they need out of separation.
Even if you're angry with each other and almost certain you will divorce, lying or deceiving the other person can ultimately do more harm than good.
While you won't share every detail of your lives with each other, you should be honest about matters like financial issues, people you introduce into your children's lives and other details that continue to affect both spouses.
Neglecting your responsibilities
During periods of separation, people can still rely on each other for things like bill payment, child custody and financial support. Whether you have a trial or legal separation, it is crucial to keep up with these responsibilities. Otherwise, you could face consequences like legal action, loss of your home and possibly loss of parenting time if you divorce and want to share custody.
Being unclear about the date of separation
If you do ultimately divorce, the date of separation can have a critical impact on your settlement, as it can affect how the courts categorize property that is eligible for division. Make sure you are clear on when you or the other person expressed the intent to divorce or when you started living separately.
Periods of separation can give two people the space and time to reassess their relationship and their needs. However, because parties are still married during these periods, it is important to avoid these and other mistakes that can affect live after separation.