For couples considering a trial separation, their relationship is obviously in choppy waters. Wanting to live apart from your spouse, even temporarily, is a good indicator of the fact that you foresee divorce as a very real possibility. But is separating the right choice? Sometimes a separation can help you both to get your priorities in order, which will in turn allow you to work on saving your marriage. But usually not.
Statistics show that separation tends to lead to divorce. So if this is the direction you are headed in, here are a few points to think about first. Here in Michigan, you don’t need courts or a judge to separate temporarily. However, if you want to pursue custody, child support, spousal support or other similar issues, and if you two cannot agree on those issues, you might need court involvement. Referring to the court, that’s the Oakland County Circuit Court also called the 6th Judicial Circuit Court. They are located at 1200 Telegraph Road in Pontiac, MI. The word involvement means that your attorney can file a Complaint for Separate Maintenance. That’s what we call a legal separation in Michigan. It’s Separate Maintenance.
Clarify your goals
If you and your spouse have agreed to a trial separation, you need to be very clear with each other about what it is that you’re hoping to achieve. Are you using this time to work on your marriage? Or maybe to work on yourself? Or are you hoping to sample freedom and see if a divorce is the right solution for you?
Give some serious thought to what it is you want out of this time before you pursue it. Once you’ve decided what you’re aiming for, commit to working towards that goal. Otherwise the separation is pointless, and will lead to almost certain divorce. Also, you should know going in that there’s always a risk that the outcome may be something other than what you hoped for. Think about whether you want to have a marriage counselor help you through this process. Your attorney can give you recommendations for marriage counselors.
Be Completely Honest
This is critical. You should not claim to be moving out in order to work on your relationship, when in fact you’re actually hoping to have more freedom to pursue an affair. You also can’t claim that time apart will help you to heal, when in reality, you’re simply trying to soften the blow of a pending divorce. If this is going to work, you need to own your motivations.
Be honest, both with yourself and with your spouse. If you want out, and you are completely unable to see your marriage as fixable, then go. If you want to work on saving your marriage, however, then you need to focus on what’s best for the relationship as a whole. Either way, you must be completely honest and upfront so as not to drag out a painful separation unnecessarily, or prolong the misery of a divorce. Honesty is always the best policy. Some marriage counselors also double as divorce counselors.
Consider All The Risks
Very few relationships survive a trial separation. Sometimes this is because that first taste of freedom is too hard to give up once you’ve had it. Sometimes it’s because the tables turn entirely – people leave hoping to work on their marriage but discover that being alone suits them better. Or worse, you end up discovering that you miss your spouse, but they’ve discovered during this time apart that they no longer want to be married to you..
Trial separations are rarely easy, and often result in divorce. If you and your spouse are considering going your separate ways for a while, make sure that you think it through first. Talk it over and discuss what you both want out of the separation, both in the long term and in the short term. Then decide if you are willing to risk losing your relationship. Because, as history has proven time and again, this is a very likely outcome. Having a counselor or therapist involved usually helps.
If you’ve decided on a divorce or even on Separate Maintenace, or simply want to know what is involved in the process incase that’s your ultimate decision, call The Kronzek Firm at (248) 479-6200. Our highly skilled and compassionate family law attorneys can explain every step in the process and answer all of your questions about separating, divorce, child custody, alimony and any other concerns you may have about the law here in Michigan. We have spent decades helping the people of Oakland County and the surrounding areas with their divorce-related concerns. We can help you too.