It’s difficult for most of us to wrap our heads around divorce. It’s a huge life change. Here’s what you know: both of you are unhappy with the status quo. There are too many arguments, and even worse, too many long silences. You’re miserable, and that misery follows you to work; it permeates everything you do. It’s time to discuss a marriage separation.
Rather than a means to an end… separation can be a helpful tool to stay together. –Psychology Today
5 Tips for Planning a Marriage Separation
The goal of a marriage separation is to give you both space. You need emotional and physical space to find out if a trial separation might be the fix to your damaged relationship. Perhaps your marriage separation will lead to reconciliation. It may lead to divorce.
To do it the right way, don’t make the decision to separate during a heated argument. Just like everything else, to give a marriage separation its best shot, you have to plan.
1. Set a Timeframe
“Let’s wait and see how it goes” is a very bad plan. Your marriage separation needs a timeframe attached to it. Consider six to nine months. The longer your marriage separation lingers, the harder it will be to take the next step.
2. Make Rules
You need to set boundaries and make rules for your marriage separation. For example, how often will you connect? Are one text per day and a weekly phone call enough? What about a bi-weekly face-to-face breakfast?
If you have children, you need to set drop-off and pickup guidelines for school activities and visitation. One of you may want no social media mention of your marriage separation or new living arrangement. One of you may want to date.
Dating is not generally a good idea. (This is not the time to pursue new relationships.) If you’re ready to date, then separation may not be what your marriage needs.
3. Go to Couples Counseling
This is a time when you need a neutral third party to facilitate productive conversations. A marriage therapist can give you communication tools that reinforce respect and affection. You’ll learn to manage the arguments that always hurt and never resolve anything. A mediator can help you define your goals as a family and as individuals.
4. Keep Your Finances Fair
Remember, this marriage separation is an agreement–a commitment. If at all possible, both of you should deal with finances fairly and unemotionally. Saying things like, “you want a separation? You pay for it!” won’t make your marriage separation work any better.
5. Intimacy Issues
You need to decide if you will “date” each other and/or have sexual contact. Quite frankly, intimacy with each other may distract you from your goal: to give each other space. It can also delay the resolution of your real issues and prolong the marriage separation.
When Marriage Separation Fails: Arizona Collaborative Divorce
You planned your marriage separation the best possible way, and it failed. If you still feel a divorce is needed, consider a collaborative divorce. Couples who want a divorce with dignity or who share children discover collaborative divorce is better than traditional, litigious divorce.
If you and your spouse want to minimize emotional damage while preserving your family, collaborative divorce is for you. The legal professionals at Ogborne Law, PLC can help you not only structure a legal divorce but also protect your family’s interests for the future.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.