Divorce or trial separation?

To end a marriage is a huge decision that effects the lives of all concerned immeasurably. This is not to say that the changes experienced by all concerned need be negative in nature and in many cases a divorce has a very positive effect on the lives of the parties, particularly in cases where incessant fighting has characterised the marriage for some time.

In the vast majority of marriages that end in divorce there is always one aggrieved party or one party that was not expecting a divorce and the shock of being faced with life alone or as a single parent suddenly is a scary concept. Trial separation is not for everyone and is often a prelude to divorce and is sometimes used by couples to avoid making the important financial decisions but on the other hand can prove to be a very enlightening time, where the real financial implications of divorce are experienced first hand.

The very idea of a trial separation would be for the couple to spend time apart and attempt to reconcile their marriage and should be embarked upon for that reason. In marriages where there are children involved, separation can have devastating effects on the children including some or all of the effects discussed in the article on Children and divorce and for that reason, to separate on a trial basis should be very carefully considered. You, as a responsible parent should at all time have in your mind what the courts have in their minds, “In the best interests of the children“.

The process of planning a trial separation should clearly lay out the expectations on both parties and have a clear end date at which time the parties come together to decide whether or not to divorce or to reconcile. During the separation period, marriage counselling should be undertaken to assist in ironing out the causes of the discourse in the marriage and to help you to decide together what is in your best interests and more importantly, the best interests of the children.