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Is Legal Separation a Good Idea?


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Legal separation can be good for marriages depending on the couple’s situation. If both spouses are willing to work through present problems, separation can be an ideal way to process individual issues prior to getting back together. Having said that, around 80% of separations at the end of the day lead to a divorce.

When Separation Is Good for a Marriage

Separation provides both spouses time to think about their marriage and if they want to keep it going. It allows them for space to experience what life might be like without their spouse. It also provides both spouses some freedom to identify issues in their marriage. If you decide to reunite, these needs can be shared with one another and talked about. If each of you are willing and able to fulfill these needs, it can result in a more enjoyable and strong marriage. In reports of spouses that separated and filed for divorce but decided to reconcile, researchers noticed the following views:

  • Multiple attempts at reconciliation
  • Making grand romantic gestures
  • Willing to put in the work and grow together as a couple

Looking For Counseling

Separation can provide both of you a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection and spend some time working on your own things. Separation may focus the need to work on issues associated to communication, attachment, drug and/or alcohol abuse, and childhood trauma that is affecting you in adulthood. These issues can negatively influence your marriage including your relationships with others and can be highly beneficial and life-changing to rectify.

When It’s Not Good to Separate

Separation can be detrimental to a marriage when one spouse has no intention to reconcile but is leading the other spouse on. Many spouses might also be concerned about how the divorce process is going to be treated or might not even want to seek for a divorce. If you are nervous about telling your spouse, you can:

  • Talk to a counselor or lawyer for suggestions and support
  • Consider the benefits of resolving this as fast as possible
  • Be aware that the longer you wait, the more challenging it is going to be to tell your spouse

Manipulating Your Spouse

Separation should not be used to threaten your spouse, particularly if your intention is to repair the marriage. Bear in mind that a threat to separate or divorce your spouse can cause severe damage to the foundation of the relationship. If you want to keep working on it, but are displeased, think about what factors of the relationship you are displeased with. Try to phrase these in an unbiased, more commonplace way when you feel calm.

Rules for Separating

If you do decide to separate, devise with a plan with one another concerning how you both want to deal with possible reconciliation, the time limit, what to tell your friends and family members, in addition to how often you are going to need to communicate. There are no correct answers. If you both are content with the plan and can agree on what you decide is best, you are setting yourselves up for adequate communication throughout the separation. Examine the following questions to help you start:

  • How much time do you both want to spend separated prior re-assessing getting back together or going through with getting divorced?
  • Are you both okay with going to individual, and couple’s therapy to work on your own dilemmas, and your challenges as a couple?
  • How are you going to reveal the separation with your friends and family?
  • Are you comfortable attending events together, and if not how are you going divvy up our social life?
  • Are you going to be dating each other during your separation, not date at all, or considering other relationships?
  • If you are planning on seeing other people, what degree of intimacy is expected?
  • Are you going to discuss your other relationships with one another?
  • How are you going to handle communication throughout this time? Should you check in with each other, and if so, how frequent?
  • How do you plan on handling a joint bank account?

When Children are Involved

If you do decide to separate and there are children involved, just tell them the bare minimum and make sure in keeping your conversations with them age-appropriate. Don’t forget, it is totally unacceptable and harmful to a child to be placed in the middle of parental arguments and conflict. This can cause severe psychological trauma to the child, no matter their age. Know that if you do separate, you are going to both need to find a way to properly co-parent and try and not talk bad about your spouse in front of your child. If you require extra help with this, get a hold of a counselor or therapist that specializes in marital conflict or divorce.

It Takes Time to Heal

Take your time dealing with what is best for you and your spouse throughout the separation. Separation can be an enlightening experience for both of you and doesn’t always end up in divorce.


  1. Applebury, G. (n.d.). Is separation good for marriage? LoveToKnow. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from

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