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Divorce and Separation

When to Consider Separation Instead of Divorce
By Susie and Otto Collins

It's clear to Liz that things will never be the same again between herself and her husband Doug. He has had two affairs over the course of their 10 year marriage.

The trust between them is practically non-existent.

At the same time, Liz panics whenever she thinks about filing for divorce. She has been a stay-at-home mom to their 4 kids for the past 8 years.

She can't even imagine how she'll find a job that can support herself and the kids, plus provide health insurance and other benefits for them all.

Liz has literally been having panic attacks whenever anyone even mentions the possibility of a divorce.

To make matters more confusing, Doug has ended his latest affair and has entered counseling. He keeps promising Liz that he will change and that he
wants to make it up to her.

She doesn't really believe him, but a part of her wants to.

For some people, the decision to get a divorce is clear. They feel like they have granted as many second chances as they can and that they've tried all of the techniques and strategies out there for couples.

These people have had enough, are ready to move on and are sure that divorce is the next best step for them.

There are also people who are far less certain about what the next best step is for them.

For this second group of people, there may be an internal push-pull going on that is preventing a final decision from being made.

We're not here to criticize those who are certain or to judge those who are uncertain.

Making the decision to end a marriage or to remain in one that is troubled is not to be taken lightly. It requires introspection and clarity.

Sometimes, in those cases where there is confusion, mixed feelings and particular extenuating circumstances, obtaining a legal separation is a wise move to consider.

Here are just few reasons why...

You need space from your spouse for an extended period of time.

Maybe your spouse betrayed you in some way, such as having an affair, and what you want most of all is to get away from him or her. You aren't in a frame of mind to make a final decision to get a divorce.

Of course, you can always stay with a friend or family member for this period of time without considering yourselves separated.

If you need to be away from your spouse for an extended period of time, however, you may want to separate.

Note: You can informally separate to get space, but your assets and property will still be jointly held as if you were married. A legal separation involves court approved agreements on how you will divide up debt, assets, property and how child custody will be handled.  Please consult with a reputable attorney for more information about legal separation.

You need time to resolve your differences, but from separate residences.
Perhaps you are hesitant but still open to a possible reconciliation with your spouse. You two might have agreed to enter couple's counseling and learn trust rebuilding and communication strategies.

Even as you've agreed to this, you might not want to be formally married during this interim time. You may especially want your own space to process what's going on.

Your religious beliefs forbid divorce.
Some churches or religions prohibit divorce, but do allow legal separation.

For people who follow such faiths and want to continue to do so, this may be the most appealing option rather than either remaining in a troubled marriage or risk losing one's religious community.

You want to be covered.
The fact of the matter is, if your health insurance, spousal military benefits or other financial (or other) supports for your well being and livelihood are linked to your spouse, you may choose to separate instead of divorce.*

Specific policies will be different depending on the company, governmental entity or initial benefits agreement, so do your research.

But, in many cases, this will allow you to continue to
share in the coverage or particular benefits offered by your spouse's work even after the two of are living separate lives.

You just aren't ready for a divorce.
For even those who are very sure that they want a divorce, there can be moments of doubt.

You need to tune in to you and keep listening to
what you want.

If you consistently hear that you are just not sure, perhaps separation is going to feel like a more certain step to you than is divorce.

For now, you might decide that you are most comfortable gaining distance having more independence from the relationship while remaining married.

Be aware that even though you two will still be married, the marriage agreements that you made may not be upheld.

With a separation, it is vital that the two of you discuss what each of you expects from the other.

You might employ a mediator or counselor to help you with such communication and an attorney to assist you with legal agreements.
*Susie and Otto Collins are NOT attorneys. They are not and will not give advice that is legally binding. Consult with an attorney who is skilled in the areas of divorce and separation before making any final decisions.

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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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