Can a Trial Separation Be Successful in Saving a Relationship?

When it comes to relationship problems, you may feel like you have tried everything, but sometimes a step back is what is needed.

By Kerry Smith
Updated: December 14, 2017
couple going through trial separation

A trial separation is a concept that many people have considered, but they worry that it is simply a step towards a permanent break-up or that it won’t work at all. This is understandable, but a trial separation is a good way of getting some breathing space whilst taking a look at where the problems lie. They say a change is as good as a rest, so sometimes some time apart can help to put things into perspective.

How Does a Trial Separation Help?

When relationships become complicated and any underlying tension is brought to the surface, a trial separation can help you to have a break from the pattern of arguing and causing more problems. It provides the opportunity to think about things from afar without the emotions of either party getting in the way. It is simply the opportunity to have a bit of time and space to yourself.

To add to this, it also provides the opportunity to see how it feels to be away from the other person permanently. Doing this can help to create a new outlook on a relationship.

Making It Work

It is never a simple process because people get hurt while there are practical aspects of a relationship to think about.

Before going ahead with it, it is worth discussing it with your partner. Boundaries have to be put in place, including what the trial separation will involve and how long it will last, as well as why you are doing it. It is not done to spend time away from each other, it is about working at things from a different angle.

You Will Need to Consider:

1. The period of time you will separate for

Around 3-6 months is the recommended time, but this is down to what you think will work best. Everyone will have different ideas, so be prepared to meet in the middle.

2. The reasons for it

There will be a level of uncertainty, but you need to know exactly why you are doing it.

3. When you will meet

Regular meeting will provide the opportunity to discuss your feelings and how you are getting on. This is an important part of the process.

4. The finer details and arrangements

You will, of course, have to decide who is going to move out, while you will also need to discuss finances and bills so that everything is clear and everyone knows where they stand. Sadly, if there are children involved you will need to think about a visiting schedule. They will also need to be told what is happening; how you do that depends on their age and them as individuals, but children are often more aware of what is happening around them than you think, so honesty really is the best policy.

How It Is Done

All of the above are easier said than done, but the first thing to consider is relationship counseling, as it can be a helpful way of understanding the whole process. Counseling is also a good way of keeping in touch while the trial separation takes place, as it can encourage communication while keeping you focused on dealing with things together.

If you believe that the relationship is worth saving and there is something worth fighting for, then it is worth exploring all the options available to you before you make a final decision on whether the relationship is over for good.

A trial separation is a process that needs to be thought out and understood. The correct steps are required to ensure that the right outcome is achieved.

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors, a specialist family law firm that deals with a wide range of issues, including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships, and prenuptial agreements. Kerry has over 15 years experience in family law and is recommended by the Legal 500 guide to law firms in the UK.

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By Kerry Smith| February 23, 2017
Categories:  Divorce and Annulment

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