Is Semi-Separating an Alternative to Divorce?

The traditional separation is changing, with more couples hopping on the trend of semi-separating, ending their relationship but still living together.

By Kerry Smith
Updated: June 28, 2017

There is a new growing trend when it comes to a couple parting ways, which is being labelled as semi-separating.This term is used when a marriage is almost over but the couple decide to live together in the same home. While the idea may seem different to traditional separation, there are a number of reasons for continuing to live together in the same home.

These reasons may be to determine whether the break up is the right thing to do for both parties, or whether it is a knee-jerk reaction after a recent argument. It may also have financial reasons as it can be expensive for both or for one party to move out of the marital home. There may also be children involved which can make things even harder for the separating couple and the idea of change may seem a little daunting for both parents and their children.

When a relationship comes to an end, the couple will slowly drift apart and the semi-separating process involves three stages prior to the couple deciding they want to divorce for good.

The Three Stages of Semi-Separating 

  • The first stage of semi-separating is choosing to stay in separate rooms. This is simple to explain to the children by using an alternative reason such as getting up early for work or the other person is unwell or is snoring. This provides both with their own space to help ease any pressures, whilst maintaining the status quo for the children.
  • The second stage of semi-separating will involve the parents taking it in turn to have the children on a weekend. This will allow them to spend time with the children on their own, so one of the parents will have to be away and out of the house.
  • The third stage of semi-separating will see the parents no longer sharing meals together and will begin leading separate lives during the week.

The Benefits of Semi-Separating 

Semi-separating does have its perks because it can be useful to help make the divorce process easier for the children as they become familiar with spending time with each parent separately.

The couple will have the ability to familiarise themselves with the challenge of becoming a single parent, helping to increase their confidence. It will also give both adults the opportunity to become used to being on their own with their children while avoiding making a quick decision to get divorced.

However, semi-separating is not suitable for everyone because it can be difficult to implement when the relationship has broken down beyond repair and there is a bad environment at home. Divorce is never nice but there is a way to make it easier for the children and that is by ensuring that they are not exposed to arguments or bad feeling between both parents. When children are aware of conflict between their parents, they can start to blame themselves for the breakdown, which can lead to emotional and psychological problems in their development in future.

There are times when disagreements that continue between the parents can damage the relationship that they have left. It is important to recognize that it is not a great choice if the relationship is abusive or if one of the adults is being mentally traumatized on a daily basis or there have been any instances of domestic violence. If this occurs, it is more beneficial for the individual and the children to be away from the other adult.

No two breakups are the same and that means that dealing with problems works differently for different couples. Therefore, spend time deciding what will work best in you circumstances and if you need it, speak with a professional.

Kerry Smith offers tips on post-holiday divorce
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| June 01, 2017
Categories:  Legal Issues

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