On behalf of Cooper & Tanis, P.C. posted in divorce on Thursday, July 9, 2015.
It has been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It has also been said that we sometimes cannot make sense of problems right in front of us because we are too close to them to gain accurate perspective. What do these two aphorisms have in common, and how do they relate to family law?
Many couples struggle during their marriage – even to the point of contemplating divorce. But the idea of getting divorced can be scary, especially if you don’t know for sure that it is necessary. Therefore, in order to gain perspective and remember what it’s like to miss their spouse, some unhappy couples go through a trial separation.
Unfortunately, it is easy and common for marriage to become a routine and we often take our spouses for granted. Because a trial separation interrupts that routine and allows couples time apart from one another, it can be a valuable way to gain clarity on the strength and long-term health of the relationship.
In a recent Huffington Post column, author Mike Bushman discusses how work-related separation actually brought him and his wife closer together. They had been married for about 27 years when she got an amazing job opportunity 800 miles away. For the past year, they have had to go three to four weeks at a time without seeing one another.
When they do get together, Bushman says, everything is more meaningful. His wife admitted that they have had more “real time” together during the past year than they had in a long time prior to that. Their activities are planned, their time together is limited and they make more of an effort to express affection.
Obviously, this situation isn’t the same as going through a trial separation. Bushman mentions no history of frequent arguments or marital tension. But the principle of gaining perspective through separation from your spouse is an important one.
As we wrote in our post about legal separation, there is a distinct difference between trial separation (which involves no formal legal processes) and legal separation (which is similar to divorce in many ways). If you are wondering whether divorce is necessary, you may want to discuss the idea of a trial separation with your spouse. If you are sure that divorce or legal separation is necessary, however, please contact an experienced family law attorney to get the process started.