Unfortunately, certain terms are used rather haphazardly by the media when it comes to divorce and other family law matters. One of these terms, “trial separation,” is frequently used in stories covering celebrity divorces and the context in which it is used can sometimes be rather misleading.
Today’s post will provide some basic background information on trial separations and attempt to debunk some of the more common myths.
A Definition of Trial Separation
Simply put, a trial separation results when a married couple decides to stop living together indefinitely. In most situations, the couple also decides to wait awhile before taking any legal action, such as speaking with an attorney.
“It’s a baby step in the direction of divorce that two partners take when they are not ready to make the decision to divorce, but are already on that path,” said New York Attorney Stuart Slotnick.
The Legal Significance of Trial Separation
A trial separation has absolutely no legal significance. In addition, it should never be mistaken for a “legal separation.”
What’s the difference?
The majority of states have a process referred to as “legal separation” in which a couple can legally separate without technically securing a divorce. All important issues – custody, support, property division – are decided in a legal separation, but the couple is not free to remarry. This option is typically favored by those who have religious or moral objections to divorce.
Texas does not recognize legal separation.
The Effectiveness of Trial Separation
Most trial separations results in divorce. However, it can be effective where the couple has children together and is willing to work together to save their marriage.
“If the parties are physically separated from each other but they are taking actions such as going to marriage counseling, or having a calendar or schedule of goals they want to reach together, then this type of non-traditional trial separation may work,” said divorce attorney Laurence Greenberg.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
- Couples Like Courtney Cox, David Arquette Who Try ‘Trial Separations’ Are Likely to End in Divorce (The New York Daily News)