The marital difficulties that often lead to divorce are not easily eliminated when one partner wants to save the marriage and the other partner wants out. With a typical couple, there are so many intricate factors at play that things are usually very complicated by the time they reach the stage of contemplating divorce.
However, this challenging time may also present an opportunity to save your marriage, even if your partner is currently set on divorce. That is because what has often been missing is real communication and a clear view of what is actually going on in the marriage.
Trial Separation and the Separation Agreement
When both partners wish to save the marriage, they may go to counseling. When both partners want to divorce, they go to a mediator or a divorce attorney. When one of the couple wishes to stay married and the other wishes to divorce, they can both be respected by having a trial separation and attending mediation to work out all of the issues of the separation while beginning the process of nurturing communication.
In a Legal Separation, we submit formal paperwork to the court, which details how all of the important financial and family issues will be managed. If there are children involved, it can establish the custody arrangement during separation as well. In this case, the couple formally stays married on paper, cannot remarry, and therefore can allow some space and time before working further on the next steps.
An informal version of this is trial separation (or “therapeutic separation”) with a memorandum of understanding. With a trial separation, there is no legal agreement established, but mediation can still establish all the important boundaries and arrangements for how the couple will proceed from that point. It is not notarized and does not go to the courts.
Separations may be better than heading straight for divorce, since the chances of reconciliation improve.
Each Situation is Unique
The truth is that only about 13% of legally separated couples remain together. Those statistics may not inspire a lot of hope, but we have seen every type of outcome, including the saving of a marriage because once communication is opened up, there’s always a chance that the marriage can be saved.
It is important to respect each other’s wishes, but also to be aware that during such a volatile time, feelings can, and sometimes do change. If each partner is able to communicate, there is no reason that reconciliation can’t be put on the table as one of the possible outcomes. In this way, you honor the wishes of the spouse who wants a divorce while still leaving the possibility of coming back together on the table for the spouse who wishes to remain married. After sufficient space and time during the separation to allow a review of those issues that caused rifts to fester, couples therapy could be considered as a next step, or whatever step the couple chooses. If that is couples therapy, or a trial reunion, then you may be one step closer to resurrecting, or creating, a healthy marriage.
Help Is Available at Affordable Mediation
Whatever comes to pass, we here at Affordable Mediation know you can make it through this challenging time better than before. If we can be of service in any way, please reach out to us. We are expert mediators and can help with all aspects of separation and divorce, just like divorce attorneys, only without the fighting and divisiveness that divorce attorneys necessarily bring to the situation. Give us a call to see how we can be of assistance at 602-622-2008.