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5 Mistakes to Avoid During Your Separation

Separation and divorce are different. While a separation may lead to a divorce, it’s not inevitable. Some couples realize, after a temporary separation, that they want to stay together and make it work. Others realize that, through separation, their desire to divorce has solidified.

Regardless of your situation, there are certain mistakes separated couples make that we at Hello Divorce want to warn you about. Here’s what you should not do during a separation.

1. Letting others influence you

When you and your spouse decide to separate, consider keeping this information private. While it’s good to lean on friends during tough times, your friends will almost always side with you, making their advice one-sided. This doesn’t make for an objective mindset, especially if you and your spouse have entered a peaceful separation with good intentions.

In particular, avoid posting information about your separation on social media. This is a time to keep things private. If you want outside advice, seek it from a trained professional who is objective and unbiased. 

2. Moving out

You can separate from your spouse while living at the same address. If you go this route, however, you should move into a different room and set some ground rules. 

Why do we suggest staying put? Not only is it more expensive to pay for two households it can also be seen as “giving up” on the marriage. If a judge views your moving out as a precursor to divorce and not the “trial separation” you intended, it could impact your ability to have equal time-sharing with your children and keep possession of valuable assets.

Of course, if you are in a situation where your safety or the safety of your children is threatened, the situation is different. In this case, you should separate as soon as it is safe to do so.

3. Jumping into a new relationship

If you’re separating from your spouse and hope to reconcile, don’t jump into a rebound relationship. While the attention might make you feel good, it’s temporary, and it’s only filling a void. 

A separation is your time to reflect on your marriage, your actions, and the actions of your spouse. The idea is to give each other time to reflect on the changes you could make to revive the marriage and make it a good experience for both people. If you start dating too soon, you’re likely to push your separation toward a divorce – and not an amicable divorce – especially if your spouse finds out.

4. Making rash decisions

Separation can be traumatic. You could spiral into depression or slip into a poor mental state. This is not a time to make quick and rash decisions.

It may feel good to tell your spouse it’s over. They may have pushed you to your breaking point … or the entire situation may be weighing so heavily on you, you can’t think of anything but legal separation or even divorce. It’s important to remove emotion, as much as possible, from your decision-making process. 

Think strategically during your separation. Ask yourself what you really want. Do you want to revive the marriage? Are you past that point and want to get a divorce? If the latter, could it be a cooperative divorce in which the two of you resolve your issues amicably?

Only you can answer these questions, and you’ll need time to think them through. Give yourself the time and space to make the best decisions possible. 

5. Punishing your spouse

Many separations become contentious. Sometimes, this leads to one spouse wanting to “get back” at the other. But thoughts of anger and revenge makes your decisions more emotional and less likely to be logical and strategic. Forgiving your spouse is something that will benefit you and your future relationships.

Don’t try to punish your spouse at all. Don’t get into a new relationship to spite them. Don’t threaten to file for divorce today if they don’t do what you want. Punishing your spouse, or attempting to, will only lead to a contentious and very unpleasant divorce. If you do end up divorcing, it’s best to have a mutual divorce – one where the two of you work together to resolve parenting and property issues before you go your different ways.

How do you know when it’s time to get a divorce?

Keeping the above separation mistakes in mind, we hope you use your time apart wisely to consider what you really want. Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your spouse later.

Above all, know when it’s time to get a divorce. A separation may not lead to a reconciliation, even if that’s what both you and your spouse initially hoped for. Often, separation leads to the realization that the marriage is over. Remember that this is okay – and at Hello Divorce, we provide plans and services to keep your options as affordable and stress-free as possible.

Ultimately, don’t ignore what your gut is telling you. Whatever it’s saying, figure out your best path forward, and be honest with yourself and your spouse so you can take actions that benefit you both.