Can a Trial Separation Save Your Relationship?

Trial Seperation
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi In: Family

When a relationship begins to break down, both partners need to make some important decisions about their future either together or apart. In most cases, couples will either attempt to work out their issues or file for a divorce. However, a trial separation provides a third option that couples may not have considered. The trial separation offers a temporary legal separation to save the marriage.

Divorce can be a distressing experience for couples, therefore it’s understandable that many couples would rather attempt to fix their marital problems first. Additionally, preventing a divorce can avoid breaking up a family, and various divorce expenses.

This article will take a closer look at trial separations and whether they can save your relationship in the long run.

What is a Trial Separation UK?

A trial separation is an informal agreement of a period of time spent legally separated from your partner.

The trial separation is a step below legal separation there is no paperwork involved.

The goal of any separation is to give both parties both the space and time to work on both themselves and their relationship. This is before deciding on any future actions such as divorce.

In short, a trial separation allows for couples to spend time apart to save their relationship without influence from each other.

What are the Benefits of a Trial Separation?

  • Time to work on any personal issues
    Many relationship issues can come from personal issues that have been carried into the relationship. Separation gives both parties the time to focus on their own personal issues so they can be worked on before re-entering the relationship.
  • Provides a cooling-off period
    Trying to work out relationship issues can come with a lot of intense feelings. These feelings don’t always provide the best environment for a productive conversation. Therefore, a trial separation allows for couples to take some time to think through their feelings before communicating with their partner.
  • Helps to prevent premature divorce
    Divorce is not something that you want to rush into without considering all other options first. Trial separations can help you to stop and think through things thoroughly before you make any big decisions.
  • Gives a trial run of life apart
    A trial separation lets you trial what life will be like without your partner in it as much. You can see how you both feel living apart, allowing you time to figure out if you want your partner in your life or not.
  • Longer to work on responses to your partner
    By not being in the same space to communicate, you will have to communicate indirectly, for example, over email. This can allow both parties to think through their responses before messaging or speaking them.
  • You will still have marital benefits
    Although you are temporarily no longer in a relationship, a separated couple is legally still married. Therefore, you can enjoy certain benefits that come with marriage such as tax cuts, pensions, and health insurance. Additionally, married couples might decide to wait until their mortgage is paid off before they get a divorce and divide assets. A trial separation allows for couples to amicably split and still benefit from a marriage, even if only for a limited amount of time.

What are the Risks of a Trial Separation?

  • Chances of growing apart
    There is a chance that you will both grow apart or one party realizes that they want a divorce after a trial separation. This can make reunification more difficult.
  • The distance can only solve some problems
    If the purpose of the divorce is simply to get away from your partner, this will not solve any issues further down the line. A trial separation should be used to trial what a divorce may be like, while also allowing for self-reflection on the relationship to understand what you want from it.
  • It can be difficult on any children you may have
    A trial separation can be confusing for children who may not understand what is happening. They may believe that their parents are getting divorced.
  • Harder to keep marital issues private
    A trial separation may make it harder to keep your family life private as the separation may be noticed by your friends and family. This is because you and your partner will no longer be living together and may have restricted communication.
  • It’s not a good option if you know you want a divorce
    If you are certain that you want a divorce, then a trial separation should not be used as a short-term fix. It is best to go ahead with the divorce if that is what is desired. Our divorce solicitors can help advise you on the next steps to take if you want to be divorced.

Additional Considerations to Save Your Relationship?

If the goal of your trial separation is to give your relationship a real chance, there are some additional steps you may wish to take:

  • Seek a counselor’s help
    By enlisting a couple’s counselor or another qualified third party you can receive objective information on ways to help your relationship.
  • Be clear on your expectations for the relationship
    Talk to your partner about what you think the separation will look like so you’re both on the same page. It’s important to ask questions beforehand such as, will you go to family events together? What will you share with your friends and family? Will you still go on dates together? Etc.
    Talking about these events ahead of time can prevent problems from arising during your trial separation.
  • Decide when and how to communicate
    Similarly to the previous point, it’s important to discuss with your partner how you will communicate. Will you call every day? Will you text each other?
    Talking about these events ahead of time can also prevent problems from arising during your trial separation.
  • Start an open discussion about finances
    By living separately you may need to make plans for your money. It’s important to discuss with your partner who will be responsible for each bill. Will you maintain a joint bank account? Will you help each other out financially?
  • Establish your goals
    Before you start your trial separation, talk to your partner about your goals for a trial separation. Discussing your goals with each other sets a solid foundation to then go into your trial separation.

Should You Consider a Trial Separation to Save Your Relationship?

Trial separations are a good option for couples who may have hit a wall. This may be as a result of arguments, personal issues, or if one or both of the parties are considering divorce but are unsure about it.

A trial separation may not work for everybody, but if both parties are willing to put in the work it can sometimes assist in getting your relationship back on track. If it doesn’t then at least you can go into a divorce knowing you have tried all options beforehand.

Getting Help from Our Divorce Solicitors

You don’t have to see a solicitor, but it is a good idea for both partners to take independent legal advice if you are planning on having a trial separation. Our family solicitors can help you with the terms of your separation agreement, assuring it works for both parties.

Additionally, our family solicitors can help if your spouse breaks the agreement or starts to harass you.

Finally, a family solicitor can assure you have the financial support you are entitled to during your trial separation.

Our dedicated UK-wide family law solicitors have helped many clients across the UK through divorces or trial separations. This includes financial settlement hearings and children’s disputes. We have a long history of finding compromises that work for everyone.

Contact us today for expert help and advice.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.