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5 Mistakes To Avoid During Your Separation
Moving from marriage to separation can bring a whirlwind of emotions. And attempting to navigate major life changes in a time of heightened emotions can make it hard to think clearly.
The choices you make after separating from your partner can have a long-term impact on your standard of living. And if you do move forward with a divorce, the terms of your marital settlement agreement can be swayed by your actions during separation.
The Top 5 Mistakes of Separating Couples
If you’re taking a break from your marriage, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid some of the most common mistakes people make during the separation process.
1. Moving Out
When spouses decide to hit pause on the marriage, it can feel like moving out is the natural first step. However, the decision to live separately can have far-reaching legal implications, and it is best to consult with an attorney before doing so.
If you end up moving forward with a divorce, moving out ahead of time can directly affect important matters like how property is divided and which spouse gets custody of the kids.
2. Sharing Details
It’s a bad idea to overshare when it comes to marital problems. Talking about your problems to friends and family can make the situation even worse, and venting about your spouse on social media is likely to backfire.
When you share details of your separation with others, you risk becoming a victim of “undue influence.” This means that your decisions can be influenced by the opinion of the people you share your problems with. This can lead you to keep working on a marriage you want to end or leave a marriage you might otherwise work to save.
3. Starting a New Relationship
Getting involved in a new relationship while your separation is still pending doesn’t look good to the court. Sometimes, jumping into a new relationship too quickly can even impact matters like your child custody agreement.
Legally, separation is designed as a trial period, during which spouses are doing the work to decide whether to continue to end the marriage. It’s best to take advantage of this time and use it to contemplate your marriage and determine whether it can be salvaged.
4. Making Large Purchases
A legal separation means your marriage is still in effect. In most cases, any large purchase made by either spouse is still considered marital property. This is a particular concern when one spouse is primarily responsible for the family finances or when one spouse’s income is significantly larger than the other’s.
When you’re going through a separation, a large purchase might seem like a good idea at first. Sometimes, one spouse buys a new home and moves into it. This arrangement leaves the other spouse living in the home they used to share. However, this can impact how things are divided during divorce. It’s safer to wait until after a divorce is complete before making a big financial obligation.
5. Putting off Divorce
Once in a while, spouses seek a permanent separation. This is an unusual arrangement; usually, it’s motivated by a need-based reason, like religious beliefs that forbid getting a divorce. In the majority of situations, separation is a short-term arrangement.
Proceeding with divorce can be challenging, especially when the other spouse is hopeful the marriage can be salvaged. However, if you’ve decided divorce is what you want, it only puts your finances at a disadvantage to remain in separation longer than necessary.
Don’t Get Stuck in Separation
If your marriage has been struggling for a while, finally getting to separation can bring a sense of freedom. However, separated couples are still married.
Unless practical reasons prevent you from getting a divorce, it’s best to decide what you want and move toward it by either committing to the marriage or moving forward with divorce proceedings.