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What is a trial separation?

When a married couple finds themselves in hard times, it is not always easy to know whether it is possible to right the course of the relationship or if it is time to jump ship and file for divorce. This is a perfectly normal experience, and most couples at one time or another consider calling it quits.

For those who remain on the fence, a trial separation may prove useful. Trial separations are informal, and do carry legal ramifications of their own, as opposed to legal separations. Couples who choose to use a trial separation to work through a particular difficulty or to recalibrate their relationship must understand that they are still very much married, especially in the legal sense.

For instance, a trial separation still counts as part of the marriage when it comes to acquiring property. If, for instance, a couple separates for a few months and one spouse chooses to buy a new car in that time, the new car still counts as part of the couple's joint marital property. Even in cases, where the couple does not get back together and work things out. Until one party or the other files for divorce, all the laws that govern marriage still apply.

If you and your spouse face difficult choices about your future, be sure that you understand the legal issues at hand before you enter into a trial separation, and be sure to avoid any behavior that may compromise a future divorce. If you have questions about how to keep your rights secure during a trial separation, an experienced attorney can help you assess your circumstances and build a strategy to keep yourself protected.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed Feb. 09, 2018

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