If You're Considering A Separation Before A Divorce, Have An Attorney Help You With Parameters

A period of separation before you and your spouse consider divorcing can often be in everyone's best interests. This separation can give you a chance to work on your issues, and the space that you'll get can result in fewer conflicts in the meantime. Unfortunately, not every couple that opts to separate has the same mindset about the separation, and this can lead to further conflicts.

Instead of trying to agree what your separation will look like, consider hiring a divorce attorney who will help you both to set boundaries and other rules — and draft up a separation agreement that will serve as a guideline to this next phase of your life. Here are some parameters that you might wish to set. 

Amount Of Contact

If you have children, it may be difficult to separate and not have any contact with one another. However, you might also wish for there to be as little contact as possible. Have your divorce attorney draft up the agreement to stipulate this detail. For example, barring any emergencies, you might decide that the only in-person contact you have with one another will be once a week when you get together as a family for Sunday dinner. Breaking this rule doesn't have to mean that you'll immediately consider divorce, but it's ideal if you can both respect the agreement.

Commitment To Therapy

Many couples who choose to separate for a period of time will use this opportunity to attend marriage counseling or individual counseling as a way of overcoming the obstacles that are threatening their marriage. If you both agree that doing so may be the key to saving your marriage, you can consider setting some parameters in your separation agreement. For example, you might stipulate that you attend one session together every week and that you both pursue your own respective counseling at an agreed-upon schedule.

Financial Support

Financial support can also be a part of your separation agreement. For example, if one spouse stays at home with the children while the other works, the employed spouse shouldn't separate and keep his or her money to himself or herself. The separation agreement is a valuable way to ensure that the spouse who needs financial assistance gets it. Fortunately, if you're both committed to the separation process as a way of hopefully preventing the need to divorce, coming up with a fair approach to providing financial support shouldn't be difficult.