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When a couple decides to live separately and apart, but not to divorce – at least, not yet – they may decide to put the terms of the separation in writing. That said, such written agreements are rare and it has been many decades since I have seen one. Moreover, as a practical matter, they have little real meaning. Think about what happens if one or both parties deliberately act contrary to the agreement. What does that tell you? I’d say it means, A) The agreement was a waste of time and money and, B) The couple is likely ready for divorce.

Such an agreement is clearly an attempt to control the behavior of the other spouse from afar. Talk about something that will generate resentment! And what’s the chance that each party decides at the same time that such an agreement is necessary? No, it will always be one spouse’s idea, dooming it from the start

If a spouse decides a trial separation is something worth trying, discuss it with the other party. It may or may not be well-received. And if it is well-received, what does that tell you? Hmmmm….

It is said absence makes the heart grow fonder…just don’t count on it. Things may well never be the same. But maybe that’s really what you wanted in the first place: The chance to start a new life.

It has been my experience that once a spouse begins looking into a divorce, that marriage is seeing the beginning of its end. But, looked at another way, divorce can be a new beginning for both people.