5 Reasons for Trial Separation Before Starting Your Divorce

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted August 8, 2019

Divorce is a big step when you have built your life with someone and thought it was forever. It’s best to take some time to think about whether you’re seriously pursuing a divorce or if the relationship can (or should) be salvaged. 

Up until 2016, the Illinois legislature required couples to wait for two years or six months in order to have an uncontested or no-fault divorce approved by the court. This was usually used as a trial separation period, forcing couples to consider their irrevocable differences before allowing them to divorce. Fortunately, the new laws in 2016 have changed that requirement and a waiting period is no longer necessary for an uncontested divorce in Chicago.

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But you should consider a trial separation before moving forward nonetheless. This change in the legislature takes the courts out of your personal separation process, which is a good thing. Ultimately, the change in legislature gives you more freedom to separate in whatever way is best. But there is also a great deal for couples to learn through trial separation that can be beneficial to each person individually, it can smartly inform your final divorce terms, and it can give you a strong basis for your relationship in the future. Whether that future is together, separate, or co-parenting peacefully.

Today, we’re here to highlight five very good reasons why Chicago pre-divorce couples should consider trial separation before seeking a divorce even though it is no longer legally required by the state. 

1) A Preview of Separating Your Living Expenses

Of all the emotional and lifestyle implications of a trial separation, by far the most useful thing you will experience is the financial preview. So many couples are taken by surprise at how expensive it is to live alone, or how much trouble it is to build a second household after separating your original shared life. 

The expenses for establishing a new home alone are staggering if you don’t expect them. New dishes, silverware, and kitchen essentials. New chairs and tables, a new bedframe, or a new home office setup may only be the beginning of truly separating your lives. And it’s best to deal with these things while you can still shake out the kinks and freely share resources if needed. Not to mention the ongoing cost of two sets of rent and bills.

A trial separation will give you a sample experience of what your future divorce will be like financially in many direct and practical ways.

2) Separate Your Belongings Before the Asset Divide

Divorces, even uncontested divorces in Chicago, often degenerate into a fight the worth of assets versus “your stuff” and “my stuff”. Each separating spouse will naturally want the furniture they came with, any precious personal keepsakes, and items they bought for themselves or primarily used. Trial separation gives you the chance to let these things shake out naturally.

As one spouse moves out, they can discuss the items the expect to take and the items they’d like to take. You can talk about emotional and physical ownership and even bring up a fair splitting of assets, but before lawyers start actually dividing your possessions with dollar signs. Trial separation done right can prevent fights over keepsakes ‘held hostage’ or the threat of selling favorite high-value items.

Instead, the effort of establishing two households will help you sort out most of these issues naturally like the two sensible adults that you are. 

3) Discover if Absence Really Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

Modern couples may be more confident and capable in divorcing, but the original purpose of trial separation still plays an important role. If you’re considering divorce mediation in Chicago because of emotional hurt, growing apart, or recent marital troubles, you may discover that separation puts things in a unique new perspective: You might find yourself really deeply missing your spouse.

Trial separation gives you the space you need to calm down, to reflect on what has happened, and decide how you really feel about things without the pressure or emotional tension of your spouse being nearby. Sleep alone in your bed, do your daily routine without your spouse. Go to work and come home and make dinner without them.

If you feel wonderful and free, that’s great. But if you start thinking that your problems aren’t so big and that they really are your one true love beyond all the mess, don’t dismiss these feelings. Ask your spouse if they feel the same and are willing to try counseling. Or even use the separation to court each other attracted strangers again. Sometimes, absence really does make the heart grow fonder and you will realize you’re not quite ready to pull the plug on partnership after all.

4) Explore Who You Are Living Alone

And if you don’t immediately miss your partner, take some time to enjoy living alone. Many of us shape our personalities and thoughts around our spouse; so much that you lose sight of who you might be without them. The decisions you would make trying to become separate from your spouse may well be different from the decisions you would make for yourself living completely alone and independent.

Use the trial separation time to explore yourself and discover who you really are. This year, at your current age, without your spouse, you might be a quieter or more social person. You might care more about trying new recipes than fighting, as you emotionally start to move on. You might realize you don’t want to ‘keep the car’ because you want to buy a new one. You might realize all sorts of things don’t matter to you anymore or matter much more now that you’re alone.

With trial separation, you can approach the process of divorce mediation in Chicago with a clear head and a stronger idea of what you really want from the future. Not just what you want from separation, which you have already achieved.

5) Reach Personal Resolutions Before Taking Legal Action

Finally, trial separation allows both spouses to reach some personal resolutions before lawyers and legal documents get involved. If there are something you want to get off your chest now that you’ve had time to think about them, do this now. If, on reflection, you have some apologizing of your own to do; do this now. Let your feelings and interactions shake out how they will during your separation.

If you were going to fight during the divorce over petty household separation, take care of it early. If you were going to cry and reconcile and then decide to divorce anyway, get it all out of the way.  Trial separation can allow you to go through all the regret, sorry, anger, and final apologies before it’s time to talk about practical matters with lawyers and paperwork. Get your emotions out of the way during trial separation so that your uncontested divorce in Chicago can be a fast and clean experience when both of you are ready.

Uncontested divorce here in the state if Illinois used to require six months to two years of waiting or separation before you could get court approval. Now, you have full control over whether you use a trial separation period and how you use the time before you’re ready to initiate a divorce. And when you are ready, trial separation will have helped you to have all your priorities, emotions, and personal resolution dealt with so that you can benefit from an easy and affordable divorce mediation in Chicago to reach the best possible final terms for everyone involved.

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