Marriage Separation Advice: 5 Things To Avoid In Your Separation

marriage separation advice for menBy Jennifer Paine

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

In 2011, the news of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “love child” glossed over a far more common and problematic issue that you are more likely to face – a trial marriage separation.

“My wife wants to separate but is not ready for a full divorce,” is something I hear frequently. Unfortunately, divorce and separation often go hand in hand.

When clients come to me for questions regarding legal separation advice, I tell them a trial separation is a break – from your spouse, from “it all” – to determine whether you are just going through a low point in your marriage or you should divorce.

At first blush, it sounds like a good idea. No one wants to spend money divorcing needlessly, particularly when money is in short supply to begin with.

But, if you are not careful, that separation to help you determine whether to divorce can snowball into the biggest problem in your divorce.

There are some rules of separation in marriage that you should follow if this is something you are going to pursue. Think of this as a marital separation checklist on what you should not do during your trial separation.

1. Don’t publicize it

Tell someone you are getting a divorce or separation, and suddenly everyone has something to say. You’ll hear horror stories, preaching, “legal separation advice” (c/o Google), etc., most of them inaccurate or exaggerated.

And that means people are talking about you and your spouse. Like the game “Telephone,” what you say will come back to you contorted, and your spouse will have heard it, too. That often perpetuates a divorce.

So leave your Facebook status alone, skip the public statement and keep to yourselves.

2. Don’t move out

Move out of your home, and your chances of retaining even equal time with your children or your precious belongings are slim to none. Moving out before the divorce is final is listed by Joe Cordell as the No. 1 stupidest mistake men make when facing divorce.

Those news stories about couples living in separate homes and sharing time with the kids are just that – stories. It rarely happens in real life, and it probably does not happen much in Hollywood life, either.

To a judge, you look like the parent who gave up and the spouse who evidently did not care much about the baseball card collection to take it with you when you left.

Judges rarely care how helpful you thought you would be by letting your wife stay with the kids or how much you intended to return to retrieve your belongings. Your wife, who’s angling to keep the kids and your stuff, will make you out to be nothing more than an abandoner.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

3. Don’t maintain the status quo

You might agree to pay the bills for your wife while you rent a one-bedroom apartment during your marriage separation, but you are fitting yourself for disaster if one of you files for divorce later.

For one thing, if she really needs a job, you give her no incentive to get one. Moreover, by continuing to pay the mortgage, the insurance, the utilities, the grocery bill, etc., you are making her case for alimony. You send the message that you can support her, even if you can’t, and are comfortable doing it, even if you aren’t.

The better thing to do is determine, before you separate, who is responsible for what bill, put the bill in that person’s name (if possible), and follow-up to make sure the bill is paid.

4. Don’t date just to date

A trial marriage separation is supposed to be a time to discover what you want, but that does not mean you have to test out different women.

Take this time to reflect on your marriage and your goals, and leave the casual dating alone. Otherwise, you could end up with your own “love child” and an unintended reason to get a divorce.

5. Don’t delay the inevitable

The separation should be a short time to reflect. Believe it or not, many go on for years, both spouses waiting for the other to make the first move. The problem is, neither is happy, and one spouse (probably you) is stuck paying the bills.

Although, in some states, your separation agreement before a divorce begins will not replace an agreement to divide your property and debts made during your divorce, it is a good precedent.

To schedule an appointment with a men’s divorce lawyer to rev, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

Read Related Article: “Legal Separation Advice: What To Do During A Separation

Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

End of Content Icon

47 comments on “Marriage Separation Advice: 5 Things To Avoid In Your Separation

    My wife and I have been married for 32 years. Recently she has mentioned that she wanted to find herself.She recently had gastric bypass surgery and she has been trying to get fit. She has decided that she likes to go out with her friends after work for a drink and she believes that she doesnt have to let me know when or what time she may come home. I was also recently told by her that we are only married on paper and that she still loves me…I’m confused. She did also mentioned when I asked her does this mean that she can date and al she said was that she wasnt looking for anyone,she just wants to have her space and to do what she wanted to do without having to answer to anyone. Not sure what to do next?

    I’m married for 28 years and with her for 31 years the last year she has said she wants to do things but does it alone. When I ask we’re would you like to go so we can get away for the weekend. She says I’m doing it alone i don’t need you. She is taking our 27 year old child on a cruise with her. Through Christmas and going to a new year’s party alone. She is very financially has large money in her own account. I was injured 10 years ago with a very small income a month. When i ask her do want a devorce or plit up she says i don’t have to answer that she’s 54 I’m 52

    We’ve been married for 22yrs, together 28 and known each other since the 8th grade we’re both 51.
    We have a Freshman in high school and a 28 yr old . My husband began drinking vodka 12yrs ago. For the last 8yrs its “everyday” all day when the morning alarm goes off.
    Our boys, his best friends, family, and myself have all confronted him about his drinking to no avail, even though he admits to drinking 4gal a week! He drinks while driving, with his son in the car, attending school events, and on 3 hour commutes to and from the airport. If he’s in the car he’s drinking.
    I suffer with chronic back and leg pain with nerve damage from an injury for the last 26 years and can’t work. I wish I could I loved my career and miss it. I don’t qualify for disability benefits because of my husband’s salary. I feel trapped with an a stranger most days, I didn’t marry an alcoholic. I feel like an ultimatum is the only way I can save my husband and our marriage. We do love each other. I just can’t live with an alcoholic anymore and I’m fearful of the impact its having our 15yr old. Do I qualify for a legal separation?

    Me and my husband been separated for two months he still pays the bills he still saying he will support me and the kids by paying for everything so don’t know if we are heading for divorce or it’s just he needs time it’s hard to tell he also doesn’t want me texting or calling him for anything

    Im going throught the same thing. He still lives here and we talk good. We wont hug or kiss. I want to work things out but he says he needs time. Im just scared he wont want to be with me.. what happened with you and your husband?

    Im going though a seperation also my wife and I were married 18 years out of the blue she not happy and does not love me anymore. This was not the way i though we end up but thats water under the bridge. anyway i supplies her with a cashiers check and told her to find a place so she could be happy at. She been moved out over a week . Divorce Sucks Just Saying

    Thanks for the advice for going through a divorce. My brother is going to go through one soon, and I know he’s going to have a rough time. I’ll tell him to not move out until the divorce is final, like you mentioned. Hopefully, he can get some help to make the process go by as fast as possible.

    The universe of online dating is loaded with guys who are urgently searching out any appealing girl. These guys give no test to women and accordingly women discover them exhausting. So on the off chance that you need to stand out enough to be noticed online and even make them pursue you, demonstrate dislike the others. Demonstrate her that you’re not willing to make due with any lady; you’re out there searching for the correct lady. Demonstrate her that if a girl will prevail upon you, she must be exceptional.

    When separating, it is natural to start thinking about your own financial situation, not that of your soon-to-be ex-spouse from whom you are moving away. But it is important to look at the family’s finances as a whole and to work out a plan that each of you, and if you have them, your children, can realistically live on

    Hi I am separated from my marriage because of infidelity however we have a 2yr old daughter together I don’t get to see her because she needed her car fix I help her 2 times but didn’t help my self at all by putting a tag on my vehicle should I ask her to help me now since she put a charge of 2 months of 100 a week which adds up to 800 but yet I spend 1100 on her car if I don’t pay her that 800 late fee I won’t see my daughter in other words her sister and mother jus now got legal if she pisses me off she can become legal does it make any sense

    I get cheated on 20 days later I get evicted by my wife and uncles which she never notify the property till I pay it off she plan it good she said except the baby was not in her plan she wanted to become legal by getting married I was born here in Florida also the baby now she hides my daughter blocks me completely from her phone where no communication or where abouts of the baby only when I hand her money she wants it cash but I do in money orders

    I believe my baby only loves and cares for both of us yes I wish I could have my baby one night at least I only have her hours when she ok it I never have the time to tale her out the county shopping or anything this is not fair at all since December 26 I don’t wake up with my baby beside me I have been missing on alot of her stages now my wife only wants to see me give her all my money and use my baby to do it if not I don’t see her

    No matter what stop helping her. I’m a woman I’m a mother of children. And I would want the mother to have the best. But this woman is using you terribly. Stop stop stop. And no matter what money you give her it’s not going to make her give you more time with the baby or anything else. You’re screwed. Stop giving her money to keep screwing you over.

    This is a wonderful relationships talk, I also have a very burning question over almost breaking marriage for thirteen years. I ask for advice.

    Can you still divorce if you and your spouse have been sleeping together during the divorce process in texas under the no-fault grounds if one spouse don’t want the divorce

    I had a family matter that needed to be dealt with quickly and the No1Solicitors dealt with it and I prompt and very professional manner. And they got me the outcome I needed.

    My sister is looking at getting a divorce soon. We want to make sure that she is able to do everything in her power to make this a smooth process through her separation. I hadn’t thought about how moving out before the divorce could cause the judge to see that parent as the one who gave up and left their belongings. We’ll be sure we help her find the right attorney for her case and that she does these things to help everything go well.

    That has been the main advice I’ve been given through this whole process. Trial Separation:4 months. Actual Separation: has been 5 months so far. And my children are suffering to the point where I’ve had to send my 12 year old away for a few days because of Panic Attacks from hearing us argue. And we ARE NOT fighters or loud arguers. It’s just the fact that he sees us fighting for once and it’s too much. I’ve wanted so many times to take my kids to a healthier environment. But he is the best dad I could ever have imagined. I do not want my kids away from him. But the way he treats ME. Is hard to handle and possibly hard on them. Because of mistakes that I made while mentally unstable for a year. Leading to him not forgiving me, or even trying at all. With a therapist, through talking. Just done period. He quit 11 years of marriage like that. So it’s hard that the kids don’t understand and I don’t want them brought into ANY of this.

    Maybe by you telling him that if it was because of a reason that you cheated that you sound unaccountable. You are not making yourself accountable for the mistake. Maybe he won’t forgive you for that reason. Or maybe he just won’t forgive you. But you have to start out with actually being accountable for the mistake don’t give an excuse. Say you did wrong and you know you did wrong. Ask for a second chance.

    Most couples go through spells when they’re disconnected and can’t see eye to eye; it happens and it’s nothing to worry about. But when you realize that’s become the norm rather than the exception, it may be time to think about other options.

    I and hubby have been separated for almost 3 yrs now. I moved out and I m staying at my parents house. I think we got married for da wrong reasons. We be got 3 kids together. BT I don’t love him anymore. I m thnking of dirvocing him.

    Love grows all we have to do is let it you married for the wrong reasons your divorceing for the wrong reasons all your doing is compounding the problem. God is love let him fill you with His love that you may be able to truly love your husband

    I agree with you. God doesn’t promote divorce. Couple must learn that we differ we must not let problems to control us we said to each other we love one another and why if problems come we start hatting each other. We must face problems so that we can be strong I personally I don’t support divorce

    I’m sorry to here that but love is not a feeling you get but it’s a choice you make every day. You can choose to love him or not but it is just that a choice. No one gets married for wrong reasons, it’s an excuse to justify your feelings. If more people took the oath they swore to hold when they got married, people wouldn’t be so okay with breaking it. Our world is becoming horrible and evil but what do we expect when our main support system for our youth is being ripped apart. There is a huge problem in America and divorce is not what we are suppose to do when things get tough. Your suppose to stand for your marriage and take control of your lives. They want you to believe it’s fine to get divorced because of the one thing that controls so many, greed and money. Think about it, marriage is money and divorce is a lot of money but how can they make money if you all decide to stop this epidemic. Choose to stand with your partner and learn what true love is. Love is what Jesus did when he was hung on the cross for all our sins not that feeling in your stomach. That’s only lust and excitement. Not true love as its a choice to stand with them no matter how hard times get. The next marriage will bring the same feelings and the same result if you don’t change your perception of love and learn what true forgiveness is. Be quick to say sorry and if your mad take a walk before you talk.

    Beautifully said. Unfortunately my soon to be ex-husband of 6 years gave up. We did 1 year of couples therapy, if anything I feel like it helped me so much and I changed. But for him, it made him realize or think this is not what he wanted. That he was too young and it happened so quick (when we got married) so he was stuck in a confused stage which made him disconnect and distance himself from me. We have a beautiful daughter and it makes me sad that this is happening. That he’d rather separate us, pay child support, etc than to just learn to love again. He is a great dad but not a great husband.

    Naive, I’m a Christian who stood by the word and my husband / He cheated on me with everyone, my friends, colleagues, child minder, spent every dime we had on himself and his whims, ruined our business, beat me and made me feel like dog dirt on his shoe – more sinned against than sinning itself. You want me to stick to my vow and give that example to my girls? So they grow up and get beat and cheated on?
    Nic – you may never have known what it is to truly forgive and to love because the best thing I ever did for my husband was say “i’m leaving you to face your maker alone” – he’s almost developed a conscience when he watched us leave with nothing, rather starve than suffer. he’s back to his lying cheating ways but that’s his business now, not mine. Only God can safe him. Satan wanted me in that marriage. God gave me the courage to leave it. God blessed our divorce and I don’t think you auta be using Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross as reason for women and men to stay in abusive marriages when they can get out from under Satan’s influence and live a Godly Christian, wholesome, happy life.

    This is a truly sad story, I’m very sorry this happened. I want to ask you a question, if it would be ok. Were you both born again, church attending, Bible reading… Christians when you met, got married, shortly after being married or none of the above? The man you married doesn’t sound very faithful or submissive to the word or Spirit or God. Thank you for any reply.

    These are some great tips for going through a divorce. I like how you said that it’s best not to tell a lot of people about it. Like you said, everyone will have someone to say about it!

    Your thoughts on not moving out really make sense to me. I can see how that act could be twisted to one’s favor. My friend may get a divorce soon. He’s not too sure how to act in the home anymore, sadly.

    Recently my kids mom does no want to try anymore my mom owns the house and it basically came down to this she says move out or I’ll file child support. So my aunt lives next door and I’m thinking of moving next door to give her space. And I still see my kids every day. I pay the rent and she pays the other bills what do u think? We are still friends for now and she does want me to see my kids I am a great father and my kids love me

    My Husband send me mom house by force i was not interest to go my mom house and when I want to come back husband house he not ready to accept me. He want to end relationship and get marry some other girl and they always asking me get marry some else. I want lead with him life not ready to give divorce.I don’t know what to do??? Plz try to help me.

    my son has been in the military for four years. he has been married for almost two but separated for most of the time. is she entitled to anything.

    I was quite intrigued by the suggestion not to move out. I didn’t even realize that moving out could cause the possible loss of all your possessions, I just assumed that moving out would give both parties more time to figure things out. My little brother recently decided to separate from his wife for a time and in that decision also moved out. Though things are looking up for their relationship I sincerely hope he won’t be caught in a tough situation because of a rash decision.

    Hello, is good I inform all the men and guys out there, that sometime we all make mistakes in our relationship and made our relationship to be broken and is also our responsibility to make it work by seeking for solution to it, I’m very happy today to tell you little of my relationship problem, i cheated once on my wife and she caught me and she was ready to end our marriage because i truly love her i quickly seek for solution to stop her that is when i came across Dr.Ekpen temple who has help so many people restore their broken marriage and relationship i also contact him today my marriage is restored, I’m going to drop his contact so that does having the same issues can contact him for solution on (ekpentemple @ gmail . com).

    I really love your tip about not moving out. My sister and her husband have been thinking about getting a divorce for the past few months and I think that spending time with the kids during a difficult time such as that is really important. You want to make sure that the relationship with your kids stays strong and loving.

    My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years ; this is the second marraige for both of us. We have no children together and the only bills we have together are rent , car payments and insurance, and utilities. Since he lost the last two jobs he was employed with, he was forced into an early retirement. With his monthly income less than $1000 monthly, and my job being the sole income, I have been paying the majority of the bills in addition to my own (he pays the car payments and his own bills) as well as raising my two youngest sons . The majority of our marriage has not been a happy one for one reason or another, and with him being home constantly , things have just gotten very much worse. After this last fiasco, I am going to suggest, ask, for a separation. We are both old enough to understand how precious life really is (he is in his 60 ‘ s and I am in my mid 50’s) and it is not fair to either of us to keep going on like this. I need to know what my rights are in case of a legal separation/divorce.

    We live at her mother’s house, ,she took the kids anfd lefyt for 2 days, wants me out. her mother toll me to leave and took keys from me. i am at my parents home, her mother call and told her she could come back, i was gone and can’ get back in.


    Hello i have a situation . My wife of 9 yrs wants a unofficial seperation . She wants me to move in with my brother (basement) while she moves out of her parents two family house and move in a apartment with our two youger girls , while she’s living the dream being on her own she wants me to foot the bill and pay for her truck witch is in my name . What do you think i should do? Thanks Chris

    We live at her mother’s house, ,she took the kids anfd lefyt for 2 days, wants me out. her mother toll me to leave and took keys from me. i am at my parents home, her mother call and told her she could come back, i was gone and can’ get back in.

    Right or Wrong Decision?
    I am retired military and now a disabled vet in NJ. I was told this state doesn’t have a “legal separation”. We were married 24 years 10 months and she decided over a year ago that she wasn’t happy and needed a break. She moved out leaving me and our three kids, aged 17 (High School Jr) and 16 (Twins) who are now 18 and 16, respectively. She has publicized it, attempts to maintain the status quo by agreeing to continue paying the electric bill (which is the only bill she’s ever paid for the house), buy groceries (which she claimed was $300 a week when we talked splitting bills and was one of the reasons why she couldn’t pay anything else), and cook for the kids once in a while. I have enough money to get by but not enough for a lawyer. I don’t want to lose custody or end up having to pay her alimony or child support so I planned to remain married until the twins are 18. However, I’ll do what I have to do if she files for divorce. Am I hurting my kids with this decision?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.