Separation, Does It Mean
My Marriage Is Over?


No, separation does not necessarily mean your marriage is over and that you now you must proceed with filing for divorce, even though that is a common misconception.

What is it?
Separation is the disunion of a couple because of relationship breakdown that includes a physical division of the individuals with one party leaving the matrimonial home or moving to a different living space (i.e. a basement apartment) within the matrimonial home.

Do I need a lawyer?
Most people cannot wait until their divorce has worked its way through the court system to deal with big issues such as selling the family home, who gets the vehicles, who pays what bills etc. A Separation Agreement can establish guidelines for child support, child support and child access as well as the division of assets and debts. If you live in Canada, the US, the UK or Australia, Law Depot offers Do-It-yourself forms that will allow you to create your own agreement without exhorbitant legal fees.

Estrangement in a marriage generally takes on one of three forms:
pre-divorce, trial or mediated.


Pre-Divorce

Pre-divorce is just as it sounds. One or both parties involved have no desire to repair or restore the relationship. When one party moves out, leaves to live with someone else or makes their plans to get a divorce known, a time of dissolution prior to a finalized divorce naturally results.

Writting up an agreement, in this case, is important for many reasons. It offers both parties protection with regards to legal and financial issues. It establishes a date of disunion that will be of use when filing for divorce. Working guidelines for support, child custody, child access and division of assets and debts can be established.

While it may seem there is no hope in a pre-divorce split, there is always hope with God. The hurt, pain, shame or anger may be so intense initially, that one or both parties cannot see any way of reconciling. However, when given some breathing room and a break from the constant stress to “make it work” a fresh perspective may arise allowing the parties to deal with and work out the issues that divided them in the first place. Ongoing prayer during this time for the healing of hurts and wisdom on how to proceed is essential.

Top


Trial Separation

A trial break follows the same principles as a pre-divorce, establishing the grounds for the division of possessions and debts as well as support and issues regarding the children. Again, an agreement can be used to outline those conditions.

The difference between trial and pre-divorce separation is, with a trial break, the intent is to see if both parties still want to be married or not, while with pre-divorce, the decision has been clearly made by one or both parties.

Sometimes during a trial parting, the individuals involved realize how much they miss being together and are able to get the Christian counseling and help they need to repair their marriage. The time out from the stresses in the relationship provides a better opportunity to work through issues both individually and as a couple.

Trial separations are not uncommon in the case of adultery where divorce in the Bible is permitted for the victim of adultery. This is a big, life altering decision that cannot be made quickly. The hurt and pain can be so deep that time is needed to heal and to begin to think clearly. Many who are victims of adultery can barely look at their spouse, let alone live in the same house with them, because it hurts so much. Time, and the third option, a mediated split is often needed for the victim to get their bearings again and decide if they want to salvage the marriage.

Top


Mediated Separation

The third option is a mediated break. This method has had some success at restoring marriages. Unlike the other two types, it sets out to save your marriage instead of end it and it involves a non-biased third party who acts as a mediator.

This cooling off period would naturally consist of the parties living in different locations during the specified period of separation. Issues regarding finances, children, confidentiality (who is told, who is not), time spent together outside of Christian counseling (dating each other), intimacy and anything else deemed necessary is included in a written agreement. This agreement of separation is overseen and mediated by someone outside the marriage like a pastor or Christian counselor.

While it is safe to say, mediating marriage issues and family problems has been something that those in pastoral ministry have been doing for a long time, it is fast becoming something encouraged in the secular world as well, because of the success it is seeing.

In 2005, Hilary Stout wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal called "A Time Out for Troubled Marriages: Therapists Push ’Controlled Separation’". In her article, Stout discusses the growing interest in mediating couples in an effort to save the marriage or at the very least, slow down their leap to filing for divorce.

Stout mentions a book by Lee Raffel Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage which has been instrumental at promoting the concept. Her book includes a sample contract and she shares stories of couples she has served as a mediator for in the past. Her book can be a helpful guide for you and your estranged spouse as well as the person who is serving as your mediator.

Top

Are You Separated?

Are you working to restore your marriage? What steps, if any are you taking to work things out? Share what is on your heart.

Enter The Title of Your Story About Separation

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Abandoned After just one Year of Marriage  
Out the blue.... My husband has abandoned me after just one year of marriage. He changed his number and is living in a shelter. He won't respond to any …

There is Hope 
I am here to encourage every woman that there is hope. Even when it looks grim there is hope. I have put on 30 years of marriage. I stop counting. Please …

Alone Afraid and Confused  
I was a widow after 25 yrs of marriage and 4 yrs after I thought I met the most beautiful guy. He showed me what I wanted in a relationship in the beginning. …

Newly Separated from a Narcissitic Emotional Abuser 
I have been separated for 3 weeks. I moved while he was at work and he never came looking for me. I tolerated his infidelity and verbal abuse but the last …

Abandoned 
My husband and I got married in August of 2013. I thought that our marriage was pretty good. I was happy and he told me he was also. I found a text in …

I'm so Lost and Alone 
My name is Landon . I just recently lost my job waiting tables for about 8 months. Prior to that I spent four years in the military. My first wife and …

Abandoned with 3 Kids. 
I don't know because my husband just abandoned me and 2 kids 3 months ago and decided he was done with the marriage. He presently claims he is leaving …

Shaken 
My spouse and I have been separated now for about 4 months. She has sent me noncontested papers for me to sign. I have informed her that I was not going …

Separation and Guilt  
My husband and I have been together for 15 years. We grew up together, best friends and have 3 kids together. I screwed up 6 years ago, and thought we …

Separated and Confused  
April 16 will mark our 10 year Anniversary. I am living in my parents house, sharing a bedroom with my two kids 7 & 9. My husband lives in our family house, …

Want to Separate 
I've been married for 25 years. It's been a rough marriage with my husbands sexual addiction...it has worn me down and we just seem to have no relationship. …

I Don't Know What Else To Do. 
I got married at 18. When I moved off to colloge, we were only dating and she was pregnant with my daughter. I moved her to come live with me while I went …

My Marriage 
My name is Andy. My wife and I have been married for 4 years. We had a little argument last week and she told me to leave. It's been a week. I have appologized …

Pre-Divorce ... Just a Matter of Time 
I wish I would have found this forum before now. I am a husband and my wife has filed for divorce. I was served last week. I don't know where to start, …

Depressed 
We dated for 2 years. We've been married for roughly 14 years. In 2007 she cheated on me and with another guy and told me to leave the house which I did. …

I Can Only Pray So Much 
Ok. I need help. I have been married for (undisclosed amount) years now and my wife left me 3/4s of that amount ago. At first we tried to reconcile …

Separated After 20 Years of Marriage... 
I have been married for 19 years to my High School sweetheart. We dated for 2 years before we were married. We have been together for over half of my life …

Separating After 7 Months of Marriage. Feels Like my World is Crashing Down. 
My husband and I have been together for 6 years and married only 7 months. Throughout the 6 years of dating we had a rocky relationship. There were many …

Standing 
Hi, My name is Bob. I was married (still am but separated). My wife met a guy on Facebook and flew to Washington to meet him and she had an affair. …

Facebook 
Has anyone lost a spouse because they met someone on Facebook? I lost a wonderful 10 year marriage because my wife had an affair with a guy she met …

It will take awhile for me to open up.... 
I'm not sure if my husband & I (together for 7, married for 2 years) have ever started on the right foot. It has not been an easy relationship & the marriage …

Married 2 Months! 
We were only married 2 months and we are now separated. I feel he lied to me in the beginning, he said he didn't. We both have kids from someone else. …

Been Married 8 months and We Never Lived Together! 
I have been married 7 months and it has been the hardest marriage ever. We have never moved in with each other because we live in two different towns. …

My Wife Wants a Divorce After Over 17 Years. 
My wife and I have had some difficult times throughout the years. We were separated for several months but we came back together. Now, six years later, …

Click here to write your own.

Separated and Hurting 
My husband and I are separated for a month now and I'm so emotional because I didn't want this. I miss him so much. I wish he could just come back home. …

Separated For 8 Months 
It was supposed to be like a mediated separation. But it doesn't seem to be working out that way. We have been married three years, no children together. …

A Little Over a Month and Still Separated 
My husband and I have been married for two years and he is absolutely everything to me. Unfortunately, we are separated right now and it's killing me. …

Crazy.. 
I recently separated from my wife. It was the worst advice I have ever taken from family and friends. It is heartbreaking and very emotional and there …

Never giving up 
I'm a 46 yr. old separated, father of three beautiful girls. My lovely wife and I married in a small country church in the summer of '95 before our families …

Going on 2nd month of separation 
Hi all. I have been married for nearly 10 years, but have been with my wife for almost 15. Back in April of this year, she filed for divorce. …

I had to separate due to abuse 
I married an American guy who I met on Christian Cafe online. I hardly knew him, but felt pressured into marriage and I only consented because I had left …

The Children Are Being Hurt 
I recently got separated. It took me a at least 2 years to decide to separate. However 4 months ago, I committed adultery and am still in a relationship …

Having trouble  
Hello I've been married 26 years now, and recently filed for divorce because I am tired of being verbally and mentally abused. My children are all …

Should I Continue Trying or Give Up Not rated yet
My wife and I have been married for 14 years and have a 10 year old daughter. There has been lots of arguments through the years mostly because of her …

Devastated  Not rated yet
My wife and I have been married for 11 years - we have three kids. Twin daughters who are 8 and a son who is 9. Two years ago my wife wrote me a letter …

Looking Up for Hope Not rated yet
Hello everybody! My story is little long but I hope someone will read it and give me some encouragement. I have been with my husband for 10 years but …

On Auto-pilot Not rated yet
Last fall began our four month estrangement. Mid. Oct - Mid. February. We were not able to move anywhere so we were "in home." Separate areas. …

Internet Pornography Not rated yet
After 20+ years of marriage, I stumbled upon my husband's treasure trove of porn. He had been found out before for this and was told what would result …

Separated Over 2 Years Not rated yet
My wife and I have been married for 15 years. When we met we were both carnal Christians and she ended up getting pregnant. I dont know if I really loved …

Separated Too Long Not rated yet
I have been separated four years. My husband and I have tried to reconcile 4 times with no success. When I found out about his first infidelity I chucked …

Still in Love but Separated Not rated yet
Well, it's hard to begin. We have been married for 11 years. I love her with all my heart. I gave her everything. She is...hope still will be my life. …

My Husband Left Me for Another Woman After 35 Years of Marriage  Not rated yet
I've been married 35 years. On Jan 28 my husband said that he'd been seeing a friend from his childhood that he had been chatting with on Facebook. …

Trying to Save Our Marriage Not rated yet
I am trying to save our marriage, and I ask forgiveness for the words that I have said and for becoming selfish and self-centered. My wife and I have been …

Separated for a Month Not rated yet
My wife and I have been married 9 years. We have 3 children. We have had alot of problems in this marriage ranging from infidelity to anger. This is our …

Going on 4 Months Separated Not rated yet
Like pretty much everyone who is separated there were problems and red flags before my husband chose to leave. I was struggling deeply with post postpartum …

He Took our Daughter Not rated yet
My husband came home 6 weeks ago after drinking for 6 hours and slammed me into a wall in front of our 15 year old daughter. I told him I wanted him to …

I had to Separate Because
of the Abuse and Cheating
 Not rated yet
My husband and I would of shared our 2 year anniversary on 4/24/2011. We had a fight and this time our 3 month old daughter was in the crossfire and almost …

Click here to write your own.

Return to Christian Divorce Support Online

Bookmark and Share

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.