It often seems that many celebrity divorces (and regular divorces for that matter) are preceded by what couples like to refer to as "trial separations." What exactly are trial separations and do they have any legal significance?
Simply put, a trial separation is a decision by a legally married couple to stop living with one another for an indefinite period of time and to put any future legal action (such as consulting or hiring an attorney) on hold. It is typically the first step in the divorce process.
"It's a baby step in the direction of divorce that two partners take when they are not ready to make the decision to divorce, but are already on that path," said Stuart Slotnick, a New York attorney.
More importantly, a trial separation has no legal significance.
(It is important to note that a trial separation and a legal separation are not the same thing. Under Colorado law, a trial separation has no legal effect while a legal separation is a recognized legal process. In general, a legal separation has the same effect as a dissolution of marriage with at least one very important exception - legally separated spouses cannot remarry. Legal separations are typically favored by those with religious or moral objections to divorce. See Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-106 for more information.)
While a trial separation ultimately ends in divorce most of the time, there some occasions when it can actually work, particularly if the couple is being proactive about saving their marriage and/or have children together.
"If the parties are physically separated from each other but they are taking actions such as going to marriage counseling, or having a calendar or schedule of goals they want to reach together, then this type of non-traditional trial separation may work," said divorce attorney Laurence Greenberg.
Whether you are seeking to take the next step following a trial separation or a professional actively considering divorce, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.
This post is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for more from our Denver divorce blog ...
- Couples Like Courtney Cox, David Arquette Who Try 'Trial Separations' Are Likely to End in Divorce (The New York Daily News)
• Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 14, Article 10