Risks and Benefits of Separating before filing for Divorce

I don’t know if I have said this before (in written form, of course) but if I have, I am going to say it again: Americans are ready to start spending money again.  I know that the stock market says otherwise, but I can tell the economy is recovering because people are finally pursuing divorce again.  For several months at the end of last year, and for several months at the beginning of this year, couples were separating, but not pursuing divorce.  The domestic relations courts were deserted.
Getting divorced is expensive, not only because both parties have to pay attorney fees but also because prior to the divorce, they had two incomes and only one household.  Once the parties separate, each only has one income available but each has an entire household to support.

Being separated prior to pursuing a divorce usually makes the divorce/dissolution process easier and less expensive because the separation allows the parties to divide up property and debts that can easily be divided, and by the time the parties are dealing with more difficult decisions, they are no longer angry, they have already moved on and they just want the paperwork to reflect the divisions they have already made.  Separating before pursuing a divorce makes sense for a lot of reasons but I wouldn’t recommend it under all circumstances.

I do not recommend leaving the marital home if the parties have children.  Both parties should seek the advice of an attorney before leaving the martial home when there are children of the marriage.  A parent’s right to custody or shared parenting could be affected by leaving the home and this may be avoided by seeking the advice of an attorney before leaving the home.

If the parties don’t have children, there isn’t much risk in leaving the home; however, seeking the advice of an attorney to discuss your rights in regards to marital property is recommended.

If you do not have children and your financial situation is improving and you are ready to separate and begin the divorce process, being separated for approximately 6 months should provide an adequate amount of time to cool off from the marriage and allow the parties to negotiate with a calm head.  Often, parties that have separated first are able to pursue a dissolution, which is much more friendly and cost-effective than a divorce.