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Marriage is a difficult relationship to navigate successfully. There will always be disagreements and divergences of opinion. There will always be times in which you are simply unable to come together on anything. The severity of these instances vary, but if the fights and arguments have gone on for some time and the two of you seem to be drifting further apart every day then it might be necessary to take a break. Of course, those are not words that many people feel comfortable with. Any kind of separation or period of living apart seems only a step toward a permanent break.
But that need not be the case. Not every couple that separates ends up in divorce. There are cases in which the separation allowed the two individuals reflect, think, and get their priorities straight. There are places in which separation was the best solution to work out the problems of the marriage. If you and your spouse think that legal separation is the way to go, then you should sign up to a separation agreement. The latter is a contract that details how your living apart will be practically managed.
It can be hard to work on a marriage while still living together. The pressure of both trying to occupy the same space and engaging in the honest and searching dialogue that is often needed to get to the bottom of marriage problems can be too much. Living apart for a while provides space—it gives the both of you room to consider your respective positions as well as that of the other.
However, your marital estate must continue to operate in some way. Provision must be made for financial support for you, if your partner is the sole earner, and arrangements must also be made for child support and custody if you have little ones. These can all be sorted out in a separation agreement.
You should get your own lawyer while negotiating the terms of your separation. Even if your spouse has agreed to the separation and the general atmosphere between you seems to be an amicable one, it is essential to have someone who is totally and completely in your corner. You want to ensure that the document that you and your partner sign provides you with everything that you and the children need to live in some measure of material comfort.
These assurances can only be brought about if you have your own lawyer review the agreement and make any needed changes or recommendations. Separation is not the same as divorce, so you will not be operating under state laws of the latter. However, many of the guidelines concerning alimony and child support apply. These can be adjusted as need be, but you should not sign any document that does not give you a fair amount of security while you and your partner work things out.
You need not give up on your marriage because of difficulty. The fact is that as people grow older they change; they begin to have new views, opinions, and aspirations. What you and your spouse have to figure out is whether your two views of life, the respective aims and desires you hold, are still compatible. This is not an easy thing to resolve. It will take time. That is okay. The state has a flexible means by which you can live apart without dissolving your marriage. You should take advantage of it.