5 Signs that it’s Time to Get a Legal Separation

Male and female holding either side of a broken heart symbolising relationship breakdown and possible legal separation or divorce

When a marriage breaks down it can be difficult for a couple to accept, which is why many people stay together even if they haven’t been happy for a long time. It’s for this reason that being able to recognise that it’s time to separate is so essential for you and your partner’s well-being.

A divorce or separation is a challenging experience for anyone to endure, so it’s safe to say that it’s one of the more significant decisions that you will make in your life. While there are plenty of people whose marriages end in divorce, many others stay in unhappy relationships because they are either reluctant to break up or fail to spot the signs that it’s time to get a legal separation.

In this post, we’ll take a look at a few of the common reasons for divorce and also some of the signs that your marriage could be breaking down.

1. You Feel that a Trial Separation Could Save Your Marriage

For the majority of cases, a period of legal separation is required — two years with consent, five years without it — before a couple can finalise a divorce. While this may seem like a long time, a trial legal separation does benefit people massively as it allows them to prepare themselves for life after divorce.

Although some couples may decide to get a divorce once the separation period is over, for others it may just be the decision that saves your marriage. If you feel that taking a break from the confines of your marriage and having the opportunity to miss each other will help, a legal separation could be the answer.

2. You’re Only Together for the Children

The emotional trauma and stress of a divorce can be a very confusing and traumatic experience, so it’s no surprise that many married couples stay together for the sake of the children. Or at least postpone their legal separation until the children are older. While this may seem like the best decision for them at the time, the daily unrest of a broken marriage will prove to be a lot worse for them in the long run.

If you and your spouse no longer want to be together but are fearful of how a divorce will affect your children, it’s something that needs to be addressed. While there’s no doubt that children should always be the top priority, your quality of life and emotional well being should never be disregarded.

3. You’re Only Together for Financial Reasons

Another common occurrence in marriage is couples who only stay together because divorce or life after divorce will be too difficult financially. There’s no doubt that the division of assets and loss of property can significantly impact a person’s financial stability, so it’s easy to feel trapped or helpless if your sole motive for staying together is money. Fortunately, a legal separation means that despite the relationship ending, you will still technically be married — therefore forgoing the need to divide your assets, for now.

A legal separation will give you as much time as you need to establish the best way to divide your assets so that each party is satisfied, without the hostility and pressure of divorce proceedings. It will also give you a chance to put some money aside for as a post-divorce fund so that you aren’t overwhelmed or financially vulnerable.

4. The Idea of a Legal Separation Doesn’t Worry or Upset You

One of the most impactful and heartbreaking aspects of a divorce is the end of a long-lasting relationship and relinquishing the bond you have shared with your spouse. But this isn’t the case for everyone — for some people, the thought of being on their own doesn’t upset or worry them in any way. The realisation that you no longer want to be in an unhappy marriage can be a very positive first step into the next chapter of your life.

Denial is one of the first stages of many emotionally-challenging situations, and a divorce is no different. It’s for this reason that the lack of an initial shock or being upset about your relationship ending will benefit you greatly when it comes to making vital decisions. This will be crucial when the time comes to negotiate the terms of your legal separation, as you’ll be able to act logically rather than emotionally.

5. Your Mental Health is Suffering

While most would assume that mental health issues are more likely to occur during a divorce or separation, it’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of people struggle with problems such as depression due to the nature of their marriage.

If your marriage — whether it’s due to arguments, abuse, or a general breakdown of the relationship — is having an impact on your happiness and state of mind, it’s a clear sign that something needs to change. If that change is the end of your marriage, then your first step should always be to seek the help of a specialist family lawyer!

Are you in need of guidance and advice about legal separations? We can help! At KMJ Solicitors our team specialises in all areas of family law, including divorce, legal separation and child law. Get in touch with us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

Clayton spent five years working in family law with a firm in Australia before moving to the UK in 1999. He deals with all aspects of family law, specialising in all family matters, offshore trusts, company structures, international law, prenuptial agreements, high net worth cases and cohabitation law.