When a couple goes through the trouble of attaining a legal separation, it's usually just one stop before they actually get a full divorce. Sometimes, though, couples decide they're better together than they were apart and choose to reconcile. Before you rush down to the courthouse to get your separation agreement invalidated, however, here are three things you need to do first.
Make Sure You're Not Wearing Graduation Goggles
There's an interesting phenomenon that happens when people are about to end relationships with others. For some reason, they begin downplaying all the negative aspects of their time with the other person and start feeling nostalgic for all the good experiences they had together. This can lead them to think the relationship is worth saving, even though they may have been completely miserable with their soon-to-be ex-spouse while they were still living in the same home.
It's important to thoroughly examine your motivations for wanting to get back together with your ex to ensure you're not under the influence of graduation goggles. Sometimes the hesitancy you feel about permanently separating from your ex is more about your fear of moving forward than having regrets about ending your relationship with the other person. For example, you may be unsure you can redefine yourself as an independent person if you've spent decades being known as your ex's spouse.
Take time to discuss your feelings with people you trust will provide you with loving but honest feedback about whether getting back with your ex is a good idea. If necessary, seek professional counseling if you know you should part ways with your ex for serious reasons (e.g. your ex was abusive) and are having a hard time letting go.
Undergo Marital Counseling with Your Ex
If you're sure getting back with your ex-spouse is something you want to pursue, then it's critical the two of you attend marital counseling together. You and your ex didn't decide to get a legal separation for no reason. Chances are very good there were problems in your relationship that you weren't able to work out, and being apart for a period of time probably didn't magically make those issues go away.
In addition to helping you work through your previous marital difficulties, a marital counselor can provide you and your spouse with relationship tools you can use to handle future issues that may crop up after your second honeymoon ends. For example, if you and your ex had trouble communicating with each other, the counselor can teach you a few different ways you can overcome this challenge.
Taking this step can significantly reduce the risk that you'll ultimately end up in divorce court a year or two after getting back together. Additionally, in some jurisdictions, judges require couples seeking to dissolve their separation agreement to submit marital plans indicating how they plan to move forward as a couple. So, going through marital counseling can help you fulfill this requirement.
Develop a Post-Nuptial Agreement
The last thing you want to do before having your separation agreement reversed is to draw up a post-nuptial agreement. Either or both of you may have acquired debt and assets during the time you were apart. If you live in a community property state, such as California and Washington, those debts and assets will belong to both of you when you end the separation agreement. This is because revoking a separation agreement will make it seem like it never happened and the original marital rules will once again apply.
Even if you think you'll be together forever from that day forward, it's best to discuss what will happen to those debts and assets acquired during the separation in the event you do decide to eventually divorce. Developing a post-nuptial agreement can help you avoid getting stuck with your spouse's bills or losing valuable assets you worked hard to attain.
To learn more about dissolving a separation agreement or to move forward with divorcing your spouse, contact a divorce attorney.
Hello. My name is Stephanie Laurel. I have recently been through a divorce, and although I don’t wish it on anyone, I do wish that everyone could come out of the proceedings feeling they have been taken care of. My husband and I had been married twenty-eight years. We have four children, two of which are still under eighteen years of age. We owned the home we lived in and had a vacation home in a different state. We are civilized people, we get along fairly well considering, but no matter how much we thought we could go through the divorce process without lawyers, it wasn't possible. We each hired a divorce attorney to represent us. Most of the negotiations went well, but when we hit a rough spot the attorneys took over. Thank goodness. I’m going to share more about the experience and hope it helps you.