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Therapeutic Separation

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 15:54 PM

Anyone have thoughts on invoking a therapeutic separation agreement in advance of a possible mediated divorce?

My WW has NOT brought this up as a stalling tactic - instead itís something I recently read about.

I wonder if anyone has done it and what the result was.

Darkness Falls posted 7/30/2020 18:54 PM

I havenít done it but I think separation is only one of two things:

1. A precursor to eventual divorce

2. An opportunity for spouses to explore the single life while still retaining their safe Plan B, often unbeknownst to the other spouse

JMHO

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 19:12 PM

Looking for option 1 and WW knows that.

My understanding is that they can be legally binding but different and a little more "gentle" than a trial separation. I don't know if this is the case and I'm basically clueless on this.

What I understand is that it could offer the betrayed a chance to move out of the home without giving up property rights. To be clear, I want to be out of the home bc that is where the betrayal occurred.

It would also provide some space and a runway so to speak to walk up to a mediated divorce in a somewhat more gradual way without "shock and awe" for my kids.

Just my initial thoughts.

[This message edited by Thumos at 7:21 PM, July 30th (Thursday)]

gmc94 posted 7/30/2020 19:21 PM

I'm not sure what is meant by "therapeutic" separation "agreement".

There is "legal separation" which is basically a divorce w/o the D. All assets and custody and support are divided, agreement is approved by the court. TBH, I don't think that step makes much sense for most folks, esp bc many employer sponsored insurance plans will view it as a D and cut off the ability to cover the non-employee spouse. Post legal sep, the parties can (a) convert it to a D (which is usually a straightforward process - you don't get to reopen the agreement unless there is something to warrant change in custody/support - but not the division of assets). Or (b) reverse the legal sep, and return to M life.

And then there is "therapeutic" separation, which is not legally binding upon anything (at least not in any state I'm aware of). The therapeutic S may have an agreement as to anything - custody, support, who gets the armoir, etc. And it can have influence in a later D, but it's not binding and (at least in my neck 'o the woods) many many judges/courts won't even consider it. I suppose (tho I've not heard of it personally), such an agreement could become an issue if one party doesn't abide and it creates problems for the other. What comes to mind is things like taxes - IOW, if the agreement says you are filing separately but you claim the kids as dependents, and then your W also claims the kids, there MAY be some basis to challenge that outside of a D. But in all likelihood, it would become an issue in a D proceeding, where you would ask the court to give an offset for the financial waste that occurred bc she didn't follow the written (although not court approved) agreement.

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 19:22 PM

I've read several articles about it. Mediators can apparently draft them and file them.

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 19:32 PM

And then there is "therapeutic" separation, which is not legally binding upon anything (at least not in any state I'm aware of).

so there's no way to have a legally binding therapeutic separation?

waitedwaytoolong posted 7/30/2020 19:55 PM

I kind of sprung on my EX after 5 years I wanted a divorce. It got to a point that though she desperately wanted to stay married and keep our family intact, and had been a model WW, the injustice of it all broke me. She was in shock. She knew things were not the same, but after 5 years though they were getting better, and her danger zone had passed. That was really my fault in not communicating my unhappiness.

One of the sticking points was I felt I was robbed in all this. She got to have her fling, and even though it ended horribly for her, she got it nonetheless. I wanted my turn.

It was relatively easy for us. We had our house up north, and had gotten a vacation home in Florida. I would just move there. Like you I wanted no parts of the main residence as that was where the affair took place

We went to an attorney and had him draw up all of the paperwork and did everything but file. It killed her, but it was a better choice for her as it bought her some time. She knew I would be seeing other people, and she was free to do the same.

We actually got back for a short time as she begged to visit, but that didnít last too long.

When you separate you need to realize a few things. First for us, the affair which was hidden for 5 years came out. I refused to be the bad guy who was dumping his wife to play the field. People were shocked. It would have been nice to just bury it, but in real life people ask just too many questions

The second thing for me was even though I missed her, and let her visit and we were back, my heart wasnít in it. In my opinion, itís hard to come back after a separation. You get a taste of what is like without the dark cloud of infidelity hanging over your head.

The last thing is it kind of gives you a read into what a divorce settlement will look like, and their attitude going in. My EX was fair in the separation agreement, and our divorce although lengthy and complicated due to finances, was pretty amicable

In the end, I was glad we did it that way. Frankly, during the separation she was my plan B, and I wanted the option of coming back if my new life sucked more than my married one.

My guess is she will go for it. If she doesnít want a divorce it does buy her some time. Itís a shitty choice for her, but still better than divorce.

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 20:12 PM

When you separate you need to realize a few things. First for us, the affair which was hidden for 5 years came out. I refused to be the bad guy who was dumping his wife to play the field. People were shocked. It would have been nice to just bury it, but in real life people ask just too many questions

I have no intention or of playing the bad guy. I'm not going to be deliberately cruel about it or take out an ad or buy a billboard, but when people ask I'm going to tell them exactly why I'm leaving: "She had a three month affair with a friend of mine and unprotected sex in our home. After trying to reconcile in the face of her dragging her feet on transparency and a number of things I asked for, and after she failed a polygraph last year, I decided it was a dealbreaker and time to call it quits. I'm proud I stayed and gave my kids extra time to grow, but now I'm moving on."

ZenMumWalking posted 7/30/2020 20:19 PM

To be sure of your rights, talk to a lawyer.

waitedwaytoolong posted 7/30/2020 20:22 PM

That is a good plan. In our case it came as a shock to everyone. My own daughters thought there had been infidelity in the marriage as they could see how things had changed. The thing is, they thought it was me who had the affair. I had a lot of opportunities and her affair was so out of character.

Do many people know what is going on with you? How do you think they will react?

Thumos posted 7/30/2020 22:32 PM

Do many people know what is going on with you? How do you think they will react?

No one in our ďcouples friendsĒ social circle knows. My family does not know. People will be shocked.

Her mother and sister know and have since the beginning.

Justsomeguy posted 7/30/2020 23:57 PM

My WW and I did a therapeutic separation as a way of dealing with the pain of the A. We drew up a contract which had start and end date to avoid a charge of abandonment. I can't remember it very well (trauma brain) but I do remember that the R rate was very low from my research. In the end, I chose to D. As my sister told me, when you know, you know.

Hippo16 posted 7/31/2020 05:09 AM

well said by waitedwaytolong

"The second thing for me was even though I missed her, and let her visit and we were back, my heart wasnít in it. In my opinion, itís hard to come back after a separation. You get a taste of what [life] is like without the dark cloud of infidelity hanging over your head. "

there are other reasons for divorce so pulling the plug is the only way forward to future happiness

in your face infidelity is clear choice to split - and then there is "mental cruelty" - financial irresponsibility and "just growing apart"

The whole point of divorce is to improve what time you have left on this planet.

Tried & True:

"Why are divorces so $$$? BECAUSE THEY ARE WORTH IT!!!!!!"

[This message edited by Hippo16 at 5:10 AM, July 31st (Friday)]

gmc94 posted 7/31/2020 16:31 PM

I don't know what the law is in your state, but from what you've written, this sounds like nothing more than an agreement between you and your WW. It MAY be given deference by a court should you ultimately D. I doubt that it would be BINDING upon a court if you were to D.

IOW, it sounds like something that may ease into ultimate D, but it does not sound like something "legal" (aka legally binding).

Now, if you and WW agree and draft an agreement, it may be that if/when it comes time to D, you will both be used to/ familiar with the terms such that converting it to D will be less emotionally charged. But it could also turn out that either/both of you are not happy with the terms of the "therapeutic" agreement, and go to the mattresses at the time of D.

I would certainly want all the legal ramifications fleshed out with an attorney before I paid a mediator for a piece of paper that may make you/WW feel good, but won't mean squat to the court if you choose to D.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 4:33 PM, July 31st, 2020 (Friday)]

OwningItNow posted 7/31/2020 17:14 PM

We worked with a mediator who drafted something like this. She said, "You just need to give all of this to the judge and he'll sign off." We had come so far in working on ourselves in IC, and the mediation agreement gave us peace of mind. We never gave the paperwork to the judge, but we knew it was done and knew what life would look like. In my case, my H seemed to work harder after seeing what his new life would be.

If I had filed a year or two later, my H could have contested the agreement. "This is old, out of date!" But if you two are like us, doing that would not have changed much and we didn't go through all that mediation just to whine about it. Depends on your mentality about the process and the agreement (and each other as people).

The agreement worked well for us.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 5:16 PM, July 31st (Friday)]

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