What Is A Trial Separation?
A trial separation is an arrangement between spouses to live apart. The two people agree to break up, but they remain married. The separation may occur for a specific amount of time or last indefinitely. The agreement is informal and does not involve the courts, attorneys, or judges.
Because the couple did not file the separation with the court, they can decide the terms of the trial separation without a judge’s approval. They can live in separate homes and determine which spouses remain in the marital home. They determine which person is responsible for all or part of specific bills. They also may establish the children’s primary residences and visitation schedules with the parents.
The married couple may be unsure of the direction their relationship may head. The trial separation may be a chance for the couple to determine and address their marital issues. Living in separate locations may give each spouse the space to handle and resolve disputes amicably. The couple may decide to get back together and resume the marriage.
In marriages where there are more severe breakdowns of the communication or relationship, a trial separation may be a first step toward getting a divorce. The couple may use the separation period to decide if they want to terminate the marriage. It can also allow them to assess the potential issues and outcomes of the divorce. Preparation for divorce includes evaluating the assets and debts, determining matters concerning the children, and calculating the costs that can arise during the legal process.
During the trial separation, the spouses may behave like divorced people. However, the couple remains married until they have a legal divorce. Therefore, they cannot wed another person while in a trial separation. Under Oregon law, an individual commits the criminal offense of bigamy when they knowingly marry or intend to marry another person while legally married to someone else.