Not always as some couples choose to separate for various reasons. According to Susan Pease Gadoua, L.C.S.W., who is the author of Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go (August 2008) and Stronger Day by Day: Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce (July 2010), there are three common reasons why couples separate all of which will likely lead to a different outcome [Source: Psychology Today].

Has your marriage become unstable to the point where you and your spouse no longer can stand to live in the same household? Have your disagreements or inability to mend your issues led to the two of you separating? If you said yes and are now wondering whether this separation period is going to lead to divorce, then you will want to read on as there are a few likely outcomes that are possible, but it depends on the intentions you have for separating in the first place.

According to Gadoua, there are three main reasons why a couple might choose to separate from one another. These include:

  1. They are taking the first step towards filing for divorce.
  2. They want to gain perspective on the marriage.
  3. The couple is looking to enhance their marriage.

While Gadoua acknowledged that separation is generally viewed as a “breaking point,” it doesn’t have to be, especially if you are using the time to strengthen your marriage rather than looking for a way to end it. Gadoua went on to say that despite the beliefs of many who feel that separating during a time of despair and struggle is when a husband or wife should cling on to their spouses, separation “can be quite effective in bringing two people closer together” when certain guidelines are employed. Some suggestions Gadoua provides for couples who are looking to separate to strengthen their marriage include:

  1. Bring a third-party on for support. It may be a good idea to bring on a professional who can “help facilitate this process.” Separating can be difficult for a couple, especially when one spouse was unfaithful to the other which had led to the other feeling insecure. This can be a therapist, mediator, or even a family law lawyer.
  2. Set expectations that are clear and reasonable. Gadoua suggests that ground rules be set to “maintain a sense of trust between the parties.” Rather than risk hurting the other person’s feelings, it is best that expectations are discussed so that both you and your spouse are aware of what is expected of each other so that both live up to the promises made.
  3. Become familiar with both your goals and your spouses. It is important that both you and your spouse are on the same page in terms of why you are separating. Gadoua says that if one party thinks the separation is one step closer to filing for divorce yet the other is under the impression that it is going to help heal their relationship, it can “cause a major rift in the trust between the two.”
  4. Communication is key. Just because you are separating from your spouse doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties of communication. If anything, Gadoua recommends that you maintain regular communication with your spouse. Otherwise, you risk having your spouse become accustomed to being alone, and they might find that they like it more than they did when they were in a committed relationship.

While separating might work for some couples, it isn’t the best option for all. Sometimes, a separation could lead to a couple drifting farther apart which may then lead to divorce so it is best to speak with Lansing, MI family law attorney Stuart R. Shafer who can assess your current situation and help you make an informed decision regarding whether separating from your spouse is the best option.


You can reach the Law Offices Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:

1223 Turner Street, #333

Lansing, MI 48906