One night while separated?


#1

I’d like to spend one night visiting with my wife and son before he leaves the country. Would this restart the 12-month clock, or is one isolated ovenight (on the couch) okay?


#2

Spending one evening in the home will not restart the clock so long as you do not intend to reconcile.


#3

Thanks for the quick reply. I did spend the one night. what if i spent another night there (on the couch as befor) or if she stayed overnigth at my place. how often could this happen without restarting the clock? once a month?


#4

The statues are not specific with respect to what constitutes a reconciliation, it depends on the totality of the circumstances and the intention of the parties. If the two of you are consistently spending overnights together it could be argued that you are “holding yourselves out to the public” as have resumed the martial relationship, which would restart the clock.


#5

Does your reference to “holding yourselves out to the public” mean that you can’t really try to be friends with a spouse while you’re separated? If you see each other in public periodically that counts as “holding yourselves out”? I thought seperate residences was enough.


#6

No, it means holding yourselves out to the public as a married couple who is living together in an intact marriage.


#7

My wife doesn’t want to be separated (she wants me to return). Out of respect to her i have not made a big deal of the separation. People know we live in different places but perhaps assume that it’s just because i have an out of town job. I don’t wear my wedding band but i haven’t been telling people “we’re separated”. Am i in danger of my wife or a judge later saying we were holding ourselves out to be having an intact marriage? I’m just trying to be nice but i don’t want this to work against me!


#8

If you are returning to the marital residence to stay the night periodically, I believe a good argument could be made that you are holding yourself out to the public as a married couple.


#9

The phrase “holding yourselves out to the public” keeps coming up. I thought a couple is separated if one moves out into a seaprate residence and either or both intend for this to be permanent. Where does the notion of “holding yourselves out to the public” arise? Is it part of a law or does it arise from court decisions or what?


#10

It is part of case law.


#11

So it sounds like staying in our house on the couch or in the guest room on Saturday nights (which would be convenient and less costly to me since i’m a church organist in that town) may qualify as “holding ourselves out” as a happily married couple? And going together to a movie in town (which she’s asked me to do) would also be holding ourselves out?


#12

It could be, depending on how a judge views the facts and circumstances if the issue is brought to court.


#13

Would it help if i had my spouse sign a statement acknowledging that the (relatively little) time i’m spending with her during our separation is just to help her deal with the separation that she’s having such a hard time with and is not an attempt to reconcile?


#14

It will not become an issue at all unless your spouse contests the date of separation you allege in your complaint for divorce. You may have her sign a separation agreement (it must be notarized) which includes the date of separation, however even if a document is signed, she may later contest the date.