Trial Separation - legal issues


My wife and I have been talking about a trial separation of 6 months where:

  1. We would rent an apartment
  2. We would alternate staying at our home and the apartment to allow the kids to remain in our home with either one of us during the period
  3. Expenses would be done as they always have
  4. If either one of us wants to file for divorce we (at least I) would move back into our home full-time till a custody/assets/divorce was completed
  5. There would be no dating other people (this is not really enforceable but something I require of her)

Is this something we could draw some legal papers up for?

Basically I don’t want our decision to do this to effect our divorce if we decide to.


You may absolutely enter into an interim separation agreement which outlines how certain issues will be handled as you adjust to this new stage in your life. I would advise that you see a lawyer before drawing up such an agreement to ensure you rights are fully protected.


I am worried though. My wife was having a affair even though she has ended it she did some bizzare things that scare me about a trial separation:

  1. Her affair partner was an ex-cop who pointed her at an safe haven domestic violence group (she feels I emotionally abused her) and he had coached her to file harassment complaints against me (nothing legally got back to me) with the police department to bolster her case if we got divorced. I followed her once to find that she was at the guys house.
  2. She has been coached by the abuse folks to sneak money out of our bank account (a couple of $400 increments, plus cash back when buying groceries) amount around $1500.
  3. She took $20k from our savings account for legal fees (lawyer or abuse people directed her – $13k retainer, $2k consulting fees, and $5k in case she wanted to throw the book at me with abuse charges) but she has since put it back into out savings.
  4. She is in counseling for emotional abuse and sexual abuse from her brother and father when she was young and (to me) is in a major midlife crisis.
  5. She lied and concealed and went underground with the affair claiming she wasn’t even having one (because they didn’t have intercourse) up until a few days ago. Our kids 13/14 know as well as her family. I believe she has stopped seeing him.

To make that long story short, I am worried about her mental stability and entering a trial separation agreement. Even though I want to reconcile I feel like I still have a ticking time-bomb here.

Here is my question: If we alternate in the apartment with a trial separation, is there anything legally I can create that can stop her from filing for “exclusive rights” to our marital home if she wants to file for divorce. I have been told by my lawyer and many infidelity counselors NOT to leave my home unless we have a legal separation/divorce on the books.


Preventing her from obtaining exclusive rights to the home is the reason I am advising that you enter into a valid temporary agreement. I do strongly suggest have your lawyer draft and to help you negotiate the terms with your wife. The temporary separation agreement protects you.