A trial separation happens when a couple lives apart trying to decide whether to reconcile or divorce. Very often couples that cannot get along decide to live apart for a time to clear the air. Trial separations, as they are called, sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Trial separations normally have no effect on property rights. As a rule, a couple separated on a trial basis enjoy the same legal rights as married people living together. Money and property are still considered jointly owned, according to the law and rules of the state where the couple live. Trial separations are often "informal" and often there is no written separation agreement. During the time apart, the couple may see each other, try marriage counseling, and see if their marriage can be saved. If the couple comes back together, they continue without any legal change in the status of the couple. If the couple decides to divorce, however, the trial separation becomes a permanent one, that is, a breach with a firm date of separation and a period of time that is preliminary to it.
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