As many formerly-married Texas residents can attest to, divorce is a life-long decision with many negative consequences. That's why many couples choose to separate first. They believe that time will heal wounds and pave the way for a reconciliation. In some cases, it does, but for a separation that lasts many years - with no reconciliation in sight - it can do more harm than good for all parties involved.
When a couple is living apart, they are typically not communicating frequently, which means that they are not on the same page financially. They are unaware how much money the other is making - or spending. This means that if your spouse's debt is growing, your debt is rising as well, especially for those in a community property state such as Texas.
In addition, the longer a couple has been separated, the more time he or she has to hide assets. If a divorce is imminent, the other partner wants to make sure these valuable assets are out of sight once it comes time to negotiate property division, particularly in a high asset divorce.
In extreme cases, a separation can lead a partner to move out of state or even worse, out of the country. This can cause an even more acrimonious divorce battle, especially if your spouse has had time to establish residency. This can affect child custody and alimony, among other things. It can give a partner time to develop a relationship with a new partner, which can also negatively impact a divorce settlement.
Separation can have many benefits for some couples, but without a formal agreement or legal order, each partner takes risks. Because the couple is still legally married, the husband and wife are both responsible for the other's liabilities. This means that if one ends up in financial trouble, the other spouse could wind up in the same situation.
Forbes, "Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good" Jeff Landers, Oct. 03, 2013