Trial Separation

A trial separation is an informal arrangement between two spouses to live separate lives while remaining legally married. There is no legal agreement protecting the interests of either spouse with an informal separation; the particulars of every couple’s arrangement will be different and will depend on trust.

It is possible to come to an informal arrangement on issues such as children, money and housing without going to court, if you and your partner agree. However, you should be aware that any informal arrangements made when you separate may be taken into account or changed if you do decide to divorce.

You may have a legal responsibility to inform the following services of your informal separation:

  1. HM Revenue and Customs if you are receiving tax credits.
  2. your local council if you pay council tax, or get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.
  3. your benefits office because it may affect you entitlement to any benefits you may be receiving, e.g. income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and Income Support.