Marital separation occurs when partners to a marriage stop living together. The three main reasons why couples separate are (1) as a step in the divorce process, (2) to gain perspective on the marriage, and (3) to enhance the marriage. Some experts regard a six-month separation as good amount of time for a temporary separation, since it is long enough to set up a second household and gain perspective, but not long enough to seem permanent. A separation can be initiated informally, or there can be a legal separation with a formal separation agreement. Many U.S. state statutes, for example Virginia's, specify that being separated for a given period of time can be grounds for divorce.
- Gadoua, Susan Pease (25 April 2010). "Can a Marital Separation Make Your Marriage Better?". Psychology Today.
- Bernstein, Elizabeth (9 August 2011). "To Save a Marriage, Split Up?". Wall Street Journal.
- "§ 20-91. Grounds for divorce from bond of matrimony; contents of decree.". Code of Virginia.