Divorce Or Separation? Lessons From The Cox-Arquette Split

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Courteney Cox and David Arquette
YourTango Experts weigh in on the Courteney Cox and David Arquette separation and possible divorce.

This might be the case for Courteney, who, despite a rumored romance with her Cougar Town co-star, has said, "I am not doing anything. No dating." Perhaps she is just allowing herself the psychological freedom to test out the waters: Could I love another man? Perhaps it's merely a wake up call for her hubby David to get his "kookiness" together.

Divorce Or Separation?

 

Some couples decide to separate, but never make the divorce final—a bad idea, according to YourTango Expert Marni Battista. "A new, independent life can seem easy and carefree at first, but this distraction can remove focus from doing the work that is necessary to come back to compatibility."

"In my experience as a clinical psychologist and couples counselor over the last twenty years, I have noticed that the majority of couples desiring a 'trial' separation are merely seeking out a less uncomfortable way to transition into divorce," says YourTango expert Dr. Adam Sheck.

This doesn't appear to be the case with Courteney and David—at least publicly. What we do know is that the couple has agreed to what Courteney has called "boundaries. . . established for each other during this separation."

The Separation Contract

Battista recommends that a separation have predetermined guidelines. "If a couple chooses to separate, they need to establish ground rules that should include discussing what kind of work each person will do individually while apart, what work the couple will do together, and whether or not they will continue to be monogamous," he says.

Dr. Sheck goes even further, recommending a "separation contract." As he explains, "The purpose of this not-legally-binding contract is to state specifically the intention for the separation (to create psychological space, to work on themselves personally, etc.), the specific boundaries to commit to (dating other people, sexual fidelity) and the specific time frame or re-evaluation period for the separation."

 
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