Controlled Separation Agreement, Part 1


I am putting together the framework for our controlled separation (CS) agreement, I found little in the way of advice from people who had been there. [read more]

I was a little frustrated because I was hoping to have some idea of the pitfalls of things people had failed to include which later caused problems, or, things that were poorly written or not anticipated at all. In several installments, I will post the agreement as I have tailored it to our situation. I have manipulated the language a bit and have called our separation a healing separation, as it seems more appropriate and more heart-felt. Hopefully this is helpful to someone who finds themselves in my position later on.

Below are the introduction and general agreements sections which reflect my conflict resolution/mediation background. I tried not to get to professor-y. Input and feedback are always welcomed.


With the awareness that our love relationship is at a point of crisis, we choose to try a working and creative healing separation in order to obtain better individual perspectives regarding the future of our relationship. We acknowledge there are aspects in our relationship that are destructive to us as a couple and as individuals. We also acknowledge there are positive and constructive elements in our relationship which could be called assets and upon which we may be able to build a new and different relationship. We are committed to the personal, social, psychological, and spiritual work necessary to make this separation a healing one.

We recognize it will be important to promote cooperation, to affirm each partner’s strengths, and encourage each other to hang in there. We understand the risks involved in separation and accept those risks as a courageous move grounded in the hopes of saving our marriage, and supported by a well-thought-out structure. We hope after having experienced personal growth, self-exploration, and differentiation possible in a structured healing separation, we will be able to make a more enlightened decision about the future of our love relationship.

Our intent is to save our marriage. We acknowledge the high level of stress and conflict we have been experiencing for a sustained period of time and hope that a healing separation will provide for some emotional respite, as well as the tools for rebalancing our individual and married lives.

General Agreements

  • In all cases, we agree to respect and honor our individual feelings, especially if we encounter something that is particularly emotional or difficult.
  • We will do our best to openly discuss concerns or issues, either on our own, or with our individual/couples counselors.
  • We will respect each others’ rights to privacy.
  • No legal filings will take place during the separation time frame.
  • We will make as few changes in our finances as possible and continue as usual, with H managing our joint finances. Any large purchases or substantive changes will be discussed jointly, as usual.

4 thoughts on “Controlled Separation Agreement, Part 1

  1. Looks like you’ve really thought this through. Good for you!! I read a book – I think it was called “Should I Stay or Should I Go” about Controlled Separation. If you haven’t read it, you may want to check it out. However, what you’ve put together is pretty amazing and could benefit many!

    • Hi Kali!

      Thanks! I hope it is helpful to someone. Great emotional stress really hampers the ability to be logical and I had to get to a point where I could call upon my logic (and other skills) to drive this process. It’s hard to think when you’re a mess!

      I have read that book and several others such as “Taking Space”. In principle, no matter what the structured separation is called, it’s the structure that matters. The trouble I had was in defining the details because there was no detail beneath the framework to follow as an example.


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