Divorce can be difficult even for the person who files. The upheaval affects not just the California couple but their children, friends and other family members, and the lifestyle of the spouses may substantially change. Divorce can also be costly. For these reasons, a trial separation might be helpful, and it has both advantages and disadvantages.
Effects on children
Different from a legal separation, a trial separation is a more informal arrangement that can give couples a taste of what it will be like to split households. It can also give them an idea of how sharing child custody might go. On the other hand, this also means that it can be hard on children, causing upheaval in their lives that they might not have to go through if their parents can find another way to resolve their differences.
Working through conflict
Resolving those differences can be harder in some ways for couples no longer living together. For example, the spouses might find that they are growing apart. It might be easier to simply stop working on conflict and not deal with it in separate households. On the other hand, a trial separation may provide the space that couples need to start working out their differences without the stress of being in the same house together every day.
Ultimately, the choice of whether to embark on a trial separation is one that needs to be decided by couples based on their individual situation. They should discuss it thoroughly and put any arrangements in writing in case there are misunderstandings later. A trial separation is not legally binding, but this can help resolve conflict if each person later has a different interpretation of how bills would be divided or where children would spend their weekends.