This is a 10-page agreement written by Becky that discusses the purpose and spirit of a Managed Separation (MS) and outlines the terms, rules, and guidelines of the MS.
Becky has created the Managed Separation Agreement MSA to help people have a decisive separation plan designed to eliminate ongoing damage and destruction, and to create a possibility of reconciliation moving forward. People purchasing the MSA are asked to abide by the following set of guidelines:
• One couple may share and copy one purchased agreement so that each may have a copy, but the agreement is not to be shared with others for their use.
• Therapists, life coaches, lawyers, relationship consultants, or any professionals must purchase their own agreement they may use moving forward in their practice, but must require each couple to purchase their own copy.
• Material in the MSA is copyrighted and may not be shared publicly or on web sites, emailed or shared in any way, except with couples who purchase and share it with themselves unless they have received written permission from the office of Becky Whetstone, Ph.D.
From Becky: “I created the idea of the Managed Separation over 10 years ago for several reasons. When I separated in 1993 our therapist had told us to come back to him “if both of wanted to work on the marriage.” I really felt like we should have been talking to someone during that time and also had a plan and purpose to the separation that would help us make the right decision. I felt we needed some boundaries, guidelines that would help us heal and possible want to work things out. Instead, we had no guidance and winged it and made an absolute mess of everything. In the end we divorced prematurely.”
“In later years I became a Marriage & Family Therapist, and practiced in a state (Texas) that does not have legal separation. I found that legal separation seemed like overkill and unnecessary for many of the couples I was working with, and they wanted me to help them separate without bringing lawyers into it, and with a therapeutic bent to it that would encourage intelligent, non-impulsive decision-making. So I set down and came up with the Managed Separation process.”
So how can you best utilize the idea of the Managed Separation? Couples embarking on a MS with Becky will want to download the Managed Separation document and examine it before embarking on the first Managed Separation (MS) meeting. In Becky’s private practice, couples typically come in and talk about what’s going on in their marriage the first time they meet Becky, THEN if a MS is indicated, the first MS meeting is set up.
If couples look over the agreement and feel it is a good option for them, then Becky recommends going over it once again, making notes and highlight any questions or potential changes regarding it. Couples in Little Rock then bring it in to a session where any wrinkles are ironed out. (Couples may download one form and make a copy of it for the other person.)
Becky recommends long distance couples follow the following steps:
1. Download the agreement and see if it is a viable option for you.
2. If it is, contact Becky and make a one-hour appointment to go over it so that any questions may be answered and any wrinkles ironed out. Will it be by Skype, Facetime, or phone?
3. Before that meeting make notes and highlight any questions you may have, and come up with a tentative start date for the separation.
4. During the phone, Skype, Facetime meeting with Becky we will finalize the date, terms and details of the Managed Separation. Cost of this meeting will be $330.
5. Be thinking about whether you want Becky to manage your separation or if you will do this with another marriage therapist. If you want Becky to do it we will set up some future meetings, so have your calendar ready!
6. Rest assured that you are doing something positive about the marriage crisis you are now in!
If you are not working with Becky and do not plan to, that is fine, too. You can take the document to your own therapist anywhere in the US or the world as all the work has been done by a therapist experienced with MS. This is important and very helpful as you can be sure the agreement covers the questions that have continually come up over the years.
Trust us, virtually no therapists will have such an agreement available for their clients as it would be extremely time consuming to prepare, so, if you decide on MS, your therapist will appreciate using this as a template. (Becky has purposefully not formatted it as read-only so that you and/or your therapist may edit and amend it to suit your own needs.)