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Marriage isn't a game for Michael Douglas, but is his over?

For 13 years, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have stood steadfastly next to one another -- despite critics of their 25-year age difference. Now, the couple has announced that they will be taking time apart to re-evaluate their marriage, and rumors have been swirling over the possibility of a future divorce.

In those 13 years, the couple has been through a lot. She was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, a condition that involves cycles of high elation to severe depression. He fought throat cancer -- a medical condition that he said may have been caused by the sexually transmitted disease HPV contracted at some point in his life, from someone other than Zeta-Jones.

Medical issues like these can wear on anyone, and it isn’t unusual to have a relationship change as a result of the stress. No one is at fault in this situation -- let us not forget that a sexually transmitted disease does not necessarily mean that there was infidelity.

Added to the stress associated with these medical issues is the responsibility associated with having children. The couple has two children together, a 13-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. While parents may see their children as the best thing that ever happened to them, it doesn’t mean that the job is always easy.

Couples grow apart for many reasons, and some of these couples choose a trial separation before legally ending the marriage. In these situations, it is important to remember that even couples working on a marriage may want to set some rules.

A legal separation is one way to protect financial or property interests while remaining married under the eyes of the law in Illinois. Where the separation concerns children, even a child custody arrangement can be determined to help facilitate shared parenting.

Source: USA Today, “Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones split,” Ann Oldenburg, Aug. 28, 2013

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