Much of what used to be standard practice in terms of assignment patterns and support can no longer be taken for granted. One prime example is the emerging trend of the split family, when the assignee and family live apart for some time—or permanently—during an assignment.
This can be a very challenging, and stressful situation, but there are ways that you can address any issues and ways to support assignees, and families, to help to make the assignment successful.
How to Survive Long-Distance Relationships During an Assignment
My colleague, Jenny Castelino, director, intercultural & language solutions, spoke with The Wall Street Journal on dual-income couples. Featured in the Expat Blog, the article, How Expats Can Survive the Long-Distance Relationship, follows the story of a dual-income, split-family couple and the challenges that may arise in a split family situation. The article also provides recommendations for successful assignments—whether couples live apart or together.
Factors Causing Split Family Situations
There are a number of factors that can cause split family situations, varying by location. Dual careers and the ability of the spouse to work is the number one challenge, followed by schools (e.g., lack of spaces, quality, safety). Other reasons include the assignment being in a hardship location, healthcare issues, and challenges with same-sex partnerships in certain locations.