I recently got separated from my wife of twelve years, which has been hard.
Is it clear from this sentence that by "separated" I mean that my wife and I have decided to get divorced and are waiting for it to be completed?
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'Separation' doesn't always lead to divorce, but it does mean that a couple has formally split up. In other countries, the law may differ, but in the UK the current divorce law requires 'fault' for divorce or evidence of separation for a certain length of time (I think it is 3 years). So, divorce proceedings may not begin immediately after a couple separate.
From a grammar point of view - "I recently got separated from" should arguably be "I recently separated from", but people do use the word "separated" the same way as they do "divorced" because 'separation' is the name of a process sometimes called 'legal separation'.
When you use 'got separated' it can mean that you're on the receiving end of the separation. So unless it's the wife that forced the divorce on the husband, don't use this type of phrasing.
But if it's wife who forced the divorce on the husband, and since you're also saying that the divorce had been hard on the husband, 'got separated' fits well.
Now, the statement, I recently got separated from my wife of twelve years, which has been hard, by itself means that you've separated but the divorce isn't done.
If it's the husband who actively filed a divorce, then change the statement to something like this, 'I've recently separated from my wife of twelve years, and it has been hard.'
Separate—if a couple who are married or living together separate, they decide to live apart.
To avoid the follow-up question ("Are you getting divorced?"), you should use:
• "in a trial separation"
• "in a permanent separation"
• "in a legal separation"
Thanks @weather-vane for commenting.