If you prefer to do a legal separation rather than divorce, it is important to make sure the paperwork gets done propertly as well as to have a detailed separation agreement written and filed with the Court.
A legal separation is a legal action filed by a married person or domestic partner who wants to stay married or in the domestic partnership. It can cover a variety of issues such as property, debt, pensions, alimony or spousal support, child custody, visitation, insurance, tax filing, and child support issues and property division.
A separation agreement puts in writing what you and your spouse have agreed upon during mediation in order to protect your interests and those of your spouse.
A separation agreement is a contract between spouses. In mediation, the couple is guided through step-by-step issues to facilitate agreements that work for you and your spouse. It is signed in front of a notary and filed with the Court.
The above mentioned issues are the more significant and are often at the forefront of most agreements, but each agreement is unique and can address other issues like, who will care for the family pet, or what religion the child(ren) will practice.
A Court does not have to approve the agreement reached by the two of you, but will almost always do so provided that it is a fair agreement and you adn yoru spouse knew what you were agreeing to. In order for the parties to be as secure as possible that the agreement will be approved by the court they must disclose truthfully all of their financial information to the other spouse, must actually abide by the terms of the agreement during the time between signing the agreement and filing for divorce, and they must actually get divorced in a reasonable period of time. If, for instance, the parties wait many years to divorce, a court would be less likely to approve the agreement.
Legal separation does not automatically lead to divorce. The couple might reconcile, in which case they do not have to do anything in order to continue their marriage. If the two do not reconcile, and they wish to proceed with a divorce, they must file for divorce explicitly.