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Although there is no need to file any action in court for parties to separate from each other because you and your spouse may separate, formally or informally, with agreement or without agreement, you may want to file for a legal separation so that there is an enforceable order should the other side decide not to honor the terms of the agreement.
Without a formal order from a court, there is no way to enforce agreements between married people. However, legal separation has all of the headaches of getting a divorce without the termination of the marriage.
Legal separations are handled in the same manner as a divorce and by the same judges that handle divorce cases. The court may make findings and orders dividing and awarding property, awarding alimony, determining child custody, granting child support, and granting temporary possession of property. Since legal separations are handled in the same manner and by the same judges as divorce cases, the procedure, pleadings and orders are virtually identical to divorce cases, except at the end of the case, the parties are still married.
The court is not bound by any express residency requirement or waiting periods. Therefore, a Decree of Legal Separation may be entered the day the Petition for Legal Separation is filed.
The grounds for legal separation are identical to the grounds for divorce and a legal separation can be amended to a divorce proceeding at any time.