Legal Separation is a court process designed to define the important rights and obligations between spouses when they live apart, but do not want divorce.
The decree for legal separation establishes rules between the spouses regarding such issues as child custody, visitation, and spousal maintenance (alimony). It also divides property and usually debt. However, unlike divorce, the marital bonds are not severed and the spouses continue to be husband and wife.
If, at any time during the legal separation, or thereafter, either spouse believes that the differences between them are irreconcilable, he or she may file a motion to convert to a dissolution of the marriage.