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For example, you will need to decide whether or not you will continue to share a joint bank account or credit cards and how you’ll budget your spending, which of you will stay in the family home, how expenses will be shared, and the like.
If you have kids, you’ll need to decide how and when each of you will spend time with them.
Some people stay married because of insurance—and inertia can be a factor, too.
In some (not all) states, you can get a legal separation by filing a request in family court.
If you do briefly reconcile, you risk changing the date of separation and becoming responsible for your spouse’s financial actions during a period when you thought you were responsible only for yourself.
Once you’re separated and have made basic agreements about your joint assets and debts, you don’t have to divorce right away.
But the court’s order granting the legal separation includes orders about property division, alimony, and child custody and support, just as a divorce would.For example, money you earn and property you buy are likely to still be considered jointly owned by you and your spouse, depending on your state’s rules about property ownership.If you and your spouse are hoping to reconcile, it’s a good idea to write an informal agreement about some issues that will surely come up.If you both decide there’s no going back, your trial separation turns into a permanent one. When you live apart from your spouse without intending to reconcile but you are not divorced, you are considered permanently separated.In some states, living apart can change property rights between spouses—if you don’t intend to get back together, then assets and debts acquired during the separation belong only to the spouse who acquires them.