Some separating spouses choose legal separation rather than divorce. For many it is a financially motivated decision.
Which road to take?
Legal separation is appropriate if you want to resolve your issues but stay married because you want to keep health insurance, employment benefits, other financial benefits of marriage OR because there are religious reasons OR you want to work on individual issues (emotional, psychological, addiction, etc.) and give future reconciliation a chance.
If one spouse files a petition for legal separation and the other spouse wants to proceed with a divorce, the marriage or registered domestic partnership (RDP) will terminate by way of a divorce. Both spouses/RDPs must be in agreement as to legal separation. The legal status of each party will remain the same as during the marriage so you will not be able to remarry for example. You can resolve all issues such as: child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of assets and debts.
The residency requirements are different if you file for legal separation.
What if down the line parties want to divorce?
If you obtain a judgment of legal separation and after some time want to divorce, you would have to file a new petition for dissolution of marriage and complete new financial disclosures.
to be continued...