If you and your spouse are considering a divorce but are unsure about it, you may benefit from the use of a legal separation. Legal separations operate very similar to divorce, but do not actually terminate the marriage, giving spouses time and space to take stock of the relationship while operating within a structure similar to a divorce decree. In some cases, couples undergo legal separation and find that they do not actually want to divorce, while others use it as a more gentle on-ramp to dissolving the marriage.
Under a legal separation, you and your spouse remain legally married, but the court makes rulings about various domestic issues in the same way it would in a traditional divorce scenario. These things might include working out property division agreements between spouses, or issuing custody orders for how to raise a child while living legally separated.
A legal separation may also entail spousal support and child support obligations. In many cases, the decisions made during a legal separation can transfer easily over to a divorce if the marriage ends up heading in that direction. However, if you and your spouse audition your divorce and decide it is not for you, you can easily revert to standard married life.
If you believe that a legal separation may be the right choice for your marriage, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney. A legal separation does involve the courts, and is not a "practice divorce" with no enforceable consequences. An experienced attorney can help you work out terms for separation that truly serve your needs and protect your rights and interests.
Source: Findlaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed Aug. 11, 2017