Is legal separation really worth the hassle? A couple is legally separated only if the couple has successfully petitioned a court to recognize their separation, living apart does not constitute separation. It does not automatically lead to divorce, however it’s the first step. The couple can reconcile, in which case they need do nothing in order to remain married. If they do not reconcile, and wish to divorce after the statutory time period, they must then file for divorce. Who would want to go to court first for a separation and then again if you decide to divorce? That’s sounds like a bunch of legal fees that you can do without. I left without going to court BUT I did an “order to show cause” for support of my children. My ex was paying me on his own until he hooked up with the woman he is now divorcing. She lost custody of her children and told him that he should not pay me, so he didn’t. I took him to court and had a garnishment PDQ (pretty dam quick). I think if time apart is what you need, take some time to assess your situation. Don’t do anything drastic until you have thought it thru thoroughly and come to your own conclusion. If someone has advice, its OK to listen but its not their life, its yours. The court doesn’t need to be involved until or unless you are ready for the actual divorce. I think it’s a waste of money and it’s not something that's mandatory. If it makes you feel better to file then do it. Although, wouldnt you rather spend the money on retail therapy or maybe counseling? The courts will be hard enough if and when you actually decide its over. I dont need to pay them for a taste of freedom or a clear conscience. Any thoughts?