Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not put an end to the marriage. During a legal separation, you have a court order that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart. You remain legally married while choosing to live separate lives. Issues that can be addressed in a separation agreement are division of assets and debts, child custody and child support, visitation schedules and spousal support.
A legal separation agreement may be beneficial for tax purposes. This is especially true for couples with children. The IRS allows change of filing status for certain Legally Separated couples who have lived apart for more than six months of the calendar year.