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Instead of a divorce, parties may wish to enter into a separation agreement. Separation agreements can resolve the same issues listed above, but the parties agree to live separate and apart for a period of time instead of consenting to the entry of a final judgment of divorce.  Couples may choose a separation agreement rather than a final settlement agreement for multiple reasons: first, a separation agreement permits one spouse to remain on the other spouse’s medical insurance.  Once a judgment of divorce is entered, ex-spouses cannot be covered under the other’s medical insurance.  Second, the parties may be unable to afford the filing fees associated with a divorce filing.  Third, the parties may be working towards a reconciliation, and are not ready to move forward with a divorce.

While parties are legally separated—but not divorced—they remain legally married.  Accordingly, it would be illegal for either of them to marry a third person.  In order to do so, the parties would need to commence a divorce action and obtain a judgment of divorce.

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