Clients often ask “what does it mean to be separated?” First, you must be physically separated meaning you and your husband or wife have to live at separate addresses – it is not enough for the spouses to be sleeping in separate bedrooms or in separate parts of the house. Prior to physical separation, it is advisable to enter into a Separation Agreement to formalize your intention to live permanently separate and apart from one another. The Separation Agreement will waive certain marital rights, such as estate rights or the right to share in the future assets of the other party. Legal obligations, such as liability for your spouse’s negligent acts or debts, can also be severed in a Separation Agreement. Spouses have to be physically separated for a full year before either spouse can file for divorce but you are not required to have a Separation Agreement.