You can file for absolute divorce after you have been separated for one year. If equitable distribution is unresolved, then you can also file a claim for equitable distribution in the same document as the divorce complaint. So you would file a Complaint for Equitable Distribution and Absolute Divorce.
You do not need to file a separation agreement.
It is very important that equitable distribution is either resolved by separation agreement or court order or the claim is filed and pending at the time the absolute divorce is granted. If the absolute divorce is granted and equitable distribution is not resolved and there is no claim pending, you will not be able to use the courts to divide the property of the marriage.
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