My husband and I have been married 1.5years and are wanting to file for divorce. We have been living in separate residences for about a week. I am wanting to know if we must have a legal separation agreement or a legal contract marking the date of our physical separation. What is the next step?
No, you do not need to file paperwork for a legal separation. If you so choose, you could just simply wait the year, then file for divorce. However, I would suggest that the two of you divide up your assets and reach an agreement on all equitable distribution and other potential issues via a mutually agreed upon ‘separation agreement’, signed and notarized. That way everyone is on the same page about any expectations arising from dividing your belongings and stuff.
There is no document you need to file to mark your date of separation. Once you have lived separate and apart for one year and one day one of you can file a complaint for absolute divorce.
If you have property to divide or an alimony claim you must execute a separation agreement outlining those issues prior to entry of divorce, or include claims for equitable distribution and alimony 9if applicable) at the time you file for divorce. If you do not have a separation agreement, or claims pending for these issues when the divorce judgment is entered you will lose your rights to have a court decide these issues.