What protections does a legal separation provide as compared to a divorce?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general tips on your situation.
I would highly recommend that you speak with a domestic litigation attorney in your area. That person can talk with you specifically about how a separation may protect you from certain issues in the event you and your wife decide to divorce in the future.
In Wisconsin, where I practice law, parties who want to become legally separated most go through a very similar process to a divorce in order to make the separation “official” and therefore garner the full protections of a legal separation.
In Wisconsin, just living in separate households doesn’t offer the same protections as actual formal legal separation.
Once a person is legally separated in Wisconsin, the difference between a legal separation and a divorce are minimal. The basic differences are that legally separated parties cannot remarry and a spouse can typically remain on the health insurance of a spouse they’re legally separated from, whereas if there is a divorce, that person cannot.
Again, a domestic litigation attorney in your area can tell you what the law is with respect to this issue.