When New York couples decide to separate, they may think they can simply establish different residences. If people want this to be a permanent arrangement, though, they usually need a formal separation agreement. 

People may decide to have a legal separation instead of a divorce for many reasons. FindLaw says that a legal separation may be beneficial if people no longer want to live together as a couple but do not want to get a divorce. A divorce may not be feasible for religious reasons. Additionally, some people might choose this option if they still want some of the financial benefits of marriage. If people have children, though, a legal separation may sometimes become complicated. Parents generally still have to determine who has custody of the kids, for example. In this situation, a separation agreement can be beneficial. 

Because many aspects of their lives are still connected, a separation agreement can help couples maintain a peaceful relationship. According to FindLaw, this agreement should usually include information about child support. People should generally specify how much money the non-custodial parent will pay. If one spouse has to pay spousal support, then the agreement should lay out this amount as well. Additionally, it is important to record where each child will live and when each parent will have time with the kids. The agreement should also indicate which spouse will stay in the family home. 

Additionally, people should typically include financial information in their separation agreement. They should generally list who is responsible for certain expenses and when both spouses might be liable for payments. One spouse may still use the medical benefits of the other spouse, and it is a good idea to include these benefits. Legally separated couples may also want to include information about life insurance and pensions.