Do you want to get divorced, but do you have a religious background that prohibits it? Do you worry about what people will think or do you desperately not want to violate this code of conduct?

There may be a solution. Many couples just choose to quietly separate and live on their own. They’re still married, and perhaps they’ll get back together one day, but they decide to spend some time apart. It’s not necessarily a short-term solution; they want to stay apart for the foreseeable future.

There are risks and problems if you do this on your own, however. For instance, maybe you have children. You and your spouse may have trouble deciding who has to pay for what or how you’re going to split up the time you spend taking care of the kids. Maybe you have joint debts, like a mortgage on a home. You may not have any idea who is going to pay this off, what obligations the other person has and what to do if one person fails to pay.

The solution is a legal separation agreement. This document, which is similar to what you’d get during a divorce, gives you a legal basis for things like asset division, debt division, child custody, child support and everything else you’re worried about. It protects your rights and gives you and your spouse a structured way to live apart for any amount of time.

All the while, you are still married.

Does this sound useful to you? If so, you must know all of the legal steps to take to set it up.