Divorce vs Long-term Separation
Many spouses need separations to gain perspective and hopefully realize what they missed in their spouse. Separations of a few days, weeks or months can be a good breather for one or both spouses. But when the separation stretches into years with no filing for divorce and no movement towards reconciliation, that can create many new problems.
While two people are still legally married, they are still legally liable if one spouse miss-manages finances. One party could start hiding assets or lose their job both of which would significantly change the alimony and/or child support. The bottom line is, spouses should seek counseling of some sort when entering a trail separation to map out which way this separation is headed.