Q: Is there such thing as a "legal separation"?
A: No. All that needs to be done is separate. It is possible to be separated while living in the same home.
It is recommended to document the date of separation in writing by, for example, by sending an email, letter or having a statement acknowledging the date of separation signed by both parties.
The date of separation is important because it sets the date for which limitation periods begin for unmarried spouses and it affects the overall division of family property.
Under the Family Law Act, the date of separation is the "triggering event" which separates family property. On this date, any property held in Joint Tenancy is now severed and the property begins to be held as "Tenants in Common". After this date, the parties begin to acquire separate property and separate debts.