Ideally, you and your spouse will memorialize your agreement regarding financial issues in a written agreement when you separate.
If you do, this separation agreement becomes a binding contract when you both sign it.
This is a form of legal separation that allows the court to make orders regarding bill payment, support and even marital property.
In states that don't recognize any kind of court-ordered separation, either spouse can file for divorce instead so the court can issue immediate orders pending the final outcome.
If you move into separate households, a court order can legally obligate you to pay child support, but if there's no court order, this doesn't mean you don't have to support your children.
If you don't contribute voluntarily, your spouse can ask the court for a child support order even without filing for divorce or formalizing your separation.
Unfortunately, not all states recognize a legal separation.
Since some states require a period of separation before an uncontested divorce will be granted, a legal separation can spell out to how everything will be handled in the meantime.If you and your spouse incurred debt together, these creditors won't go away because your marriage is ending.If you have joint credit card accounts, both of you are on the hook contractually with the lender.When and if you eventually divorce, the court can carry its terms over into a divorce decree or judgment.If your relationship isn't amicable enough that you can negotiate an agreement, this doesn't mean the court can't enter orders regarding the financial aspects of your separation.