People generally are confused by the term "legal separation." It in fact has a specific meaning in family law.
Parties to a divorce generally are "separated" and a "legal" proceeding is pending. However, they are not "legally separated." Rather, under our statutes there is a specific proceeding for a legal separation, identical to that of divorce except the relief requested of the court is a separation and not a dissolution of the marriage. The parties to a legal separation remain married, although our experience has been that decrees of legal separation almost always become divorce decrees at some point.