If you and your spouse live in different houses, you are not automatically legally separated. A legal separation requires much of the same paperwork and court involvement as a divorce. A legal separation, like a divorce, starts with the service of a Summons and Petition. Most legal separations end in dissolution of the marriage. A legal separation can help resolve many of the issues that need to be addressed in a divorce such as custody and child support, for example. However, in order to finalize the process and dissolve your marriage, a dissolution of your marriage will still be required.