When you and your spouse aren't getting along any longer, you might decide to end the relationship. There are a few ways that you can do this. You might decide to have a trial separation or a permanent separation. You may decide that you are getting a divorce. These are all very different arrangements.
A trial separation and a permanent separation both keep the marriage intact. The trial is appropriate if you aren't sure that you want to end the marriage and are trying to work things out. The permanent separation is appropriate if you aren't trying to work things out but don't want a divorce. Some people choose this option so that they can keep health insurance and other similar points the same as they are now.
A divorce legally ends the marriage. You have to go through the process of dividing up property and dealing with child custody matters. In some cases, you will also do this if you are going through a separation.
When you are trying to decide which of these is the best option for your situation, you should think about how each one will impact you now and in the long term. Go over the various arrangements and figure out what you are willing to deal with.
Every case is different, so what your friend did when his or her marriage was over might not be the best option for you. Think carefully before you make a decision. Remember, if you choose a separation, you can always file for divorce or reconcile later. But, you can't reverse a divorce unless you get married to your ex again.
Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed Aug. 17, 2017