Can/Should I move out before I have a separation agreement
Living apart for a while allows you some time to contemplate if divorce is actually the only option. But there are things to think about before you start living separate and apart. Although there is no law that says that you cannot or should not move out before getting a legal separation agreement, you should take into account all the consequences of that.
As opposed to an informal trial separation, a separation agreement establishes how everything will be handled while the couple is apart.
A legal separation agreement is a document which discusses the rights and responsibilities of a married couple while they are living apart. Once agreed to and signed, it becomes a contract and if enforceable the same as any other contract. This gives you confirmation you can move out without worrying about your life falling apart. If you file it with the court, as part of a complaint for limited divorce, it then becomes enforceable immediately.
Matters that can be addressed in a separation agreement include division of assets and debts, child custody and support, visitation schedules, alimony, etc. And all states except Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas recognize legal documentation of separation.
Owing to the complications involved in getting a separation agreement a lot of couples even consider living apart in the same house. The legal aspect in itself is not the difficult part. It is the concerns in your life that overlap that cause the delays.
The names on the house lease or mortgage, utility bills, postal address, taxes joint account, custody of the children and insurance coverage are only a few things to consider not having in mind this auto insurance rates listed below.
Of course, seeking expert advice from an attorney who specializes in family law is way better than trying to sort things out yourself.
So to answer the original question of whether or not you should move out before a separation agreement, I'd say you can but shouldn't.