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The main difference is that you no longer have any legal duty to live together but you cannot remarry.
When you are living apart, you are classed as separated by the Inland Revenue and by the Benefits Agency. It follows the same court procedure as divorce and the court retains the power to settle financial disputes with the exception of pension splitting.
The court can also settle any disputes regarding children.
Care needs to be taken before signing any document as this could be relied upon if a divorce takes place at a later date.
If you have both received legal advice, the court would prefer not to overturn the agreement at a later date provided that you had both been honest and there has not been any change in your circumstances. This is not so common but could be considered when there are religious objections to divorce.
Being separated and not dating is one of the hardest temptations to resist. You'll also make your decision about more than just what you want.