It all depends on the laws of your state (every state is different). Some recognize legal separation, some do not. Some will allow a simple dissolution (uncontested divorce), some will not.
My state recognizes both legal separation and dissolution, both of which can be done without attorneys very easily. We considered legal separation, which would prevent any future marriage by either of us because you are still legally married (though you are no longer legally tied to future incurred debt/assets), but we opted for dissolution. I received 100% legal/physical custody and we followed the state guidelines for CS. We had agreed amicably on the distribution of assets/debts. All assets/debts must be equitably distributed as the final agreement must be approved by the judge. If he/she feels there is anything "inequitable," they will not approve it. We have a 30 day waiting period once filed, then its over.
Don't think you don't have "assets." Everything you own that was acquired during the marriage is a marital asset (think household furniture/goods, vehicles, any checking/savings accounts, retirement accounts, etc.). Everything must be equitably distributed.
[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 3:05 PM, March 20th (Thursday)]