separation n1 : cessation of cohabitation between a married couple by mutual agreement with intent that it be permanent
: legal separation compare divorce NOTE: In some cases in which the estrangement is extreme, a separation is considered to have occurred even when the couple retain the same residence if they have stopped communicating and engaging in sexual relations and intend to be separated.
2 : termination of a contractual relationship (as employment or military service)
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.