There is a big difference between an action for separation and an action for divorce. In a divorce, the Court has the authority to divide the marital assets and debts (through a process we can equitable distribution). In a separation, there is no distribution of assets as the law does not give the Court legal authority to divide the assets between the parties. Therefore, if you file only an action for separation rather than for divorce, the accumulation of income and assets continues to be deemed marital property. It does not necessarily mean, however, that income and assets acquired after an action for separation is commenced will be divided between the parties on an equal basis when a divorce is ultimately granted, as the Court has the discretion to make the award as it deems "equitable". I would recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney if this issue is of crucial concern to you.
Mr. Rosen practices matrimonial and family law in Great Neck, NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. You are strongly advised to confer with an attorney in your own state to acquire more information suited to your particular circumstances.