No, you don’t have to be separated. In fact, many people like to live together even for a period of time after the divorce is complete while they’re trying to sell the marital home and things like that but the court will look at separation in determining whether or not to grant the divorce at that time. So, in other words, if you don’t have any minor children, you must wait at least 60 days from the time the complaint for divorce is filed and when the judgment of divorce is to be entered.
If you have minor children, the statutory waiting period is 180 days or 6 months. However, that statutory waiting period can be waived if the judge finds that there is good cause and that it’s in the best interest of the children to waive that waiting period and let the divorce be granted sooner. It’ll never be granted sooner than 60 days but it could be granted sooner than 6 months if the judge is convinced that it’s in the best interest of the children. One of the factors they would look at in that circumstance is whether or not the parties have already been separated and living apart and whether the kids are used to that and the adjustment period has occurred.