Hello again, Suzanne.
It is not required by law that you retain an attorney, but an attorney should at least review the agreement you enter into with your spouse to ensure it provides each of you with the rights and obligations that you intend, before you execute it and file it with the court.
Yes, after the proper pleadings are filed with the court, a hearing should normally be set in which the court will review the records, take any testimony that may be appropriate, and either grant or deny the requested separation
. If you do not wish to appear at the hearing yourself, then you would typically need to retain a local attorney to appear on your behalf.
I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please let me know if you were looking for any additional information.
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