If you have been separated from your wife for 10 years and she has ignored divorce papers can you file for a legal separation including the 10 years and what benefits would this have?

Filing for a legal separation would not benefit you at all. You would still be legally married. Most states in the US do not recognize separations any more because a couple remains legally married under a separation. You need to file for a divorce. The legal divorce will take effect on the day the judgment is granted. Your wife does not have to consent to the divorce. Until you are legally divorced you each remain the legal spouse of the other and by that legal relationship one will be first to inherit property when the first spouse dies.

All is needed is to submit a motion for default against the non-responding spouse in the court where the original divorce petition was filed. Once the motion has been filed the spouse will be served with a summons stating that the divorce has been granted on the grounds of their failure to respond to the original dissolution of marriage summons. When a default order has been issued the spouse loses the right to contest any of the terms contained in the original petition.