The Benefits of Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Just because a married couple decides to live apart does not mean their separation is legally recognized. A legal separation in NY, also known as a “judicial separation,” “separate maintenance,” or “divorce a mensa et thoro,” must be either a judgment of the Court or a notarized written agreement authorizing the spouses to live separately for a period of time.
The terms of the legal separation will usually address important issues, such as:
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Distribution of marital and separate property (separation judgment does not address property)
Filing for legal separation in New York does not automatically lead to divorce, but it can be regarded as a step towards divorce. For example, spouses who hope for reconciliation can opt for a legal separation before filing for divorce. This will allow the couple to test the terms of their arrangement before taking permanent legal action. In New York, if spouses live apart for a period of one year, under a judgment of separation or a filed separation agreement in proper form, they may file for a “no-fault” divorce.
Are you considering a legal separation? We offer complimentary case evaluations. Contact us online today!
What Is a Legal Separation NY?
A married couple can enter into a separation agreement if they are experiencing marital difficulties, but are not yet ready to file for divorce. If a couple believes the marriage is reconcilable, a legal separation would allow them time to live apart and determine how they wish to proceed before making any permanent legal decisions. After one year of legal separation, couples can file for divorce.
Drafting a Separation Agreement
When spouses decide to legally separate, they may choose to draft a written separation agreement, or a spouse may petition for a judgment of separation from a New York court. Many spouses opt to draft a separation agreement because it allows them to make important, mutual decisions without the hassle or interference of the court.
A separation agreement is considered a detailed contract that addresses the rights and responsibilities of each spouse pertaining to matters such as child custody, visitation, spousal support, and property. In the event that the separation ends in divorce, it is important to have these types of agreements already taken care of.
Because these decisions can greatly change each spouse’s way of life, it is in their best interests to obtain separate attorneys who are experienced in matrimonial law. By hiring a family law attorney, each spouse will receive the counsel and consideration they need to make well-informed legal decisions. An attorney can also mediate through conflicts and ensure the family’s best interests are protected. By working with a legal separation attorney in Long Island, spouses can address their individual and family needs while making effective decisions for their personal well-being.
Legal Separation in NY: FAQS
Why Do People Choose A Legal Separation Over A Divorce?
There are 3 common reasons why people choose to get a legal separation instead of a divorce; they can’t afford a divorce, they don’t want to live together but are unsure if they want a divorce, and continued shared benefits like health insurance.
Can Only One Spouse File A Legal Separation Agreement in NY?
No. Both spouses must make a separation agreement together.
What If I Can’t Find My Spouse- Can I Still Get A Legal Separation?
No. Both parties must agree to and sign/notarize the separation agreement in order for it to be legally binding.
Does a Legal Separation End My Marriage?
No. It is a way to legally put your marriage “on hold” while you decide whether or not to get divorced.
How long does legal separation last?
As long or as short as you both agree. If you plan on using a legal separation as a basis for your divorce, it must be in effect for at least one year.
Get More Information About Legal Separation
At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, we understand that legal and family law issues can carry significant emotional and personal challenges. We urge you to consider working with an experienced and compassionate attorney so your case can be resolved smoothly.
Our legal team excels in matters of negotiation and mediation and is dedicated to helping our clients achieve successful results. When you work with our team, you can feel confident knowing we will do everything in our power to help you achieve a favorable resolution without resorting to expensive litigation.
Learn More About Legal Separation in NY. Call a Long Island Separation Attorney from Wisselman, Harounian & Associates at 516-773-8300! We serve all of Long Island and NYC, including all Five Boroughs.