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Separation Agreements in Suffolk & Nassau Counties
If you and your spouse have decided to separate but are not yet sure about filing and finalizing a divorce, you may want to consider a separation agreement. At Hedayati Law Group P.C., our family law attorneys in Long Island have years of experience dealing with complicated divorce and separation issues throughout New York City and Long Island, including Melville. Allow us to guide you through this difficult time, protecting your rights and best interests from start to finish.
Grounds for Legal Separation in NY
Legal separation is an option available to couples who wish to live separately but remain legally married in New York. This decision can be based on a variety of reasons, including irreconcilable differences, infidelity, or financial disagreements. The grounds for legal separation in NY are similar to those for divorce, including abandonment, cruelty, imprisonment, and adultery.
However, unlike a divorce, legal separation does not fully dissolve the marriage, and spouses are not permitted to remarry. While legal separation may not be the ideal outcome for every couple, it can provide a sense of clarity and stability to those who are not yet ready to pursue a divorce.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce New York
In many ways, separation is an entirely different animal than divorce, yet both have similar end goals in mind: the preservation of each spouse’s happiness by finding time to focus on themselves.
A separation agreement is not something that you can apply for through the court, and it is not something that the court grants; rather, it is a legally binding contract. Agreements that are written poorly can lead to confusion and future discrepancies. As such, it is imperative that you contact a Long Island legal separation attorney from our office to draft your separation agreement with the proper language that will make the agreement clear, concise, and solid. It becomes official when the signatures of both spouses are recorded on the agreement by a notary public.
With that said, it is, therefore, necessary that each spouse consents to a legal separation agreement, or it will not be enforceable. For example, if one spouse is unreachable or otherwise unable to consent to the agreement, the separation procedure cannot advance. As a result, it is essential that both parties are on the same terms as they enter a separation.
Why You Should Consider legal separation in New York
It is important to know that when a couple decides to separate and live apart, it does not mean that there is a dissolution of the marriage. However, after the separation agreement has been legally binding for more than one year, you can petition for divorce. In this specific situation, you can be granted a “conversion” divorce, which allows a spouse to file for divorce based solely on the separation agreement, and additional grounds for divorce are not necessary.
Benefits of Legal Separation in NY
But why not divorce in the first place? Consider these benefits to separation:
- More comfortable pace: Divorcing is a major life decision, perhaps even more impactful than getting married. Rather than diving in and committing to ending your marriage, a separation can act as a trial period apart, letting you both know if that is really what you want before you get into the thick of a legal dispute.
- Living apart: This give the spouses an opportunity to live separately without ending the marriage. This can be beneficial for couples who are not yet ready for divorce but need some space or time apart.
- Burdens shared: Once you divorce, any debts you accrue are probably going to be all on your shoulders. In a separation, debts collected due to necessary expenses – such as raising a child – can still be considered marital assets split between you and your possible-ex-spouse.
- Financial considerations: This can help establish financial boundaries and arrangements during the separation period. It allows for the division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, and other financial matters to be addressed and legally enforced.
- Religious reasons: Many people have a strong religious opposition to divorce, as they consider their marriage sacred, albeit dysfunctional. Separation can allow people to find peace of mind without making them question their personal beliefs.
- Insurance benefits: A married couple usually gets more insurance – and tax – benefits than people who are single or without family. Separation will maintain these benefits as you figure out what to do next with your marriage, whereas divorce would have instantly eliminated them.
- Child custody and visitation: This allows parents to establish a formal agreement regarding the care and support of their children, ensuring their well-being during the separation period.
- Legal protection: By obtaining a legal separation, couples can have a court-approved agreement that outlines their rights and obligations. This can provide both parties with legal protection and enforceability, reducing potential conflicts and uncertainties during the separation period.