Legal Separation in New York

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Many people are unaware of other options to separate from their partner legally. Divorce is not the only option in the state of New York. There are two ways to legally separate, the most common is entering into a legal separation agreement. The second possibility is a judgment of separation that one spouse can have granted by the New York Supreme Court. Legal separation generally takes place when a couple cannot get along anymore and wants to live apart. Making a legal separation agreement allows them to do so while having binding terms to regulate finances and the children involved. Living separately for years does not make a couple legally separated. There must be an agreement made in order to have legally binding terms of the separation.

What Must a Separation Agreement Include?

  • Child custody agreements
  • Child support and spousal support agreements
  • Property division and debt division

Judgment of Separation in NY

The second method to become legally separated is receiving a judgment of separation. This process involves suing your spouse for legal separation. This is not a common method due to the cost, it generally involves as much money as suing for divorce. The differences between suing for separation rather than divorce is that abandonment can be less than a year and it can be based on not receiving support from the other spouse. In order to sue for divorce, abandonment needs to be for a longer period (one or more years) and cannot be based on non-support.

A spouse may choose to seek a judgment of separation for any of the following reasons:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Non-support from the spouse
  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Spouse being confined in prison for three or more consecutive years

Process of Legal Separation

There are other names for a legal separation including 'limited divorce,' 'separation from bed and board' and 'judicial separation.' It is important to note that a legally separated couple is still technically married. They are relieved of marital obligations and can live separate but they cannot remarry without officially being divorced. Couples often choose this route of separation because their religions do not believe in divorce. Others choose separation as a "cooling-off period" in their marriage. Either way, this is a beneficial way to separate legally and have binding terms to regulate the process. In order to receive a legal separation, the spouses will need to meet together with a mediator. This generally happens with attorneys as well plus the third party neutral. If you are considering this process, contact a Staten Island divorce attorney from The Law Offices of Adelola Sheralynn Dow right away. The meditator and the lawyers help guide the conversation in order to settle all issues involved. The conversation will determine all of the following:

  • Where the parties will live
  • How the assets will be divided
  • If spousal support will be provided
  • Child support matters
  • Who receives custody both legally and physically
  • Health care and insurance plans

In order to successfully agree upon all matters, there may need to be several sessions. After both parties have reached agreements, a separation agreement will be drafted. Both spouses will need to sign the agreement and have it notarized. After the agreement is signed, the attorney will file the documents with the court.

Need a lawyer for legal separation in New York?

If you think that legal separation is a viable option for your situation, consult with skilled Staten Island divorce lawyer A. Sheralynn Dow. Be aware of your rights and the details of the process. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a Legal Strategy Session, contact The Law Offices of Adelola Sheralynn Dow today!