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Judgment for Separation Revocable

When a couple is having problems in their marriage, but do not want to divorce, an option is legal separation. Unlike an action for divorce, an action for separation does not terminate the marriage. Instead, the couple lives apart. Like with a divorce the couple can come to an agreement on property division, the principal of equitable division will not be applied to a separation like it would in an action for divorce. However, the separation agreement or judgment of separation can include details related to spousal support, child custody, and child support. There are many reasons that a couple may choose to legally separate instead of getting divorce. One reason is that while a divorce is final, a separation is not. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 203, a judgment for separation is revocable. If you are contemplating separation or divorce, immediately contact an experienced New York divorce lawyer. We understand the intricacies of getting a divorce as well as legally separating. We will represent your interests with skill and sensitivity.

Action for separation

A legal separation is more than one person moving out of the marital home. In order for the courts to recognize the separation, the couple must take steps to make it “legal.” Under § 200 of the Domestic Relations Law, one way to get a legal separation is for the husband or wife to file an action for separation against the other party. The petition must state the reason for the separation. The statute lists 5 possible reasons, including cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, failure to support, adultery, and imprisonment. While some of the reasons are the same as the legal grounds for divorce, some couples are not ready to get a divorce. Divorce is final. Separation can be permanent, but it can also be temporary.

In addition to petitioning the court for a judgment of separation, a couple can also legally separate by executing an agreement of separation. A separation agreement should be signed by both parties, notarized, and filed with the clerk of the county where either of the spouses resides.

Ending a separation

Because of its nonpermanent nature, should the couple choose to resume their relationship, they can rather easily cancel the legal separation. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 203, if you have received a judgment of separation, you can end your separation by petitioning the court that issued the judgment and asking it to revoke the judgment. If the court is satisfied that you and your spouse have reconciled, it will issue an order revoking the separation.

If you have an agreement of separation, the agreement will become void if you and your spouse cohabitate again. Or, you can execute another agreement that states that the separation agreement is void. Note that even a brief, yet temporary reconciliation may void the separation agreement.

Divorce after separation

While some couples reconcile after being separated for a while, others decide that they want to take the next step in ending their relationship and file for divorce. If this happens, the couple can use the separation as a grounds for the divorce, as long as they have lived apart for at least a year and have abided by the terms of the separation order or separation agreement.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Action for divorce: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 170
  2. Action for separation: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 200
  3. Defense of justification: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 202
Domestic Relations Law, section 203: Judgment for separation revocable

Upon the joint application of the parties, accompanied with satisfactory evidence of their reconciliation, a judgment for a separation, forever, or for a limited period, rendered as prescribed in this article, may be revoked at any time by the court which rendered it, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the court thinks fit to impose.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

We know how stressful martial problems and other family issues can be. Yet, deciding to terminate a marriage or even separate is also a very difficult and stressful step to take. At the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, our goal is to find the solution that is right for you. Whether you are seeking a separation or divorce, or you are ready to reconcile, we have the skill and resources to help. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Queens, Suffolk County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

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