New York Separation
Under New York family law, a legal separation is an arrangement by which married couples remain married, but live separately pursuant to a court order. The court order is significant as it outlines the duties and responsibilities of each person related to such matters as child custody, division of property, living arrangements, spousal maintenance, and child support. There are many reasons that couples choose legal separation over divorce, including that the couple simple is unsure whether or not they are ready to dissolve their marriage. Of course a couple can always simply live apart while they work through their differences without seeking a separation agreement. However, under New York divorce law a legal separation offers certain protections. For example, if there is ever a disagreement regarding property division the contents of the court order could resolve that and other issues. If you are contemplating separating, considering contacting a New York separation lawyer who explain to you the legal ramifications of a legal separation and who will represent your interests throughout the process.Common reasons couples choose separation over divorce
There are many reasons that couple choose to separate but do not divorce. One reason is that the couple is that although the couple has problems in their marriage and find it difficult to live together, they are not ready to end the marriage. Other common reasons couples separate but do not divorce include:
- Continuation of benefits. Certain benefits such as medical insurance, social security benefits, and military benefits require marriage to continue.
- Religious beliefs. Some people’s religious benefits prohibit or discourage divorce.
Unlike a divorce, a couple and choose to end a legal separation and remain married. A divorce, on the other hand, is final.Legal separation in New York
In New York couples can get a legal separation by entering into a legal separation agreement or through a court order. In both instances the arrangement is legally binding. Legal separation agreements are filed at the county clerk's office by the spouses. After a year one spouse can choose to file for divorce.
A legal separation can also be obtained by court order. This type of legal separation tends to be more contentious then one obtained by a legal separation agreement. One spouse may need to request a separation judgment from a court on the grounds of fault. This type of separation is also known as a “bed and board” divorce. Grounds for separation by court order include: adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, neglect of and failure to provide support, and cruel and inhuman treatment.
The issues addressed in legal separation agreements or court orders may include:
- Division of property. Equitable distribution rules apply to property accumulated during marriage such as vehicles, real estate, investment accounts, checking accounts and savings accounts.
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody
- Debt division.
If you are wondering if a legal separation is the right step for you, it is important that you discuss your particular situation with experienced representation. The staff at the Law Officers of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients New York Supreme Court and New York Family Court with issues related to separation, dissolution of marriage, child custody, child support and spousal support. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.