New York Separation Lawyer
Once you and your spouse decide to make the difficult decision to legally separate, you now have the task of dealing with life-changing issues. For example, how you will run two households on an income that previously ran one, work out parenting time, temporary custody of children and determining how assets will be divided.
On top of all your other financial responsibilities, paying a New York separation lawyer is something you would love to avoid, and may even avoid. After all, the Internet is awash with self-help legal resources, but whether you should rely on them is another matter.
Understanding Legal Separation
Legal separation can be a confusing term because it has several meanings. In states like New York, there’s a formal court procedure for getting a legal separation. The process is similar to obtaining a divorce and begins with filing a formal request in court. Like divorce, the court will then determine issues related to alimony, child support, division of property, custody, and visitation. Once everything is accomplished, you are now considered legally separated, but you cannot remarry.
Despite the availability of this option, couples do not use them as frequently. In fact, after trial separation (where no legal paperwork is filed), only 18 percent of couples file for legal separation. Out of those who filed for legal separation, 87 percent end up filing for divorce.
In many cases, separating couples choose to go for a formal written agreement – the Property Settlement Agreement. This agreement is a legally binding contract between spouses. Such arrangements are popular because:
• Couples end up saving time and money since the court is not involved while entering into the agreement
• The agreements address the same issues found in a legal separation proceeding
• In case of violation by one spouse, the other can apply to the court for enforcement
Hiring a Lawyer for Legal Separation
New York has in place a legal separation court procedure that may see you end up in court. You will need to prepare, file a court petition, have the papers served on your spouse, and follow strict legal regulations and rules as your case makes its way through the court processes. In reality, you have just as much at stake as if you were filing for a divorce. Some of the things the judge will decide in your separation case if you do not come up with a settlement include:
• Child and spousal support
• Custody of children
• Parenting time
• Dividing up of bank and retirement accounts
Considering everything that is on the line, it makes sense to hire someone who handles such cases for a living. Representing yourself is not the best option, considering your emotional state and difficulty in maintaining complete objectivity. However, a knowledgeable New York separation lawyer will empathize with you, what you are going through, and objectively guide you through the entire process.
Whatever the facts surrounding your case, your lawyer has likely seen it before. This means that he or she has insight on what lies ahead. Of course, no two cases are the same, but having a sense of how a situation is likely going to play out is a valuable guide for you as your case progresses.