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NYC Legal Separation Lawyers

For people living in NYC, the law allows certain individuals options for their marital status to change. These options don’t necessarily mean divorcing, however. Legal separation occurs when two spouses decide to stop cohabitating. This is different from a common divorce in a few ways.

The biggest difference is the marital status. When a couple legally separates, they are considered to no longer be engaged in a relationship, but they’re still legally married. When spouses agree to enter a separation agreement, they must sign a contract that outlines their responsibilities regarding property rights, child custody, visitation rights, and spousal support. These terms are legally binding, and failure to complete designated responsibilities could result in legal repercussions. If one spouse fails to uphold their obligations, potential future divorce proceedings might be complicated.

Because the contract deals with so many sensitive parts of family law, it’s important to have an experienced legal separation lawyer to draft the contract. Attorneys for both spouses will work together to negotiate terms and compromises. The end goal is to create a contract that satisfies every involved party.

Satisfying the involved parties might include minor agreements, like the wither spouse’s living arrangements, the specific times for child visitations, and the distribution of assets that both spouses could claim. When all aspects of the separation agreement have been approved by both parties, it must be filed with the county clerk for the couple’s New York county.

After one year being legally separated, the separation case will undergo review. At this point, the spouses will decide whether they want to reconcile or file a petition for a divorce.

Before any legal documents can be drafted or any negotiations can begin, both parties must be certain they want to legally separate. Legal separation cannot be negotiated if one party wants to stay together, or one party wants to divorce rather than separate. The separation agreement must receive an official notarization and the signatures of both parties. After the notarization is complete, the couple must decide what their legal marital status will be in the future.

Legal separation is often negotiated amicably between the parties, and spouses often reach the decision by themselves. However, this isn’t always the case. If a spouse meets certain separation qualifications, they can seek to be legally separated. Some circumstances for separation include:

  • One spouse has abandoned the other
  • There has been cruel treatment in the marriage
  • One spouse has been the victim of adultery or neglect
  • A wife is not receiving support from their spouse

When heated disputes or domestic violence cases occur, spouses have the right to file formal criminal complaints against their partners. This might result in the other being issued a summons. It doesn’t matter whether the incident is an isolated circumstance or part of a pattern of behavior. When this circumstance occurs, the New York Supreme Court must use a Judgment of Separation to determine which of the parties is at fault. They will also decide whether the marital status meets the requirements for a divorce.

The results of the judgment vary widely depending on the findings. Some judgments don’t grant separation. When this occurs, one spouse can petition that the court hasten separation proceedings. This causes cases to move faster than average, which can lessen the waiting period between divorce and separation. Rather than waiting one year after the separation agreement, a couple might wait only a few months before divorce.

No matter what decision the court makes, the couple is required to file for divorce themselves. In some states, one year of legal separation ends in an automatic divorce. However, in New York, divorces always occur after the parties file such a motion in court.

If the spouses are completing a legal separation agreement in New York, they must have both resided in and been married in the state for at least one year. This requirement must be met if couples wish to be applicable for divorce in the year following their separation. If only one spouse lives in the state, they cannot divorce for two years, as opposed to one year.

No time constraints are placed on couples to divorce.