NYC Separation Agreements Lawyers
Few people enter a marriage thinking that the union might one day disintegrate. However, there may be instances when spouses grow apart. In New York State, however, such an occurrence does not always mean the couple must divorce.
Under state law, marriage partners are afforded the opportunity to enter into a legal separation and draft a separation agreement. If you reside in New York City and might be facing these circumstances, a New York City Separation Agreement lawyer may be able to offer assistance.
Legal Separation Defined
A legal split allows spouses to live apart and enjoy a “cooling off period” during which time they can attempt to iron out their differences or reach the conclusion that divorcing would offer the most favorable outcome. That said, a separation agreement must be filed with a court of law which would approve the arrangement and enter the contract into official court record.
There is no definitive time period for how long a legal separation can last. However, if the action has been in existence for one year, either spouse can then seek a divorce if he or she so desires. It is also important to note that during the separation’s duration, the couple in question still remains legally wedded and are not free to remarry.
What Is A Separation Agreement?
This document, also known as a separation arrangement or separation contract, dictates how the couple’s legal, financial and personal responsibilities will be handled while the contract is in effect.
In order for the agreement to be considered official, both spouses must agree to the written terms and ratify the contract with their signatures. In addition, the filing document, legally referred to as a complaint is also required to include other key information such as the names of the parting spouses, the monikers of their minor children (if applicable), each spouse’s new intended living arrangements (as spouses granted legal separation must live apart at al times during the split) and grounds for the separation.
Are Grounds Necessary?
A spouse can seek a legal separation based upon the following legal grounds: abandonment, an adulterous relationship, the incarceration of one spouse for a period lasting no less than three years and inhumane treatment (neglect, physical or mental abuse).
Why Opt To Enter Into A Separation Agreement Instead Of Just Divorcing?
Arguably, the most common reason spouses choose to initially ratify a separation contract is simply because they feel their union could be salvageable and wish to explore every possible opportunity to preserve it. In some instances, religious beliefs may prevent a spouse from seeking divorce. Moreover, separation agreements may enable certain spouses to enjoy more favorable financial benefits.
What Issues Do Separation Agreements Resolve?
From a financial standpoint, a separation arrangement will resolve issues such as how a couple’s assets (checking, savings, investment accounts, vehicles, homes and other tangible property) will be divided, as well as defining each spouse’s obligation in terms of satisfying debts including mortgages, monthly bills, various insurance payments, car notes and other loans.
Should the separating spouses be the parents of minor children, their separation contract may also include details regarding pertinent issues relating to their offspring such as who will retain custody, establishing visitation rights for the non-custodial parent and negotiating child support payments.
Though spouses can offer suggestion as to how specific matters surrounding their children should be handled, a court might ultimately be the deciding factor and, in such cases, will render decisions that serve the children in question’s best interests.
How Can A Lawyer’s Counsel Prove Beneficial?
Spouses contemplating a separation agreement will often seek the assistance of a lawyer with experience drafting such legal contracts. An attorney may be able to help his or client identify additional issues in need of resolution or help negotiate better terms prior to the contract’s adoption. If you need the services of a New York City Separation Agreement lawyer, please contact us today.