Long Island Family Law Lawyers Draft Legal Separation Agreements

Securing your legal rights without dissolving your marriage

If you are suffering from the challenges you’re experiencing with your marriage and it has you thinking seriously about living apart, but you’re concerned about the consequences of a divorce, you should understand the protections available to you when you secure a legal separation. Simonetti & Associates has more than 29 years of experience in family law serving Nassau and Suffolk County of Long Island. We understand the benefits of legal separation and can help you forge an agreement that takes care of your present needs and gives you added protections in the case of a final divorce.

What is legal separation?

Legal separation is an alternative to divorce for people who cannot continue to live together but do not want to end their marriage. A legal separation addresses issues also covered in divorce proceedings, such as child support, custody, spousal support and the distribution of property. Simply living apart does not confer the benefits of a legal separation.

Reasons for separation

Although a legal separation and a divorce have many aspects in common, separating does have some advantages, including:

  • Giving spouses time away from the conflict of their marriage to decide if divorce is what they truly want
  • Allowing spouses to retain medical insurance and other benefits that divorce would terminate
  • Not offending religious beliefs that conflict with divorce
  • Allowing a military spouse to accrue enough married time to take advantage of benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

How do spousal support and child support factor into a legal separation?

When a couple simply chooses to live apart, there may be an informal understanding about finances, but there is no legally enforceable order. That means that a dependent spouse and children of the marriage have no guarantee of receiving the funds they need. When a couple files for legal separation, the court assesses the financial situation and issues an order that protects the children and the dependent spouse. As with divorce, the recipient of support has recourse for the court to enforce payment when the obligor spouse fails to meet those obligations.

Legal separation agreements expedite a final divorce

In most cases, a legal separation ends in a divorce. New York has a conversion divorce mechanism that allows parties to obtain a divorce pursuant to the separation decree or a separation agreement after more than a year. The party seeking the divorce must have substantially complied with the terms of the separation decree or agreement to prove this fault ground for divorce. Unless the existing agreement has caused verifiable hardship, the court will apply those terms to the divorce order, so it’s very important to have an experienced attorney obtain fair terms when you settle your legal separation.

Contact our Long Island legal separation lawyers to arrange a complimentary case evaluation

Simonetti & Associates has the experience necessary to negotiate a fair legal separation agreement. Contact us online or call 877-385-2560 to schedule your free consultation. We offer flexible hours at our Woodbury and downtown New York locations and affordable rates.