If things with you and your spouse are not working out as planned but you don’t necessarily want to go through the process of a divorce, you can file to be legally separated from each other. This is different than a divorce because the spouses are still legally married and cannot legally remarry. In a legal separation, agreements can be met that draw up how spousal support, child custody, visitation rights, and a division of the marital property will all work out between the spouses.
The grounds for a legal separation are adultery, abandonment, and imprisonment for three or more consecutive years, neglect of and failure to provide support for a wife, and cruel and inhuman treatment. Separation deals with a lot of the same grounds as divorce does. In order to get the separation in motion, the defendant spouse must be served a summons and it must be done by personal service, which means that a person must physically hand the defendant spouse the summons. An experienced matrimonial attorney usually draws up the separation and it details that the spouses agree to live separately from each other. The agreement also determines the duties of the husband and wife when it comes to such things as child custody and visitation, support, and distribution of assets and liabilities. The contract is then filed with the clerk in the counties where each of the spouses is living and then after a year, either spouse can file for a no-fault divorce. Filing for separation is a less stressful process than divorce because you don’t have to finalize any details or determine exactly who gets what in terms of property and assets and can be revisited.
If you are living in Wantagh, New York, the same process still applies for filing for separation, as the laws for separation are statewide. If you are thinking about separation, then consult with an experienced attorney and make sure it is the best decision for you.