An alternative to filing for divorce is a legal separation. A legal separation is an option when the spouses do not want to file for divorce but wish to no longer life together. Many of the issues that can be settled in a divorce can be settled in a legal separation. However, the parties are still legally married and not legally able to remarry. New York allows spouses to enter into a Separation Agreement. This agreement is a legally enforceable contract between the parties which addresses spousal support, child custody, visitation rights, and the division of marital property. If the parties wish to later divorce “it may be included in the divorce judgment.” Once the agreement is signed by both parties in front of a notary the legal date of separation begins. The agreement is then “filed with the Clerk of the County in New York where either spouse lives.” Once a year has passed and the “separation agreement terms were substantially followed,” either party may file for a no-fault divorce.
However, a separation may be granted for one or more of the following grounds: adultery, abandonment, imprisonment for three or more consecutive years, neglect of and failure to provide support for the wife, or cruel and inhuman treatment. The Supreme Court of the State of New York may also grant a Judgment of Separation based on the same grounds listed above.
If contemplating a legal separation seek out the advice of the experienced Family Law attorneys at Simonetti & Associates.
Reference: New York Legal Separation (available at
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