What is A Legal Separation?

A legal separation offers a way for couples to separate themselves while remaining legally married. In a legal separation both parties sign an agreement, which states that they will no longer live together, though this does not automatically lead to divorce. The couple may reconcile in the future, in which case they could continue their marriage without further legal action.

The agreement is usually prepared by an attorney and contains information about custody arrangements, child support, and property. After both parties are satisfied with the separation agreement, it is filed with the court clerk, notarized, and confidentially filed away.

How Does Separation Differ From Divorce?

The laws surrounding separation and divorce are often complicated. In NY State, laws are further complicated because when someone wants to file for divorce, either party has to first determine if he or she should file for legal separation or divorce. In NY State, to file for a divorce, a person needs to have proof of one or more of the following:

  • One party has been treated inhumanly or cruelly.
  • One of the parties has been incarcerated in prison for 3 or more years.
  • Adultery has been committed.

So, what does a person do when these offenses don’t apply or he’s unable to provide enough proof? In NY State there is another option: a legal separation.

Important Information about NY State Separation Laws

When people obtain legal separation, it doesn’t mean they cannot divorce in the future if they choose to. In NY State, after a year of legal separation, one could file for divorce.

  • Divorce and legal separation are not the same thing.
  • If someone doesn’t qualify for a divorce under NY law he may pursue a separation.
  • After a separation agreement is made it must be filed through the court.
  • If a person still wants a divorce he can pursue the divorce after one year of legal separation.

It is important that couples who are separating contact local attorneys due to different state laws. Those living in New York should contact separation lawyers in NY, such as Alatsas Law Firm. A separation lawyer will also assist in deciding whether the persons involved should file for divorce or separation. It is usually recommended that both parties obtain their own attorney. Separation lawyers also help to smooth the process of agreeing on a satisfactory legal separation agreement. If you are thinking of obtaining a legal separation, contact Alatsas Law Firm, experienced separation lawyers in Brooklyn and surrounding boroughs.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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