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Here at Spodek Law Group, one of the primary areas of law we focus on is legal separation. When you no longer wish to live with your spouse, but don’t yet want to file for divorce, it’s possible that you could seek a legal separation when living in the Bronx. Once you know more about a legal separation and how it differs from a divorce, you’ll have a better idea of which route you’d like to take.
What is a Legal Separation?
In a legal separation, you’re still legally married to your spouse but are simply living apart from one another. However, many of the key decisions that must be made before a divorce occurs will also need to be made when requesting a legal separation. It’s important to understand that once a legal separation ends, you will still be married to your spouse and cannot remarry during the separation. When you’re legally separating from your spouse, a contract will need to be made and signed by each spouse in order for the separation to be legal. This contract includes an agreement on spousal support, child custody, and visitation rights.
What you should be aware of before starting to work on such a contract is that they can be comprehensive and very detailed. If you attempt to look over the contract by yourself before signing it, you could easily miss something that makes the contract unfair to you, which we want to help you avoid. Contracts for legal separation should generally be fair to both spouses, although extenuating circumstances may dictate that one spouse deserves more within the contract than the other. If one spouse doesn’t comply with the contract, the courts can enforce this contract.
It’s important to note that a refusal to comply with the contract might be considered by the judge in any future divorce case with your current spouse. The highly detailed contract will typically be taken care of by your attorney. If you select us to represent your case, we will fill out all of the paperwork so that you don’t have to. We will also strive to make sure that the contract is as beneficial to you as possible. Once all of the details of the contract have been agreed upon by both parties and the contract is signed, the final document will be filed at the Clerk of whichever county each spouse lives.
This finalized agreement typically lasts for a duration of one year. At the conclusion of this year, it’s possible to file for a no-fault divorce or get back together if you and your spouse no longer want to live apart from one another. Divorce can be filed by either spouse. The contract you sign is legally binding, so if you attempt to go against certain aspects of the contract, such as child custody, it’s possible for your spouse to file charges against you. You can find additional information about legal separation and the differences between it and divorce at Findlaw.com.
While separation agreements and contracts are considered by a judge to be valid in New York, there are a selection of issues that could cause a judge to no longer enforce this agreement. For instance, it’s generally believe that each spouse should have their own attorney to deal with the contract and the details within. If only one spouse has retained an attorney, the judge might consider the contract to be unfair. There are also times when the agreement was signed under duress or coercion by one spouse on another. If this is found to be the case, the agreement is not valid.
The same holds true if it’s found that one spouse didn’t report all of their assets properly. The judge will also determine if the contract is unfair to one spouse, which typically means that one spouse is left with practically nothing in the agreement. If such a determination is made, the contract will not be valid. NYCbar.org has more information about the challenges that can be made against a separation agreement, which you should peruse if you’re considering challenging the contract you’ve previously made.
How We Can Help You Get a Legal Separation
At Spodek Law Group, we have a lot of experience with legal separation cases. As well-trained and highly motivated lawyers, we always act in the best interests of our clients and will do what we can to obtain the most favorable possible conclusion to your case. When you first retain our services, we’ll take care of everything, from the paperwork that needs to be filled out and filed to negotiating a legal separation contract before you sign it. We’ll help you identify whether or not the agreement is fair to you and will help you make the final decision on if you should sign it. If you’re currently seeking a legal separation and require assistance in the matter, call us now to schedule for free consultation.
A married couple living in New York can obtain a legal separation. This is often the choice of couples who no longer want to reside in the same home but are uncertain about getting a divorce. Legal separation is often a time for couples to work on resolving issues and reunite or decide it’s time for them to file for divorce.
If only one spouse is a resident of New York at the time of the filing of the legal separation, they must have been a resident of New York for two years. This requirement could be decreased to a single year if the spouses were married in New York. There are no residency time requirements if both of the spouses resided in New York when their legal separation was filed, and the grounds for the separation occurred in New York.
In New York, it is common for a separation agreement to be prepared by an experienced attorney. This is a legal agreement a married couple will enter into together. The agreement will identify the amount of spousal support, who will pay it, child custody as well as visitation rights, distribution of marital assets as well as debt and more. Once a separation agreement is completed and signed by both spouses, it needs to be filed with the Clerk of Courts in the New York county where one or both of the spouses reside. Should a spouse not comply with a separation agreement, they could be forced to comply by a court. It is possible for the separation agreement to be part of a divorce judgment.
It some situations, a spouse will challenge the separation agreement once it’s in place. It is possible for a spouse to challenge the separation agreement if the couple had the same attorney. A court will view this as a possible sign of unfairness. A spouse may challenge it for fraud. They could have discovered the other spouse had undisclosed assets and more. It’s possible a spouse may challenge the agreement because they feel they were coerced or under duress at the time they signed it. A spouse may challenge a separation agreement because they believe it is unfair or inequitable and more.
There are a number of grounds a couple can use to obtain a legal separation in New York. This includes neglect, adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment and more. A couple may obtain a Judgment of Separation from the New York Supreme court. Either spouse, after a year from filing for the Court’s Judgment of Separation, can file for a no-fault divorce. This will be based on the couple living separately for a year. A divorce won’t be automatic and will require court action.
There are couples who prefer a to have a legal separation and not get a divorce because they want to remain in good standing with their religion. Some religions view divorced people in bad ways. Other religions do not permit couples who follow their faith to divorce. A legal separation in most cases will meet the needs of couples in such a situation. It will enable them to live separately and avoid the stigma a divorce would place on them.
Many couples believe they benefit from maintaining their married status when they are legally separated. In many situations, there could be coverage for health insurance that may end if a couple were to divorce. A married couple is only able to receive benefits according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act if they have been married a minimum of ten years. This standard may also apply to Social Security benefits in some circumstances. There are other situations where a legal separation can help both spouses maintain benefits associated with being married.
Should a couple reconcile and begin to live together again, the separation agreement may become invalid. It is possible for a separation agreement to stipulate the agreement is not void if the couple begins to once again reside together. There may be a requirement in a second agreement between the couple requiring them to officially make the initial agreement void. Any type of second agreement needs the signatures of both spouses in front of a notary. The second agreement must also be in proper legal form.
A legal separation agreement can serve many different purposes with a couple. It could give them time to reconsider their situation. It could also maintain various married benefit and more. It would be best to speak about this with an experienced attorney. They will be able to draft the best possible separation agreement based on a couple’s situation.
Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.
Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.
Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.
Our divorce lawyers provide superior service, and results, with a white glove touch that few others can deliver.
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