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.