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You might have heard of other couples getting separated, and now that you and your spouse have decided that you want to end your marriage, you could be wondering what steps you should take. Working with a team of Brooklyn legal separation lawyers can help you get started with the dissolution of your marriage.
What is a Legal Separation?
Put simply, if you and your spouse get a legal separation, you will be considered to be “taking a break.” It is important to understand that a legal separation is not the same thing as a divorce. If you choose to go through with your divorce, then you will be able to remarry, for example. This is not something that you can do while you’re legally separated.
Instead, you will still be considered to be husband and wife. However, legally, it will be recognized that the two of you are not currently living with one another as a married couple. During your separation, you will keep separate households.
A lot of couples who have divorce in mind use a legal separation as a stepping stone toward getting divorced. Some couples who get legally separated do not actually get divorced, though. In some cases, couples are able to work out their problems while they are legally separated; then, in the future, they move back in and resume living as a married couple.
Should My Spouse and I Get Legally Separated?
If you and your spouse have been talking about getting a divorce, it’s a good idea to become legally separated. If the two of you are still at least somewhat interested in working out your issues, a legal separation might help. While you are separated, you can take some time apart to think about things and determine if you want to continue your marriage. Some couples opt for marriage counseling while they are legally separated to help them make this determination.
Even if you aren’t interested in getting back together, getting separated can help you get the wheels turning in the right direction for your divorce. After you have been separated for a certain period of time, such as one year, you can then move forward in filing for a divorce.
Some couples even choose to stay legally separated in the long-term. For example, you and your spouse might not be interested in getting back together, but you may want to enjoy some of the financial benefits of being married, such as being able to file your taxes as a married couple or being able to benefit from one another’s employee benefits.
Can I File a Legal Separation on My Own?
You could be wondering if it’s actually necessary to hire Brooklyn legal separation lawyers to help you with your separation. It is possible for you and your spouse to go through the steps of filing for a legal separation without seeking legal representation to help you, but this isn’t usually the best idea.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help with My Legal Separation Filing?
It is generally best to hire Brooklyn legal separation lawyers to help you when you’re filing for a legal separation. Then, you can make sure that all of your paperwork is done properly so that you won’t have problems during the filing process or later on.
How Can I Begin Preparing for My Divorce When Filing for a Separation?
For many couples, filing for a legal separation is the first step toward getting a divorce. This means that the steps that you take now will have a big impact on how the rest of the divorce process goes.
Going ahead and choosing a good lawyer to help with your separation helps you get one step out of the way. For one thing, your lawyer can help you make sure that your legal separation is filed properly so that there are no problems later. The same attorney who helps you with filing your legal separation can also help you with other steps of getting your divorce, so it’s important to choose wisely when you’re looking for a lawyer.
The right team of Brooklyn legal separation lawyers can make a big difference during this difficult time in your life. Hire the right attorney now, and you can help make sure that everything goes smoothly throughout the rest of the divorce process. This might not make getting divorced easy, but it can help make it easier and less stressful.
Legal separation is an option that every married couple is entitled to in the state of New York. The process allows coupled individuals to remain legally married, but yet considered legally separated under the eyes of the law. Typically these spouses agree to specified terms that are unique to their situation, such as child or spousal support.
Drafting Your Legal Separation Agreement
Attorneys can help to draft the agreements in order to protect and also satisfy all parties involved, especially in regard to minor agreements within the agreement such as living arrangements, specific time arrangements for child custody or visitation, and distribution of property or assets. Having an attorney who is looking out for your best interests is most important from a court’s standpoint when considering the validity of the specified separation agreement.
Grounds for Legal Separation
In the state of New York, any spouse can request legal separation on the basis of adultery, neglect, cruel treatment or abandonment by the other partner. In the case of spousal support, wives can request a legal separation if their spouse has not been fully supporting them. New York, unlike many others, does not grant a divorce automatically with just one year of legal separation.
The Pros and Cons of Legal Separation
As with most major life decisions, there are pros and cons to be weighed when considering a legal separation. This option may not be right for every couple. Here is a list of the most important things to take into consideration:
The Pros of Legal Separation
- Legal separation gives spouses the space and time they need to carefully consider if divorce is really what they want.
- You still have the right to be on your spouse’s health insurance.
- Some couples use their time in legal separation as an opportunity to commit to marriage counseling.
- Any years you spend legally separated still count as marriage years. Because of this, you will still be eligible to get your spouse’s social security retirement benefits. (You need to have been married for at least 10 years to get your spouse’s social security.)
- Legal separation is a way to get out of a marriage that is making you unhappy without violating your religious beliefs.
- The separation agreement itself can be very useful if you do end up divorcing your spouse. This is because the family court judge might let you use your legal separation agreement as a basis for the terms of the divorce.
The Cons of Legal Separation
- Legal separation does not dissolve your lawful marriage. Even though you no longer reside together, you still maintain financial, legal and logistical ties to your spouse.
- Spouses who fight a lot or do not communicate well might have a hard time creating a separation agreement.
- During the separation, you are not legally allowed to get married to anyone else.
- If there was domestic abuse in your marriage, legal separation is not the best option for you.
- You are required to wait one year to use a separation agreement as the basis for a divorce.
For legal advice, contact a brooklyn legal separation agreement attorney who has years of experience in the area of legal separations.
Getting Started With Your Legal Separation Process
To even begin the legal separation process, all involved must completely agree on all the terms and obligations before the agreement is signed, filed and notarized. Once this document is agreed upon by all parties, both will sign it and it will then need to be notarized by a notary public.
Divorce After Legal Separation
Sometimes the separation agreement can be considered to “survive” the divorce judgment, which means that the agreement can stay completely valid and can also be enforced by the court on its own. New York has an option of a “no fault divorce” which simply means that more than six months has occurred since the breakdown of their marriage and reconciliation is not possible. Most of the time, divorces will be granted after one year of legal separation has occurred which includes living apart and using the separation agreement.
Some judges can permit or require the agreement be specifically included within the divorce judgment and certain legal language most definitely be written inside as well, but some judges do not agree with that standpoint. Every marriage and potential separation or divorce is completely different and unique in its own right, so acquiring an attorney to represent your beliefs and needs is most definitely vital to get your future lifestyle up to the standard that you feel like it needs to be.
However, once the separation agreement is agreed upon by both parties, it can be very difficult to change any of the terms included inside the legal document. In the cases of child support, the court typically cannot easily modify or change those portions of the separation agreement. This is just easier for the court, since all things were previously decided upon, the court can decide to keep the provisions the same in order to simplify the process.
Reconciliation After Legal Separation
In the event of reconciliation, there are two different routes that couples can take. The separation agreement can then be considered to be void and invalid, or there can be a provision inside of the agreement that allows reconciliation to occur and maintain the agreement in its entirety. And with a legal separation, both spouses are able to get back together with one another at any moment that they see fit. The agreement can then be voided by a second agreement that states that the first agreement is invalid, at which time a notary public will be present and will sign the new form.
Challenging a Legal Separation Agreement
To challenge the separation agreement, each spouse needs a different attorney to look out for their best interests. Without having attorneys, courts could decide that it is unenforceable and unfair to one spouse or the other. Disclosing each and every asset that you have is so very important to the fraud aspect of the separation agreement; the court expects complete honesty with regard to assets and money especially. Using any form of pressure to get the other spouse to sign the document is not acceptable in any manner and can be grounds for the court to not enforce the document at all.
Making sure that your best interests are the first priority is highly vital to any legal process, which is why it is best to have an attorney to stand up for your rights. Here at Spodek Law Group, we will give your individual case the unique and undivided attention it needs. Contact us online or by phone at your convenience, and we will try our best to make any legal experience a good one.