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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.