If an individual has been separated for an extended period of time, which includes living in separate residences and leading different lives, he or she may feel like a they are divorced. Furthermore, those who have been separated for a long time may have started dating other individuals, and it can be easy for these individuals to start planning their lives with their new mate. However, it is important to note that divorce and separation are not the same, and acting without understanding divorce and marriage laws can get an individual into significant legal trouble.
What is the Difference Between a Divorce and Separation?
Although two individuals who are separated are no longer sharing their lives together, they are still married under the law. Even though a married couple is not together anymore, they still share legal obligations as a married couple. Although these individuals may be disconnected emotionally, there are a wide range of legal aspects that need to be dealt with, which includes child support, alimony, or any debts that the couple shared when they were still together.
What is Bigamy? Is it Legal in New York?
The legal definition of bigamy is when an individual goes through the act of marriage while still being legally married to another individual. New York Penal Law 255.20 states that it is unlawful to procure a marriage license, commit bigamy, and commit adultery.
New York law recognizes bigamy as a Class E felony. If an individual is convicted of this offense, the penalties could include a prison sentence that ranges from one to four years. Since bigamy is a felony, those who and convicted and sentenced to incarceration will have to serve his or her time in a state prison.
What About a Common Law Divorce?
Unfortunately, there are some individuals who believe an extended separation means they are divorced. However, this is not true. Those who are separated could live the rest of their lives estranged, but the law will still recognize these individuals as a married couple. Those who do not want to be together any longer should proceed with a divorce to prevent any problems from occurring if they want to remarry.
When Will an Individual be Able to get Remarried?
When a divorce is finalized, an individual will be able to get remarried. An individual will need to document his or her marriage history, such as the name of his or her ex-spouse, and an individual will need to disclose the city and state where the divorce proceedings occurred. After the information has been reviewed, a marriage license will be granted, but an indiviudal may need to produce a divorce decree if needed. It is imperative for an indiviudal to wait to proceed with remarriage until the divorce is final.
If an individual is separated and dating another individual, then he or she should obtain a family attorney to start the divorce process. A divorce can take time, so the sooner an individual begins the process, the faster he or she will be able to remarry. Furthermore, an individual should be sure to keep his or her new parter aware of the proceedings, which will keep their partner informed of any support obligations that are mandated from the divorce.
Why an Individual Should Seek Help from an Experienced Family Attorney
If a married individual who is separated wants to get remarried, then it is crucial to hire a divorce attorney to provide guidance with the process. Although a Class E felony is not as serious as other felonies, it is still a felony that could lead to a prison sentence and a criminal record.