The New York State Law allows couples who no longer wish to live together to file for legal separation instead of a divorce. Most of the issues that a divorce agreement can settle can be settled in a legal agreement. Unlike a divorce, however, couples will remain married after the legal separation. Most couples lean towards separation according to Divorce Source . This is where we come in, you can contact us in Staten Island to discuss whether separation is the right thing for you and your current partner.
As family and divorce lawyers, we have helped couples draft and also file separation agreements under a number of circumstances. Separation agreements are valid for those who:
• Are not comfortable basing their divorce on other grounds and as a result, choose to take legal separation for one year
• Choose to file for separation with the court to put the legal framework for the divorce ready, but the couple has time to consider whether they want to end their marriage for good
• Have personal, religious or family beliefs that prevent them from filing for divorce
Just like when filing for divorce, agreement between couples is paramount before filing for legal separation. The Separation Agreement, according to the New York State Laws is only fulfilled when spouses agree on issues such as child custody, spousal support, marital property division and visitation rights. In some situations, however, the court can enforce Legal Separation agreements in the event that one spouse does not comply.
Legal separations are supposed to be detailed and are prepared by attorneys. The agreement will stipulate all duties and rights of husband and wife. This agreement, after it is duly prepared, is filed with the Clerk of the County, New York. After a year from the time the separation agreement is filed, either spouse can file a petition for no-fault divorce. Note that under the New York state law, grounds for marital divorce must be established.
Advantages of Legal Separation Over Divorce
When preparing a legal separation agreement, couples do not need to establish any grounds; whether the separation is brought about by personal reasons, religious reasons or any other reason, the court does not bar it. Legal parameters are set after a legal separation agreement where each party will learn their rights and duties. Through a legal separation, there is a door open and the couples can still remarry. If you are considering filing for legal separation, Spodek Law Group can help you.
Legally, separation simply means that a husband and a wife are not living together. A separation agreement, therefore, is the document that stipulates the terms of the separation. It must be voluntary and should be signed by both parties in presence of a notary. The legal separation date starts on the date that both parties sign the agreement and it is notarized. After a year, if all the terms stipulated in the agreement were met, the husband or the wife can file for divorce.
Couples may choose to prepare a separation agreement as outlined on 3Step Agreement or seek the help of family attorneys. The process, however, can be complex based on the unique situations of different marriages. To this end, a family attorney always comes handy. Contact Spodek Law Group to get legal help drafting and filing for legal separation.
The complaint in legal separation includes names and the birth dates of the plaintiff, the minor children and defendant of the marriage. It also includes marriage dates, separation dates, separation grounds, statement of residency and a brief description of the remedies that the couple has sought before coming to separation.
Legal Separation Grounds
According to New York City Bar , legal separation, separation for board and bed, in New York is filed for adultery, imprisonment for more than three years, abandonment, neglect and failure of support for wife and children and inhuman treatment. Separation can also be through judgement by the Supreme Court of New York. Separation by court is based on the four faults grounds as in divorce. However, non-support will also be used by the court when passing judgement for legal separation, and abandonment for less than a year will lead to legal separation judgement by the court. After a year, one of the parties may petition for no-fault divorce.
When drafting and filing a legal separation agreement, at least one spouse must be a resident of New York. The residency requirement is two years but it can be reduced to one year if:
• The couple was married in New York and there is still one party living in New York
• The couple once resided in New York and one party is still a resident
• Grounds for legal separation arose while the couple was in New York
There are no residency period requirements if both parties are living in New York and the grounds for legal separation occurred while in New York. Spodek Law Group can help you draft and file legal separation agreement in Staten Island.
Discussing Cases with Staten Island Annulment Lawyers
When a marriage dissolves, the union usually end in divorce. This is not always the case, though. A legal separation would be one alternative to divorce. In other instances, a marriage could end through an annulment, a completely different legal dissolution than a divorce or a legal separation. With a divorce, a marriage no longer legally exists. With an annulment, the marriage never existed. The courts render the marriage “null and void.” This means the marriage never existed in the first place. With a divorce, the dissolved marriage did previously exist since it was a valid union. Divorce decrees simply state both spouses cease to be married to one another.
The egregious conduct of a spouse could legally allow a spouse to go beyond filing for divorce and seek the erasure of the marriage through an annulment. A resident of Staten Island concerned about filing for an annulment might be confused over how the process actually works. Questions about the differences between an annulment and a divorce likely exist as well. Direct questions about a spouse’s particular situation should be directed to a qualified lawyer. General answers about annulments in New York can be found in the state’s civil code.
Annulments and Divorce: The Legal Bar is High
Annulments are not as common as divorces due to the very limited circumstances in which an annulment may be approved by the courts. In the state of New York, certain circumstances must be in place for an annulment decision to be rendered. Common reasons for divorce such as adultery, mental or physical cruelty and marital breakdown would not be sufficient to receive an order of annulment. Fraud, however, could constitute the basis for an annulment.
If a spouse turns out to be someone who has been living under an assumed identity, he/she committed fraud when entering into the marriage. Granted, incidents in which someone married under a false identity, are not exactly common. The same could be said of someone who remarries without ever dissolving the original marriage or marriages. Regardless, both scenarios open the legal doors for a judgment of annulment.
Other grounds for an annulment could be forcing someone into a marriage or marrying an underage person. While no statute of limitations exists for an annulment, if certain circumstances change, seeking an annulment won’t be possible. For example, if someone who is underage marries, an annulment becomes impossible when the individual reaches legal age and is still cohabitating with the spouse.
Under New York law, various other circumstances may allow for a credible filing of an annulment. Consulting with an attorney remains a reliable means to determine whether seeking an annulment makes legal sense.
Issues Beyond the Annulment
An annulment may completely erase the marriage, this doesn’t mean both parties can fully walk away from the past even after the nullification. Based on the circumstances, completely walking away from any association with one another might not even be possible. Several serious issues that won’t go away even when a marriage has been voided. Issues surrounding child custody, alimony and the division of assets amassed jointly during the marriage may need to be sorted out.
Only a qualified attorney would be able to effectively address matters such as these. Meeting with an attorney to discuss the full scope of seeking an annulment entails discussing the approach to be taken in court regarding both parties’ responsibilities in the aftermath of the decree.