A married couple living in New York can obtain a legal separation. This is often the choice of couples who no longer want to reside in the same home but are uncertain about getting a divorce. Legal separation is often a time for couples to work on resolving issues and reunite or decide it’s time for them to file for divorce.
If only one spouse is a resident of New York at the time of the filing of the legal separation, they must have been a resident of New York for two years. This requirement could be decreased to a single year if the spouses were married in New York. There are no residency time requirements if both of the spouses resided in New York when their legal separation was filed, and the grounds for the separation occurred in New York.
In New York, it is common for a separation agreement to be prepared by an experienced attorney. This is a legal agreement a married couple will enter into together. The agreement will identify the amount of spousal support, who will pay it, child custody as well as visitation rights, distribution of marital assets as well as debt and more. Once a separation agreement is completed and signed by both spouses, it needs to be filed with the Clerk of Courts in the New York county where one or both of the spouses reside. Should a spouse not comply with a separation agreement, they could be forced to comply by a court. It is possible for the separation agreement to be part of a divorce judgment.
It some situations, a spouse will challenge the separation agreement once it’s in place. It is possible for a spouse to challenge the separation agreement if the couple had the same attorney. A court will view this as a possible sign of unfairness. A spouse may challenge it for fraud. They could have discovered the other spouse had undisclosed assets and more. It’s possible a spouse may challenge the agreement because they feel they were coerced or under duress at the time they signed it. A spouse may challenge a separation agreement because they believe it is unfair or inequitable and more.
There are a number of grounds a couple can use to obtain a legal separation in New York. This includes neglect, adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment and more. A couple may obtain a Judgment of Separation from the New York Supreme court. Either spouse, after a year from filing for the Court’s Judgment of Separation, can file for a no-fault divorce. This will be based on the couple living separately for a year. A divorce won’t be automatic and will require court action.
There are couples who prefer a to have a legal separation and not get a divorce because they want to remain in good standing with their religion. Some religions view divorced people in bad ways. Other religions do not permit couples who follow their faith to divorce. A legal separation in most cases will meet the needs of couples in such a situation. It will enable them to live separately and avoid the stigma a divorce would place on them.
Many couples believe they benefit from maintaining their married status when they are legally separated. In many situations, there could be coverage for health insurance that may end if a couple were to divorce. A married couple is only able to receive benefits according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act if they have been married a minimum of ten years. This standard may also apply to Social Security benefits in some circumstances. There are other situations where a legal separation can help both spouses maintain benefits associated with being married.
Should a couple reconcile and begin to live together again, the separation agreement may become invalid. It is possible for a separation agreement to stipulate the agreement is not void if the couple begins to once again reside together. There may be a requirement in a second agreement between the couple requiring them to officially make the initial agreement void. Any type of second agreement needs the signatures of both spouses in front of a notary. The second agreement must also be in proper legal form.
A legal separation agreement can serve many different purposes with a couple. It could give them time to reconsider their situation. It could also maintain various married benefit and more. It would be best to speak about this with an experienced attorney. They will be able to draft the best possible separation agreement based on a couple’s situation.
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