Divorce is a big decision that shouldn’t be made flippantly. Couples in the Bronx that are having marital issues but don’t want to jump into divorce proceedings just yet often opt for legal separation instead. Becoming legally separated in the State of New York requires that the couple file a binding contract with the court that has been signed by both parties called a Separation Agreement. This agreement covers a lot of ground and needs to be very specific in order for it to be lawful. Therefore, most couples hire Bronx Separation Agreement attorneys to help them navigate the specifics of filing this legal document.
The Benefits of Legal Separation
A Separation Agreement deals with many of the same issues that come up in divorce proceedings. You and your partner make agreements on assets, property, child custody, and other issues pertaining to the marriage. Unlike divorce, a Separation Agreement is not permanent and can be nullified at any time. While a Separation Agreement can cover a lot of different topics, the only action that’s required upon filing this agreement is that one of the partners leave the home. If that partner returns to the home with the intent to repair the marriage, the Separation Agreement is usually voided, though you and your spouse can stipulate otherwise in the agreement. Other than preparing for an eventual divorce, many Bronx residents that seek a legal separation do so to avoid their partner’s future debts. Consult with a Bronx Separation Agreement attorney if you need help determining whether a legal separation is appropriate in your circumstances.
Requirements for Legal Separation
While a Separation Agreement is not granted by a New York Court, clear and concise language must be used when drafting this document for it to be considered legally binding. But before writing your Separation Agreement, you’ll need to determine whether or not you and your partner are eligible for a legal separation in New York. In order to file a Separation Agreement in New York, you and your partner must have been married in New York and either you or your partner must have lived in the state for at least a year before the filing. You will also need to file your Separation Agreement in the county in which you or your spouse resides.
While a court presumes that a properly filed legal separation document is valid until proven otherwise, it is essential that you follow certain guidelines in order for the Separation Agreement to be valid. You and your partner must use different attorneys when writing your separation agreement in order to avoid suspicion from the courts. Neither of you may commit any fraud in disclosing your assets and neither spouse can coerce or threaten the other into signing. Also, if a judge finds that your agreement is significantly unfair to either party, they may void the agreement. Working with the right Bronx Separation Agreement attorney ensures that you and your partner will come up with a valid agreement that will stand up in court if necessary.
The Results of a Separation Agreement
In the State of New York, you and your partner must deliver copies of your Separation Agreement separately to the Clerk of the Court in the relevant county. You and your spouse will both retain a certified copy. If you end up wanting to pursue a divorce, this can be done after one year of being legally separated. You can begin divorce proceedings before this point, but your Separation Agreement will not be considered by the court. If you and your partner decide to reconcile, then the Separation Agreement is usually voided automatically, but if you are unable to reconcile, the legal separation can be provided as grounds for divorce with no further grounds needed.
Just because your Separation Agreement can be used in your divorce proceedings, that doesn’t mean that a judge will accept the terms of the agreement. The judge may ask that the terms be revised before the divorce proceedings continue, so it is vital that you have a skilled Bronx legal separation attorney at your side for this process.
Whatever reason you may be choosing to file a Separation Agreement and whatever results you expect, being equipped with qualified legal counsel from the very beginning is vital. Bronx Separation Agreement attorneys are well versed in all of the details of filing this document and can guide you through the process whether or not you and your partner get back together in the end.
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