In New York, couples might be unsure whether they want to divorce, so they’ll live apart to test the reality of permanently separating without the irrevocable step of divorce. They’ll divide assets, make arrangements for child custody and split the liabilities of the marriage. The process of separation means that the couple is still married, but they won’t incur the debt of the other while living apart.
Married couples in Brooklyn, New York can file for legal separation through the court. While some couples decide to live apart without a separation agreement, it can make things easier when divorce could be the outcome. A legal separation isn’t a divorce though. The couple is still married at the end of the separation process.
The separation agreement will detail the support each parent will provide for a child. It will detail child custody as well as visitation rights. When there are no children in the marriage, the separation agreement can be simpler, but there are assets to be divided as well as liabilities. In a separation, the couple has agreed to live separately, which can impact a jointly owned home, property upkeep and insurances.
Legally Binding Contract
The detailed separation agreement is a contract that is legally binding in the courts. Each spouse will hire their own attorney to help draft terms of separation after meeting with both parties. It’ll cover everything the couple needs separated to live in different households like property, spousal support or child custody arrangements.
After the couple have agreed to the terms of their separation, the contract is filed with the court. Specifically, it’s filed with the New York’s Clerk of the County where at least one half of the couple lives. Before filing, the contract must be signed voluntarily by both parties to be legally binding. It’ll be notarized and last for one year. After the year of separation, the couple can file for a divorce, which can be done easily with the same terms as the separation agreement.
Complaint for Separation
A complaint for legal separation might include a summons. If the separating couple can’t agree on terms for the separation, they can file a complaint with the court. The complaint will detail the full names, birth dates of the spouses, children in the marriage and the date of the marriage itself. There will be a section to explain the remedies that the spouse is seeking with the court. One spouse might not want to share custody, or the other might not want to move out of the family home. The complaint will ask the courts to rule on the disagreement.
Grounds for the Legal Action
In New York, there are grounds for legal separation that include adultery, imprisonment, neglect and failure to provide support. These are the same faults or grounds for a divorce too. The couple seeking a separation can live apart for a year and decide to file for divorce. The divorce doesn’t happen automatically after 1 year. The couple must seek action in the court for the divorce.
There are times when a person might move to Brooklyn while in the act of getting space in the marriage. Unfortunately, if only one spouse lives in New York, that spouse will have to be there for 2 years before being able to file for separation in the court system. There are exceptions to that rule, which include the fact that the separating couple were married in New York, lived in the state for years with one still being a resident or the grounds for separation happened in the state.
Initiation of the Process
To begin the process, the plaintiff spouse has to file a summons on the complaint for legal separation. Even if both parties agree to the separation, one spouse has to initiate the proceedings. Someone has to serve the defendant with the complaint, which might involve personal service. It can be done amicably by the plaintiff spouse or delivered by a process server depending on the circumstances of the separation.
While a separation isn’t a divorce, it’s a trial run where the couple has decided to separate their lives and continue as single people. They’re married but not living as part of a family unit. The process can be as complicated as a divorce, so lawyers need to be hired to draw up the agreement as well as file complaints and resolutions with the court.
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