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NYC Separation Agreements Lawyers

Entering into a legal separation agreement or being granted a judgment of separation by the Supreme Court of New York are the only ways in which to become legally separated in New York.

Couples enter into separation agreements for many reasons. The couple may be contemplating divorce and need time away from their spouse to determine if that is the actual case. They may not want to divorce, but want to reside in a separate residence for a period of time.

What Is A Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement in New York is an agreement between you and your spouse to legally separate. It details the agreement between you and your spouse regarding what you both can and cannot do during the separation.

The other issues that are detailed in an agreement are numerous. Each couple will include their own particular details which pertain to their marriage and some of the most common contents of a separation agreement include details such as:

  • Child Custody (physical and legal)
  • Maintenance Support (Child and Spousal)
  • Division of Property and Assets
  • Health Insurance Coverage and Premiums
  • Tax Returns
  • Income and Financial Disclosure
  • Debt Responsibility

A separation agreement that is poorly worded or poorly detailed can lead to future legal issues between you and your spouse or cause you to incur debt belonging to your spouse or you may not receive what was agreed upon and must petition the court to uphold the agreement. It is always wise to involve a lawyer who can ensure that the separation agreement is precise and legal.

Although a separation agreement is not required before a divorce, a separation agreement can be converted into a divorce, which then becomes known as a conversion divorce. There are requirements that must be met such as:

  • You must have lived separately and apart for 12 months
  • Your separation agreement must have been filed in the county in which you reside and are now filing for a conversion divorce
  • You must buy a separation agreement index number
    When a person files their separation agreement, they must purchase an “index number.” This index number is included in their agreement, and the person receives a receipt. At a future time, they can convert their separation agreement into a divorce.¹ The index number is a way to reference all the details of their agreement. If nothing at all has changed from the time they signed their agreement to the time they file for divorce, the court will make judgments based on the details of that agreement.

Why You Need A Separation Agreement Lawyer

Whether there are children from the marriage or whether there are substantial property and assets involved, having a lawyer for your separation agreement is the wisest decision for both parties. Each spouse should have their own lawyer so that there is no bias in the language that could cause a court to decline its enforcement.

Other reasons you need a lawyer for your separation agreement are numerous, and though this is by no means an exhaustive list, some of the reasons include:

  • To ensure fairness and equity
    Is the distribution of the property between you fair? If you have children, have you been given the family home or use of vehicles that benefit the children?
  • Mediation for Reconciliation
    Perhaps, you aren’t sure you want a divorce, and you want to work towards ending your separation at a future time but need help. An attorney can provide a third party mediation that can assist.
  • Orders of Protection
    Is a partner abusive or threatening? Your lawyer can petition the court for your protection.
  • Criminal Charges (if required)
    If your spouse has committed acts of violence against you or has committed fraud or attempted to siphon your personal assets from the marriage, your lawyer can initiate a criminal case.
  • Modifying Wills and Living Trusts
    A lawyer can change your will to reflect your current wishes during a separation.
  • Convert the Agreement To Divorce
    If after 12 months of separation you decide to divorce, your lawyer can assist in filing the paperwork with the court.
  • Name Changes
    If after separation you convert to divorce, your lawyer can file for your name change if desired.
  • Enforcement Through The Courts of Agreement
    Separation agreements are legally binding to both parties. If your spouse has agreed to pay insurance premiums under the agreement but fail to do so, your lawyer can have the agreement enforced by the courts.

¹nycourts.gov, What You Need To Know Before Starting Your Divorce Action (Rev. 3/1/16), CONVERSION OF A WRITTEN SEPARATION AGREEMENT DRL §170 (6) (2016).

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Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone

888-977-6335

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335