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.
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:
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:
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:
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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