Divorce and Legal Separation Lawyers in Long Island
Assisting Nassau and Suffolk County individuals with legal separation
When a married couple wants to end the relationship and no longer live together, they often get a divorce. In some cases, individuals want to be genuinely separated and stay legally married. In New York, legal separation is a way to formally end a living relationship but continue the marriage. People prefer this option for many reasons. Some may include:
- Financial assistance
- Medical insurance
- Qualifying to become a foster parent
People may prefer a legal separation because of religious beliefs. Others are just not ready to end the relationship and move towards divorce. Legal separation keeps the marriage open and ongoing, allowing for reconciliation.
Two ways to acquire a legal separation
When inquiring about a legal separation on Long Island, you should understand the two ways in which to achieve it. The first, and rarely used, is to sue the other spouse for a legal separation. A spouse may go to court and sue for a court to order a legal separation. Suing for a legal separation is so rare because the steps closely resemble a divorce and people will usually just choose the latter. Commonly, people inquiring about a legal separation will go through the steps of drafting a Separation Agreement.
A Separation Agreement explained
A Separation Agreement is the most common way to obtain a legal separation. A court cannot grant a Separation Agreement. There is no application form. A Separation Agreement is a legal contract between spouses where they voluntarily agree to some factors. These include but are not limited to:
- Living separately and apart
- Child custody
- Child support
- Any spousal maintenance
- The allocation of marital property
It is recommended that each party have legal counsel when drafting this document. Parties are not required to have separate counsel to draft the Separation Agreement, but when faced with a complicated case involving debts, pension, real estate, and tax concerns, it is highly recommended that both parties have representation with their best interests in mind. A Separation Agreement becomes legally binding when each spouse agrees to the whole agreement and acknowledges that fact by signing the document in the presence of a notary public. No one is legally obligated to file the Agreement with any government agency.
How a Separation Agreement can become a divorce
Either spouse may file for divorce one year after signing and notarizing a Separation Agreement based on the fact that the document exists. This is called a conversion divorce. Even if one spouse has grounds for divorce, the Agreement can make the divorce easier and faster. At this point, the Separation Agreement must be filed with the county clerk. Long Island judges have the discretion to incorporate some or all of the terms of the Agreement into the divorce judgment. If the judge agrees to incorporate the terms, they might need the Agreement to have specific wording.
Contact our experienced Long Island attorneys
If you are inquiring about a legal separation for any reason or need an attorney to draft a Separation Agreement, The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. is ready to serve. We have years of experience drafting and negotiating terms for a durable Separation Agreements. The Long Island firm has our client’s best interests in mind and the persistence to achieve the best possible terms for the Separation Agreement. The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. has the compassion and determination to guide our clients to a better situation. Call us for a discreet consultation.