Often a couple will legally separate while they contemplate filing for divorce. They will sign a Separation Agreement that lays out the rights and responsibilities for each spouse, including the division of property, child custody and parenting schedules, child support, and spousal maintenance. New York recognizes legal separation. Making the decision to separate is unquestionably tough and its implications are far-reaching. The attorneys at Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, are a valuable resource to utilize during this time, as you and your spouse consider the logistics of legal separation.
Learn more about the marriage separation laws in New York, and contact our Glenville office, serving Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, the Capital District, and Upstate New York, to talk with us about negotiating a Separation Agreement.
- Negotiating a Separation Agreement
- Separation Agreements as Grounds for Divorce
NEGOTIATING A SEPARATION AGREEMENT
When a husband and wife decide to separate, it's common for them to negotiate a Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement covers matters such as the division of assets and debts, child custody and support, and spousal maintenance. The terms of a Separation Agreement are often incorporated into a later Judgment of Divorce. If the separating couple has children, the judge may scrutinize the portions of the agreement that address child custody, parenting schedules, and child support matters.
Since the particulars of what can and cannot be enforced in a Separation Agreement are complex, it's advisable for the separating couple to have experienced lawyers review the document to make certain it is valid. The attorneys of Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, can answer your questions and make sure that your Separation Agreement protects your rights and reflects your best interests (and the best interests of your children). Please fill out the form on this page to contact our Glenville office and schedule a consultation.
SEPARATION AGREEMENTS AS GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Living separate and apart for one or more years following execution of a written and filed Separation Agreement is one of the no-fault grounds for divorce in New York. The party bringing the divorce action must also allege that he or she has substantially complied with the terms and provisions of the Separation Agreement. By living pursuant to a written Separation Agreement for a year, fault grounds do not need to be alleged. In most cases, the couple avoids lengthy litigation and mudslinging in court. Having a fair, legally enforceable Separation Agreement often alleviates what may have been contentious, stressful divorce proceedings.
As previously noted, effective with divorce actions commenced on or after October 12, 2010, a divorce can now be pursued on the no-fault grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship for more than six months. Therefore, if parties enter into a written Separation Agreement, they can also follow up the agreement by pursuing a divorce on the new, no-fault grounds, rather than waiting for one year to elapse following execution of the Separation Agreement. A couple may choose to wait the longer period, however, for tax reasons, or if they desire still to be insured on a family health insurance plan.
It's advisable that anyone considering legal separation or divorce consult with a lawyer to ensure that their needs and goals are met. An attorney with experience in family and marital law will advise what couples can and cannot include in their Separation Agreement.