Each state has enacted its own laws regarding divorce and legal separation.
Some states do not allow couples to become "legally separated"
but New York is one of the states that does. If you are unhappily married
you may be considering a
legal separation and a divorce, but what are the differences between the two?
There are a lot of similarities between a divorce and a legal separation,
for example, a couple can ask the family court for orders for spousal support,
child custody, and child support in both actions.
If they choose, the spouses can begin dating other people with both actions,
however, they cannot remarry if they are legally separated until they
become divorced. The ability to remarry is one of the most significant
differences between a legal separation and a divorce.
Why do spouses get legally separated?
Couples have different reasons to enter a separation agreement. Sometimes,
they're not sure if they want a divorce, so they legally separate
as they "test the waters" so to speak. It's sort of a trial
period and usually the time apart helps the spouses decide if they want
a divorce or not.
Other couples legally separate because they no longer want to be together,
but they don't want to get divorced either. Usually, these couples
don't divorce because:
- Divorce is against their religious beliefs
- They want to stay legally married for the children's sake
- A disabled spouse needs the healthy spouse's health insurance
Generally, if spouses decide to become legally separated because they do
not want a divorce, or they're simply not ready for one, they will
enter into a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a written
agreement that the spouses sign voluntarily without having to get the
Legal separations help spouses work out issues regarding
spousal support (called maintenance in New York),
child support, and other important issues on their own schedule, and without the pressure
of a divorce. If the couple decides to file a divorce action, they will
have to adhere to certain deadlines.
New York's No-Fault Divorce
Today, New York law allows for no-fault divorce, which means all the couple
has to do to divorce is provide a sworn statement that their marriage
has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.
However, if a couple can show the court that they've had a separation
agreement in place for a year or more, they can obtain a divorce judgement
based on that alone. Additionally, the couple can submit the written separation
agreement as a part of their divorce decree.
To learn more about separation agreements in Nassau County, contact
Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. for a free case evaluation!