Legal separation is a formal process where married couples decide to live apart while remaining legally married, sometimes as a precursor to divorce.

First, spouses must agree on key issues, such as child custody, support, and property division. Then, they must draft a written separation agreement. If you’re considering legal separation in New York, you need a knowledgeable attorney to protect your interests and ensure your separation documents are legally valid.

What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in New York?

Legal separation occurs when spouses decide to live apart but are still legally married. The spouses will either make an agreement or get a court order to sort out things like finances, property, and how to care for their shared children. A separation agreement is a legal document, but separation does not require going to court.

Divorce, on the other hand, is when spouses legally end their marriage. They will go to court, where a judge will make the divorce official. After a divorce, the spouses are no longer married and are free to marry someone else.

In a divorce, spouses sort out finances, property, and child care, and the terms are a permanent part of the divorce.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a contract between spouses in which they agree to live separately and apart, split the finances, debt, and marital property, and agree on with whom any shared children will live.

Separation agreements often give spouses the time and space to resolve any marital issues without the stress and pressure of a divorce action, court dates, and filing deadlines. If there are children involved, a separation agreement may also allow spouses to work out child custody and visitation, which can make things go more smoothly should the spouses eventually decide to file for divorce.

Keep in mind that decisions regarding minor children can always be considered and challenged by the court, regardless of what is in the separation agreement.

If one spouse fails to live up to the terms of the agreement, the other spouse can go to court to have the agreement enforced. It’s important to note that separation agreements are often a precursor to divorce. Either spouse may file for a divorce and ask that the terms of the separation agreement be part of the divorce decree.

Contact a New York Divorce and Separation Attorney Now

It’s never too late to live happily ever after. If you’re considering or pursuing a legal separation in New York, the legal team at Venzon Law Firm PC can help.

Contact our New York divorce and separation lawyers today to discuss your situation in a confidential consultation session.