Some circumstances push a marriage to a breaking point. In such situations, the couple has two likely options. They may either file for separation or get divorced as a last resort. Separation in itself can be addressed through two alternatives.
As a couple, you can dictate the terms and conditions of the separation agreement. Once signed, the arrangements are binding on the couple. Part of the terms and conditions that appear in the agreement include child support and custody issues, spousal maintenance, the division of property among other concerns important to the couple. The crafting of the document is done within the dictates of the law but is devoid of the litigation process.
In this case, the couple seeks the court’s intervention to formalize the separation. In this arrangement, the court sets the terms and conditions of the separation. While divorce terminates your marriage, legal separation allows for the union to be in existence with a caveat that as a couple you live separately. It also follows that property and financial obligations, as well as other responsibilities, are divided between the two parties.
Grounds for a Separation in New York
There are specific issues that are to be met to obtain a separation judgment from the courts. The courts need to be satisfied that there was,
1) Abandonment of responsibilities and obligations by one of the spouses.
2) Failure by a spouse to provide support to the other or their children.
3) Cruelty and inhumane treatment directed to the other spouse or the couple’s children.
5) Imprisonment of either spouse that resulted in a strained marriage.
Situations a Separation is Invalidated
For the separation to become enforceable, it has to be valid. However, certain circumstances could invalidate a separation agreement.
1) Separate Attorneys
While drafting a separation agreement, each spouse is to have a legal representation failure to which, the courts may not enforce the agreements on the grounds of unfairness.
2) Inequitable Distribution of Matrimonial Resources
All resources and obligations within the agreement should be seen to have been distributed fairly and equally. In failing to do so, the aggrieved spouse can seek the invalidation of the separation agreement.
3) Coercion or Duress
Any form of pressure for either spouse to sign the agreement without being accorded ample time to analyze the agreement renders the agreement unenforceable.
Separation Conversion into Divorce
Separation, voluntary or legal, offers an avenue and time for couples to ponder about the future of their marriage without rushing into a divorce. As a couple, you may decide to give your union another chance within the period you were separated. In the likelihood reconciliation is not possible, the party that has complied with the dictates of the voluntary separation agreement, or the court orders, can file for divorce according to the provisions of the New York Divorce Law. However, such a move can only be made a year after the signing of a separation agreement.
It is important to note, while a separation agreement can be used when seeking a divorce after a year of living separately, it is not a mandatory requirement for a divorce. That is, if either of the couples wishes to get divorced absent of the separation process, the divorce will be granted.
Legal Help and Representation
The matters involved in a separation agreement are formulated within the law. Queens-way County divorce lawyers are best suited to help you out. With over 40 years of legal experience in divorce matters, the team is sure to help you draft an agreement that protects your rights.