Sometimes couples don’t immediately file for divorce but instead file for a legal separation. This gives both spouses time on their own to sort things out and get intervention and mediation for their differences. The greatest difference between a legal separation and a divorce is what is going to happen after you file it with the court. In a legal separation, you are still married but living apart, while in a divorce, once it’s processed you’re going to be divorced, not just living apart. A legal separation is filed for a number of reasons, all of them due to something that has occurred within the marriage that makes living together at the moment hard.
The differences between divorce and legal separation are many and need to be explored fully before filing for the separation.
Separation is the precursor to divorce. It’s a temporary condition and agreement between two married people who are experiencing so much difficulty in their marriage that they need to live apart. The couples will need to work out the same details: Alimony, child support, child custody, and living arrangements, but during the separation, a divorce isn’t moving forward. Instead, both parties are trying to work out their differences and decide whether or not to go forward with a divorce.
Marriage counseling and other forms of mediation will help couples do what’s best for them at the end of the separation. Legal separation is typically filed for when couples are leaning toward divorce, as opposed to very brief periods of separation that are decided upon informally and between couples and not the courts as well.
For the court to grant a legal separation, both parties must work out their differences and decide who will live where, who will have custody of the children, if there will be any spousal support, and if there will be any child support. Other things might be discussed, such as whether or not both people are allowed to date during the separation, although the legal system typically frowns on this practice. Many spouses can use this action during a divorce proceeding to affect the outcome later on, so whenever possible it’s best not to date during a legal separation.
The court will grant legal separations once everything is worked out in detail. Other arrangements might include court-ordered couples therapy that will shed more light on the problems within a marriage and help decide couples whether to divorce or reconcile.
A legal separation can be just as stressful as a divorce. You’re accustomed to seeing your spouse each day and sharing life together. During your time apart, you won’t have that daily interaction and this can lead to serious anxiety and depression during the separation. Couples who get counseling will also have to discuss the problems within the marriage and often face difficult changes if things are going to work out.
At the end of a divorce, you are no longer married. At the end of the separation, you either reconcile with a spouse or you have to then go through with a divorce. It’s a long road ahead, and this road gets longer if you don’t hire a good attorney for the separation. When you have our team with you from the beginning of your difficult journey, you’re going to have all the advantages of 24/7 legal advice and a brilliant team of lawyers that know separation and divorce law inside and out. Call us today.
For people living in NYC, the law allows certain individuals options for their marital status to change. These options don’t necessarily mean divorcing, however. Legal separation occurs when two spouses decide to stop cohabitating. This is different from a common divorce in a few ways.
The biggest difference is the marital status. When a couple legally separates, they are considered to no longer be engaged in a relationship, but they’re still legally married. When spouses agree to enter a separation agreement, they must sign a contract that outlines their responsibilities regarding property rights, child custody, visitation rights, and spousal support. These terms are legally binding, and failure to complete designated responsibilities could result in legal repercussions. If one spouse fails to uphold their obligations, potential future divorce proceedings might be complicated.
Because the contract deals with so many sensitive parts of family law, it’s important to have an experienced legal separation lawyer to draft the contract. Attorneys for both spouses will work together to negotiate terms and compromises. The end goal is to create a contract that satisfies every involved party.
Satisfying the involved parties might include minor agreements, like the wither spouse’s living arrangements, the specific times for child visitations, and the distribution of assets that both spouses could claim. When all aspects of the separation agreement have been approved by both parties, it must be filed with the county clerk for the couple’s New York county.
After one year being legally separated, the separation case will undergo review. At this point, the spouses will decide whether they want to reconcile or file a petition for a divorce.
Before any legal documents can be drafted or any negotiations can begin, both parties must be certain they want to legally separate. Legal separation cannot be negotiated if one party wants to stay together, or one party wants to divorce rather than separate. The separation agreement must receive an official notarization and the signatures of both parties. After the notarization is complete, the couple must decide what their legal marital status will be in the future.
Legal separation is often negotiated amicably between the parties, and spouses often reach the decision by themselves. However, this isn’t always the case. If a spouse meets certain separation qualifications, they can seek to be legally separated. Some circumstances for separation include:
When heated disputes or domestic violence cases occur, spouses have the right to file formal criminal complaints against their partners. This might result in the other being issued a summons. It doesn’t matter whether the incident is an isolated circumstance or part of a pattern of behavior. When this circumstance occurs, the New York Supreme Court must use a Judgment of Separation to determine which of the parties is at fault. They will also decide whether the marital status meets the requirements for a divorce.
The results of the judgment vary widely depending on the findings. Some judgments don’t grant separation. When this occurs, one spouse can petition that the court hasten separation proceedings. This causes cases to move faster than average, which can lessen the waiting period between divorce and separation. Rather than waiting one year after the separation agreement, a couple might wait only a few months before divorce.
No matter what decision the court makes, the couple is required to file for divorce themselves. In some states, one year of legal separation ends in an automatic divorce. However, in New York, divorces always occur after the parties file such a motion in court.
If the spouses are completing a legal separation agreement in New York, they must have both resided in and been married in the state for at least one year. This requirement must be met if couples wish to be applicable for divorce in the year following their separation. If only one spouse lives in the state, they cannot divorce for two years, as opposed to one year.
No time constraints are placed on couples to divorce.