New York Family Law Attorney
Separation Agreements Lawyer in Long Island
In New York, a separation agreement is entered into voluntarily by both
parties. Without the other spouse’s consent to all of the terms,
a separation agreement cannot be obtained. Terms and conditions included
in a separation agreement typically include issues regarding finances,
division of property, residential, and custodial terms. Additionally,
a legally executed separation agreement may be used as grounds for divorce.
If you are interested in filing for a separation agreement, New York family
law attorney Sari M. Friedman can effectively assist you throughout this
process. At our firm, we are dedicated to representing clients and families
in the Long Island and New York City areas who are facing legal matters
involving family law. By working with an experienced and skilled attorney,
you can accomplish this and ensure your rights and future are properly
How Do Separation Agreements in New York Work?
If you and your spouse are having marital difficulties, you can retain
counsel and draft a separation agreement, without the intervention of
the court. Your agreement will address a vast range of key issues, such
as child custody and support, alimony, division of property, and even
who gets to retain the family home. Typically, one spouse will move out
and establish a separate residence as part of the agreement.
While New York allows for a no-fault divorce after 6 months of marriage,
this is not the case for obtaining a legal separation. The grounds for
legal separation in New York are adultery, abandonment, imprisonment for
three or more consecutive years, neglect and failure to provide support
for a wife, and cruel or inhuman treatment. One year after successfully
filing for a legal separation, either spouse can sue for a no-fault divorce,
though this is not automatic. Court action must be taken.
Additionally, to obtain a legal separation in New York, one spouse must
have resided in the state for at least two years. This requirement can
be reduced to a year if the spouses were married in New York and either
spouse is still a resident, or if they once resided in New York and either
spouse is still a resident.
Are Separation Agreements Always Valid?
Generally, separation agreements are presumed to be valid, but there are
some circumstances in which either you or your spouse may challenge it.
If you did not retain separate attorneys, for example, the court will
likely examine your separation agreement very closely to see if there
is any unfairness that would render it unenforceable. If a spouse engaged
in fraud by failing to disclose assets or by hiding assets, or used pressure
and coercion to get the separation agreement signed, this would also invalidate
a separation agreement.
What Happens if We Want to Live Together Again?
Should you and your spouse change your mind about living apart, you are
free to get back together at any time. Unless otherwise stipulated, a
separation agreement will usually become invalid and void once you and
your spouse begin living together again with the intent to reconcile.
If desired, you and your spouse can specify that living together will
not void your separation agreement. This will ensure that even if you
were to try to reconcile your marriage, your separation agreement would
still be in place.
New York Separation Agreements
In many cases, when both spouses agree to a divorce, they file for a separation
agreement with the county clerk's office. This is a legal process
that essentially declares the spouses legally separate and includes important
property division. One year after successfully executing a separation agreement, a spouse
may then sue the other for divorce based upon the separation agreement,
to which the other spouse can consent.
A declaration of separation states that you and your spouse are legally
separated. This form of separation may be obtained through the normal
grounds for divorce. The difference is that abandonment as grounds may
be utilized even if one year has not passed. There is also cause for action
for separation, which is based upon the grounds of one spouse failing
to support the other. Filing a separation agreement is optional and only
required if and when you are suing for divorce.