Separation Agreements Lawyer in Long Island

New York Family Law Attorney

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 safeguarded.

Contact Us Today to Schedule a Consultation

Signing a Separation Agreement

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 stipulations regarding child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and 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.

Contact a New York separation agreement attorney today if you are interested in separating from your spouse in Long Island or the surrounding areas in New York.