When Divorce is not an Option in New York
Even when a marriage is irretrievably broken, some married couples decide that divorce is not a viable option. There are a number of possible reasons for this, including financial considerations, medical insurance considerations, concerns about minor children, hope for future reconciliation, and a desire to avoid the complications and stresses of the divorce process. In New York, divorce can be an adversarial process that often requires multiple appearances in court. During the divorce process, the assigned judge makes determinations regarding the respective obligations of the parties. Issues typically addressed during divorce proceedings include alimony, custody, child support, marital debts, and property division. The judge in a divorce case typically examines a number of factors when making determinations regarding the aforementioned issues. Luckily, New York provides a divorce alternative to married couples who wish to live apart while avoiding the complications of the divorce process—legal separation. Below is an overview of legal separation in New York.
Legal Separation in New York
Legal separation often acts as a precursor to divorce in New York. As noted above, the primary difference between divorce and legal separation is that legal separation does not result in dissolution of the marriage. This is advantageous to those couples who wish to live apart while keeping the marriage intact. An additional advantage of legal separation is that it affords married couples the opportunity to separate prior to making a final divorce decision—a process that sometimes results in reconciliation.
The Legal Separation Process
In New York, a legal separation may be initiated by either obtaining a judgment of separation from the court or signing a written agreement. Legal separation agreements typically address issues common to divorce, including alimony, child custody, property division, child support, maintenance, and visitation. However, legal separation differs from divorce in that it allows married couples to leave certain aspects of the marriage intact, including things such as tax and spousal health benefits. In addition, an advantageous feature of legal separation is that, if a separated couple later decides to obtain a divorce, the issues agreed upon in the separation agreement are often used in reaching a final divorce settlement.
New York Legal Representation
In New York, divorce and legal separation are complicated and emotional processes. If you are considering pursuing either of these options, please contact an experienced New York family law attorney to discuss your options. At O’Connell and Aronowitz, our matrimonial and family law practice offers experienced counsel to both individuals and families. Our experienced New York family law attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving complex custody, visitation, and support issues in many counties throughout New York State. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.
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