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New York is one of the states across the nation that allows legal separation as an alternative to a complete and immediate divorce. There are many instances where a legal separation is the best decision as the first step in what may finally be a full divorce when couples have marital issues that could well be resolved over a designated period of time. New York has set some specific benchmarks regarding legal separation and the rights of the spouses to finalize a divorce before being able to build a new relationship or marriage. The rules regarding legal separation can be complicated, especially in situations of considerable assets and liabilities or the involvement of minor children who need financial and emotional support during the legal separation period. Divorces where children are involved can be particularly problematic, and the opportunity for reconciliation provided by a legal separation is often what is best for children who may be torn between parents or when the parents live in different locations. The most important aspect of a legal separation is thinking the process through before filing, which can often be done best with input from an experienced and effective New York divorce attorney who understands how divorce can impact the future of any family.
Preparing a Separation Agreement
Legal separations begin with a legal separation agreement between both spouses that addresses specific issues within the family. In many ways this process is similar to a total divorce, but it will actually address family issues that could make a divorce complicated if either spouse wants to finalize the separation into a full divorce later. Child support for minor children and an agreeable parenting plan are always central issues in a legal separation. Many times the court will intervene as advocates for the rights of the children. This is a commonly lost aspect of many divorce proceedings, and the court understands it well. All children need stability in their life with respect to parental relationships and living provisions, and extenuating factors can be a real problem. Being prepared before signing the agreement is vital to a successful and amiable legal separation, and could very well be the best step any parent could take when working out differences with a spouse while needing to maintain a healthy relationship with minor children. Filing for legal separation is new to most couples, and having an experienced New York divorce attorney who understands how to avoid looming legal obstacles can be very important.
Allocation of Assets and Liabilities
It is important for married couples who are filing for a legal separation to understand that liabilities are as important in a divorce as assets. Many times the division of marital property can actually be the most contentious issue in a legal separation or divorce. Couples who are filing legal separation actions should make arrangements for all continuing financial responsibilities and property accesses during a separation agreement because a legal separation is in many ways a test period before the state grants an official divorce. New York is one of the states that evaluates reasons for initial divorce rulings. Each divorce case is considered on its own merits, meaning the court can rule against a divorce when the reasons do not qualify. Child support obligations should also always be included in any legal separation agreement. Having an experienced New York divorce attorney representing your position means that nothing will be overlooked, which is always an advantage when mediating the separation agreement.
Legal Separation Time Limitations
New York state law allows either spouse in a legal separation agreement to file for “no fault” divorce after a period of two years. In many ways, a legal separation serves as a cooling off period for couples before a divorce is finally effective. A potential divorce is a much like a business dissolution with respect to financial aspects except for child support obligations and an agreeable parenting plan. Always remember that the record of problems during a legal separation can often impact the final disposition of a marriage, which could also affect child custody situations after the divorce. It is important to have an experienced New York divorce attorney who can help craft a reasonable long-term plan.