Manhattan Legal Separation Lawyer

Legal Separation Attorney Helping NYC & Manhattan Residents

Legal Separation Lawyer NYCMany people misuse the term “legal separation.” There is an old cause of action (a basis for a lawsuit) for a legal separation whereby a party asks a judge for a decree that allows the party to live separate and apart–separating them “from bed and board.” This was typically used early in the last century when religious people who did not believe in divorce wanted to be separated from a cheating spouse. They obtained a judgment of separation from the court that allowed them to live separate and apart from their spouse (particularly in the times when women did not generally have their own autonomy) but remain married. It can be complicated. Get the answers to your questions by reaching out to a Manhattan Legal Separation Lawyer at Chaim Steinberger, P.C. today.

When To Seek A Legal Separation

In Manhattan, New York legal separation is available to a married couple that no longer has a desire to live together. In a legal separation, the rights and responsibilities of each spouse are clearly defined in matters like child custody and support, spousal support and property division.

Nowadays, most people who say they are “legally separated” or want to get a legal separation just mean to say that they have a legally-binding separation agreement and are living apart pursuant to that agreement. (Most people don’t have their separation agreement approved by the Court until they get their judgment of divorce, so it’s not really a “legal” separation.)

Spouses enter into legal separation for different reasons which could include legal reasons, medical insurance or to become a foster parent.

Whatever the reason may be, the legal separation must meet the requirements of form and language for it to be legally binding. An experienced and competent Manhattan legal separation lawyer will come in handy in meeting these requirements.

Chaim Steinberger and his team are committed to helping you get the results you want without destroying the things you cherish in the process. Let us help you achieve a legal separation that keeps all you value intact.

What Is Legal Separation And How Is It Different From A Divorce?

In New York, a legal separation agreement is a detailed contract that allows spouses to live separately. It usually stipulates the rights and duties of husband and wife in connection with issues like:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Distribution of assets and liabilities

The document is usually prepared by attorneys and filed with the Clerk of the County in New York where either spouse lives.

Legal separation is different from divorce in that a divorce formally signals the end of your marriage. When you get a divorce, you are free to marry another person or live your life moving forward as a single person, depending on what you choose.

Of course, if people want to get divorced, the first step is to agree on the terms and have them incorporated into a legally-binding document (often called a separation agreement). There is no reason (other than the religious one above) to pursue a legal separation in Court. In Manhattan and New York State, to get a judgment of separation you need to prove the same things you would have to prove in a divorce action, so it’s just as easy to get a judgment of divorce as it is to get a judgment of separation.

Indeed, ever since the “no-fault” divorce law was enacted, DRL § 170(7),   it is even easier to get a divorce than a judgment of separation.

In a legal separation, you remain legally married to your spouse. When filling out forms, you must continue to mark that you are married. Also, you cannot remarry and you still have the right to inherit from each other.

Why Should I Get A Legal Separation Instead Of A Divorce?

People get legally separated for different reasons. A few are stated below:

  • For some people, the reasons are religious.
  • It allows couples to live apart for a while and see if they want a divorce.
  • Some people get legally separated to be able to continue enjoying the insurance benefits on their spouse’s coverage.
  • It is useful if you want to retain certain military benefits
  • Some get legally separated to meet the ten-year requirement to qualify for certain benefits of a spouse, such as military benefits in a military divorce.
  • Protection of individual financial assets. Assets and liabilities acquired during a legal separation are considered separate property.
  • A couple can choose to convert their legal separation agreement to a divorce agreement if they decide that that is the best decision.
  • To enjoy possible tax benefits by continuing to file taxes jointly

Retain The Services Of An Experienced Manhattan Legal Separation Lawyer

It is in your best interest to hire a competent Manhattan Family Law Attorney when contemplating a legal separation. Your lawyer will ensure that your legal separation agreement meets all the requirements of the law. Also, if you eventually decide to file for a divorce, your lawyer can help you file a conversion divorce.

At Chaim Steinberg, P.C, we listen to you, understand your concerns, and give you the information and support you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Reach out to us today.