Couples who wish to live apart without filing for a divorce may benefit from a legal separation agreement. There are many reasons this arrangement could be beneficial, including keeping financial or health insurance benefits, or avoiding divorce for religious reasons. Additionally, couples may wish to separate in order to file for a no-fault divorce in the future. If a couple has been legally separated for at least a year, it makes filing for divorce an easier process in the long run. Whatever the goal is of a separation agreement, an experienced New York City Legal Separation Attorney can help the couple draw up an effective legal arrangement.
When a separation agreement is conceived, it must be agreed upon by both parties before being signed and enacted. Separation agreements are a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Basically, the separating couple will be determining arrangements similar to that of a divorce. Like a divorce, changes to the arrangements are often difficult to obtain and require legal representation. When a separation agreement is drawn up, spouses will have to define arrangements for the following matters:
Child custody and support. Just as with a dissolution of marriage, spouses undergoing a separation will have to make decisions on the custody of their children. Custody and visitation arrangements will need to be clearly outlined and adhered to. Additionally, they will need to determine the parameters of child support, such as payment amount and length of payments. As always, the child’s best interest must always be a top priority.
Division of assets and property. Property, assets, and liabilities will need to be equitably divided and distributed. As with a regular divorce, separate property will remain exempt and marital property will be eligible for distribution. Separate property is generally considered any assets or property acquired before the marriage, and marital property is anything acquired after.
Spousal support. Spousal support is designed to offer financial support in the case where one spouse makes a significantly smaller income than the other. Spousal support is only awarded when one spouse makes 2/3 or less of the other spouse’s total income. It is especially beneficial for spouses who have not worked outside the home for some time. For example, if one spouse gave up a job to be a homemaker or take care of children, that person might be eligible for spousal support.
During the legal separation, the arrangements that were previously outlined must be followed. The State of New York considers legal separation agreements a type of contract, and modifications in the future are difficult. Spouses under a separation agreement are not able to legally remarry until the marriage is officially dissolved.
Couples who wish to file a separation agreement should seek competent legal counsel to be sure their decisions are outlined prior to initiating the contract. An experienced legal separation attorney will address all factors within a separation arrangement so that both parties can reach a mutual agreement and avoid modifications in the future.
New York City Attorneys Concentrating in Legal Separation
If you are looking for a legal separation agreement attorney in New York City, contact the law office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. She has served her community with 30 years of experience in divorce and family law. Deeply committed to her clients, she had received recognition from Avvo as a top contributor and top New York divorce attorney with superb ratings.
She is also an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. When pursuing a legal separation, Vivien I. Stark keeps the best interest of her clients and their children in mind at all times. She finds fair and agreeable arrangements to both parties, and her top priority is to avoid court and provide exceptional and affordable legal representation.
To discuss your needs, please contact us online or call us at (212) 349-1600 to schedule an in office or telephone consultation.