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What is the Difference Between Divorce, Dissolution and Legal Separation?

Posted on October 25, 2023

Many decisions must be considered when a marriage becomes a challenge. The reasons for this shift in relationship are innumerable for an individual, but under the law, an individual must meet specific requirements. And there are choices when partners are not entirely ready to end it all.

Making decisions concerning a New York City divorce is challenging during times of heightened emotions. Each option to address marriage issues requires a legal decision with real-life consequences. There is supportive help available during this time.

Options are Available

Many individuals feel they have run out of options when a relationship is no longer functioning. But that is never the case. Some opportunities offer more flexibility to work on the relationship, while others provide finality when it is time for a marriage to end.

Divorce in New York City

Choosing divorce is not easy, but it can be the simplest to explain legally. Divorce requires a court order for matrimonial action, which begins the marriage’s legal ending. During this process, many decisions will be made about property, spousal maintenance, children, and child support if the couple has them together.

The legal paperwork must begin when a partner or partners decide to divorce. The law requires that spouses have lived in New York for a specified amount of time without interruption. The divorce will either be contested or uncontested, depending on whether both spouses agree to the divorce and the terms of the divorce, and the grounds of divorce must be decided, with the length of time to finalize a divorce varying according to multiple facets.

Legal Separation in New York

For some, legal separation is a better alternative when divorce is too final and time is needed to work on aspects of a marriage. Legal separation includes a voluntary written agreement defining each spouse’s rights and responsibilities while they no longer live together. Legal separation requires a separation agreement, not just moving one spouse out of the marital home.

Legal separation has no time limits and can last indefinitely. These agreements can be used to move forward in the divorce process if spouses live apart for at least one year without interruption and follow the terms of the separation agreement. Like a divorce, specific requirements must be met under New York law to file for separation in the state.

It will be up to you and your spouse to create the separation agreement or to work with knowledgeable, supportive New York City matrimonial and family law attorneys. These agreements are long and complex, often leading to couples already experiencing strain to make decisions together. To ensure each step is taken and the separation is legal, seek guidance.

Dissolution of Marriage

A marriage can only be dissolved when it is ended. According to the state of New York, it is a legal ruling that returns individuals to a state of singleness. Dissolution occurs after a divorce has been finalized. Also, according to the definition, dissolution also references the word nullity.

A marriage is nullified or rendered void by court order or law when a marriage is invalid, such as a marriage between siblings or when an individual has not reached an age of accountability.

Legal separation has provided no legal end to a marriage or has not been determined to be invalid.

Find Supportive Solutions in New York Matrimonial Decisions

When a marriage struggles, the outlook may seem grim and without choice. However, there are options to help an individual proceed positively to solidify a more stable future. The Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P. C. has provided this unwavering support in New York family law for years, assisting clients in finding creative solutions to challenging marital obstacles.


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