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How Does a Legal Separation Work in New York?

How Does a Legal Separation Work in New York?

Depending on your marital circumstances, you may want to consider a legal separation instead of a divorce, or using a legal separation as a means of eventually filing for divorce. A Brooklyn attorney can help you weigh your options and make an informed decision.

New York Domestic Relations Law (DRL) 170.6 allows couples to legally separate.  To legally separate, you and your spouse must create a separation agreement, which is a legal contract that defines the terms and conditions of your separation. Matters addressed in a separation agreement include the following:

  • Which spouse is responsible for paying bills
  • Which spouse has primary custody of the children (where the children live)
  • Whether a spouse must pay child support
  • Terms of visitation arrangements
  • How you plan to divide marital property
  • Other agreements about taxes, real estate, debt, etc.
  • Any other pertinent agreements regarding the separation

You should have an attorney draft the separation agreement. Both of you must sign it in the presence of a Notary Public. One year after the date of signing the agreement, you may file for divorce, which is called a conversion divorce. The court credits fees paid to file the separation agreement toward the court’s divorce filing fees, provided you file for divorce in the same county where you filed your legal separation agreement.

A legal separation attorney in Brooklyn can help you decide all the issues that you and your spouse should address in your legal separation agreement.

Goldberg Sager & Associates has decades of experience helping couples deal with divorce and other marital issues. Find out how we can help.

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