What is a Legal Separation?
New York recognizes that sometimes spouses do not want to rush to divorce. As a result, the option of a legal separation is available to spouses who want to live separate and apart to try and work on their marriage. With a legal separation, spouses can enter into a separation agreement, which is a written agreement that outlines the terms of the separation and is then voluntarily signed by the spouses.
What Can be Included in a Separation Agreement?
Spouses who wish to separate can outline the terms of their separation in a separation agreement. Spouses may include a number of different issues in the agreement and clearly identify their respective rights and obligations. Some of the issues spouses may wish to include in a separation agreement include, but may not be limited to:
- Who will live in the marital residence;
- Who will be responsible for which debts;
- Child support;
- Child custody and visitation;
- Health insurance;
- Spousal support;
- Childcare costs;
- Education costs; and/or
- Other liabilities and expenses.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Separation Agreement?
Even though a separation agreement does not involve the courts, its a good idea to retain an separate attorneys. An attorney can help draft the agreement and make sure each spouse understands what they are agreeing to. Separate attorneys can help ensure their cleint’s respective interests are met and that the final agreement is fair.
Can a Separation Agreement be Challenged in Court?
Under certain circumstances, a spouse may be able to challenge the validity of a separation agreement. A spouse may request a court review the separation agreement if he or she:
- Feels the agreement is unfair;
- Suspects that assets were hidden or omitted from the agreement;
- Felt coerced into signing the agreement; and/or
- Believes the agreement to be inequitable.
If you are considering a legal separation, contact an experienced family law attorney today.
If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.