Separation & Divorce
New York Separation & Divorce Attorney
When two people no longer wish to stay together in their marriage they can either choose to Divorce or enter into a Separation Agreement.
A Divorce is a legal termination of a marriage. If the parties enter into a Separation Agreement, they are still married and as such cannot marry anyone else while still married.
If both parties divorce or separate, spouses can either mutually agree on the termination of their marriage or this decision can be made by the court if the parties cannot agree.
If the parties can agree to the terms of the termination they can reduce their understanding to a Stipulation of Settlement which includes all the concerns and issues of the parties.
Upon the formal signing of a Separation Agreement, the parties are “legally separated.” No court involvement is even necessary *if the parties do not wish to file it with the Court, and nothing further needs to be done if the couple wish to remain separated. Separation Agreements can protect a spouse from their other spouses from becoming liable for the other’s future debts. However, if they wish to divorce, the terms of their Separation Agreement can become the terms of their divorce. The parties would start an action for divorce and file the necessary documents to notify the Court that they wish to divorce. If they have agreed to the terms in their separation agreement, then they don’t require the court to determine the terms of their divorce.
However, if the parties cannot agree upon the terms of the termination it will be necessary to request the intervention of the court to reach a resolution. This is accomplished by starting a legal action for separation or divorce.
New York provides a “no fault” divorce option. This is when the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. The parties do not have to be in agreement but one party must make this assertion under oath.
The “no fault” option eliminates the necessity for a “fault based” option or requiring “grounds” for a divorce. A “fault based” option is where a party makes specific and detailed assertions that a spouse has committed acts or omissions to warrant a divorce.
There are 7 grounds for Divorce in New York:
1. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment;
2. Abandonment for one or more years;
3. Imprisonment for three or more years;
5. Living apart pursuant to a Judgment of Separation for one year;
6. Living apart pursuant to a signed Separation Agreement for one year;
7. Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage for six months.
While all divorce cases share some similarities, each case is unique and has its own set of circumstances.
Here are some of the issues that typically need to be addressed:
- Spousal Support/Maintenance;
- Child Support;
- Child Custody;
- Marital Debts;
- Equitable Distribution and Distribution of Property;
- Qualified Domestic Relation Orders (QDROs).