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Legal Separation: Long Island Attorney for Legal Separation Agreements

Why a Legal Separation?

There are certain situations in which a legal separation is better for a married couple. These include a marriage in which the two parties need a time apart while they try to repair their marriage. Other issues that could make a legal separation a better choice could be related to health insurance or religious beliefs. You cannot request a legal separation through the courts. This is an agreement that is made between you and your spouse. If you do not know where your spouse is, it is not possible to get the court to approve a legal separation agreement. The separation agreement is made between the two spouses, usually with the help of a qualified Long Island legal separation lawyer. At Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC, we have a great deal of experience in crafting reasonable agreements between married partners who choose to separate. This allows for arrangements to be made with regard to all the crucial issues that married couples face, including responsibility for outstanding payments and obligations, support, children and living situations. Marital property can be addressed and any other rights and responsibilities. Both parties must be in agreement with the final draft of the separation agreement, and their signatures must be recorded by a Notary Public. These separation agreements should be drafted by a highly qualified Long Island legal separation lawyer. At Jonathan Kroll & Associates, PLLC, we have extensive experience in assisting those who choose this alternative to divorce. A poorly worded agreement can cause serious problems later, and it is even strongly advised by the state court that you get a qualified lawyer to assist you.

A Binding Legal Separation Agreement: The Process

The agreement, once it has been notarized, is now legally binding, and any violation can be enforced through the court. You can file the agreement with the court for a fee. Any such agreement only becomes binding once notarized, and the length of time you have been separated from your spouse does not matter, legally. After one year of the notarization of your legal separation agreement, you can file for a divorce. This is termed a "conversion" divorce. The separation agreement in place is usually used as a template for the final no-fault divorce, and your filing fees for the separation agreement can be used as a credit for your divorce filing, as long as you file in the same county, such as Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau or Suffolk, the Long Island counties.

DRL §170.6 and Legal Separation Agreement Conversion Divorces

Under New York Domestic Relations Law §170.7, amended in July 1, 2010, no fault divorce now is part of New York Law. DRL § 170.5 allows for a conversion of a separation judgment, and DRL § 170.6 is related to a conversion of a written and acknowledged separation agreement, in which the parties have lived separately for at least one year. This type of conversion divorce can vary in final court orders. The court may follow the same agreement that the spouses had in their separation agreement, or they could change based upon the current circumstances of the parties involved. An incorporation of the terms of your legal separation could make it easier to enforce any violation later. It is up to the judge to permit your legal separation terms to convert to your divorce terms, and they vary in these decisions.

As there is always some degree of uncertainty when filing for divorce, if you are planning to first legally separate, you must ensure that your agreement is carefully drafted by a legal professional familiar with the process. The judge will want to make sure that one party is not taking advantage of the other, which is not impossible in these matters. Any issue related to the dissolution of a marriage contract should be carefully and completely evaluated. It is an emotional situation for most, and decision making can be flawed, particularly when you are simply interested in bringing the matter to a close so you can move on with your life. Nonetheless, every aspect of your legal separation agreement must be carefully analyzed so that you are protected in the future, both personally and financially. Marriages of long duration or high net worth marriages are usually far more complex, and funds may have been intermingled, or other complications that will have to be sorted out thoroughly, even when a prenuptial was signed prior to the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are frequently contested, and any vague wording can create serious problems later when it is time to legally separate or seek a divorce.

Find out more by contacting Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC.

Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC - Long Island Divorce Attorney
Located at 400 Garden City Plaza, Ste. 435 Garden City, NY 11530. View Map
Phone: (516) 324-3138 | Local Phone: (516) 873-8000.
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