New York Legal Separation Lawyer

Helping You Navigate Legal Separation in New York


People who want out of troubled marriages often think that their only option is divorce. But for some couples, legal separation may be a viable or intermediate solution that will allow them to live apart without ending their marriage. Many of the concerns that divorce addresses can be addressed in a legal separation. The difference is that you are still legally married, and will remain so even if you decide to end the agreement, unless you take steps to end your marriage through divorce.

In a legal separation, the rights and duties of each person are spelled out and can be enforced by the New York court if they are violated. Why would people opt for legal separation rather than divorcing or simply living apart without a legal contract? Sometimes people do not want to give up the financial and other benefits of being married, or they might not be sure if they really want a divorce. With a legal separation, they can still live apart, but their interests and those of their children, if they have them, are protected by the agreement.

If you no longer wish to live with your spouse and are considering your options, contact The Levoritz Law Firm to learn whether a legal separation may be right for you and your family. Reach out to us today to arrange a time to speak with an experienced New York legal separation lawyer.

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Delivering Strategic Legal Guidance for Difficult Family Issues

Yonatan Levoritz, the law firm’s founder, is well-recognized in New York legal arenas and among satisfied clients for the strategic representation he provides in matrimonial and family law cases. He, and his entire team of carefully hand-picked attorneys, have an extensive background in successfully guiding clients in legal separation, divorce, including high-asset divorces, and related legal areas. When you trust our law firm with your matter, you can always expect to receive personalized service and sound advice as we work to reach a satisfactory outcome for you. Do not hesitate to contact us for help with your legal separation or other family law concern.

How to Get a Legal Separation in New York City

Unlike with divorce, the New York courts do not grant legal separations. Rather, a legal separation is a voluntary written contract executed between spouses that defines the responsibilities and rights of each party. It becomes legally binding after both parties sign the agreement before a Notary. After notarization, the agreement can be filed with the clerk of the county in which either spouse lives. If one of the parties violates terms of the agreement, the other party can turn to the New York courts to enforce it.

What Is Included in a Separation Agreement in New York

In addition to containing basic information such as your names, the date you were married and the date you plan to separate (although the agreement will not be binding until the date it is notarized), depending on your situation, your agreement may include very specific terms related to the following:
  • Where the separating spouses will live
  • Where children will live
  • Visitation schedules
  • Child support and who will pay for extracurricular activities and other costs
  • Decisions about the family home, cars, and other property
  • Whether spousal support will be paid and how much
  • Who will be responsible for various debt and bills
  • How savings accounts, investments, and other monies will be split or handled, as well as Pensions, 401(k), and other retirement accounts, if applicable.

Get Help from Our Skilled Family Law Firm

There are many things to think about when drafting separation agreements. An attorney can help you think through all the possibilities to ensure that all concerns are addressed. By making your agreement as thorough as possible in regards to your financial and custody arrangements, it can also make the divorce process less stressful should you decide to end your marriage. The terms of your separation contract may be used for your divorce if the judge is in agreement. If you need help drafting an agreement or having a previously drafted agreement enforced, reach out to our law firm today. Contact Our Team

How Does a Legal Separation Work In NY? Here Are Answers to FAQs

Following are answers to frequently asked questions about legal separation. For your unique concerns about how to be legally separated in New York, contact our Manhattan law firm at (718) 942-4004 or through our online form to arrange a consultation.
  • Why would you enter a legal separation instead of a divorce?
    There are several reasons that couples may decide to enter a legal separation agreement instead of getting divorced. Sometimes a legal separation is pursed in order to retain the right to Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, pensions, or healthcare coverage. For some couples, it may be because they believe separation is easier on children than divorce, which may or may not be true depending on the situation. Or the couple may simply be unsure if they are ready for divorce and a legal separation can help them discover whether or not they are. In some cases, people chose to legally separate instead of divorce because of their religious beliefs.
  • Is legal separation a good idea?
    Whether legal separation is a good idea depends upon your situation. As mentioned in the answer to the previous question, it may be a good idea for financial reasons as well as allowing spouses time and distance to discover whether they really want to be apart. However, for some people, it may not be a good idea to retain financial or legal ties to their spouse. Legal separation is most often a bad idea for couples who are antagonistic toward each other or when domestic violence has been an issue. Also, because you are still legally married, you cannot remarry, so if that is a goal, then divorce is the only choice. Once our attorneys understand your unique situation, we can help you understand whether legal separation may or may not be a good idea for you. Contact The Levoritz Law Firm to arrange a consultation with a family lawyer.
  • Is legal separation expensive?
    If both spouses are in agreement as to legal separation and its terms, it may involve only the cost of the court filing fee, which is currently $210 in New York, and notary public services. If spouses decide to have the agreement drafted by an attorney, which is recommended because of the legal complexities involved, the expense will rise to account for preparation time. When spouses disagree on terms, the process becomes much more complex as they may need to engage attorneys to negotiate on their behalf and ensure their individual rights are protected. Legal separation in this case becomes significantly more costly depending on the time spent going back and forth in the negotiation process.
  • Can a legal separation be converted into a divorce?
    Yes–if you have complied with the terms of the separation agreement and want the terms of your divorce to be the same, you can file for a conversion divorce. Your legal separation agreement may be the basis of the divorce judgment. You must file one year or more after the date your legal separation began. (See New York DRL 170.6.)
  • When does legal separation begin and end?
    Legal separation begins when both parties have had the separation agreement notarized. Upon notarization it becomes legally binding. Even if you have already been living apart prior to the agreement, that time spent living apart is not considered as part of legal separation until the agreement is in place. You and your spouse can agree to end your legal separation at any time. However, if you plan to divorce, it must stay in place for at least one year.
  • Can you be legally separated and live in the same house?
    In general terms, spouses who are legally separated must live in separate homes. However, there have been cases where the New York courts have upheld legal separation agreements even though the parties lived in the same house, because they did not live as spouses or engage in sexual relations. But every situation is different. You should always get experienced legal counsel if you are considering living in the same house after a legal separation as it could make the agreement unenforceable.
  • Can I date if I am legally separated?
    There is no law that says you cannot date when you are legally separated. Whether to date or not must be a personal decision based upon all of the circumstances of your situation. If you are legally separated and are on the path to divorce, dating is probably not an issue as long it does not affect the terms of your agreement. However, if your legal separation may end in reconciliation, it could potentially cause personal issues between you and your spouse, although not legal ones.
No two couples have the same circumstances or goals for the future. Once we learn about you, your marriage, and your family, we’ll provide counsel that is tailored to your individual circumstances. Learn more about legal separation as an alternative to divorce by speaking with an experienced attorney. Our family lawyers at The Levoritz Law Firm have successfully negotiated, prepared, and enforced legal separation agreements for many clients. Call us at (718) 942-4004.

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    New York City


    140 Broadway, 46th Floor
    New York, NY 10005
    (718) 942-4004


    Get Help from a New York Legal Separation Lawyer Today

    Client-Focused Services. Respected Representation.



    As lawyers, we have extensive legal experience assisting people who are undergoing marital difficulties. As compassionate individuals, we understand the emotional consequences of ending a marriage. We will always consider your feelings when you entrust us with sensitive and private details of your life in order to resolve your legal matter. You will never be talked down to, and we will always keep you informed about what you can expect next as you pursue legal separation.


    Since 2005, The Levoritz Law Firm in Manhattan has advocated for clients in the full range of family law areas. As a legal practice that concentrates exclusively in family law, we are not distracted by other types of cases and are able to stay up to date on developments in the law no matter the family or matrimonial issue. When you hire our law firm to negotiate and prepare your legal separation agreement, you can count on our knowledgeable lawyers to address every relevant issue so that your rights, and the rights and interests of your children, are properly protected.


    Whether you need an agreement prepared or an existing agreement enforced because your spouse has violated terms, we are here for you. For assistance from an effective legal separation lawyer who is attentive and responsive, reach out to our law firm today. You may not be sure what the future holds when it comes to your marriage, but when you have strong legal advocates on your side, you can rest assured that your rights in the future will be protected.

    Choose an experienced and effective New York family law attorney to negotiate your legal separation agreement. Reach out to us at (718) 942-4004 today.