Helping You Navigate Legal Separation in New York

New York Legal Separation Lawyer

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.

Get Help from Our Skilled Family Law Firm

If you need help drafting an agreement or having a previously drafted agreement enforced, reach out to our law firm today.

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.

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Levoritz Law Firm proudly serves individuals and families across New York City and surrounding counties, providing skilled legal guidance wherever you are.

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Secure your family’s future with a trusted legal team. Reach out to Levoritz Law Firm in Manhattan today, and let’s start building a path to resolution and peace.

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FAQ

  • 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.