Last Updated On: August 26, 2022

What is Legal Separation vs. Divorce in New York City?

Legal separation is an option available to many couples who are not ready to go through a divorce but are struggling to live with their spouses. Couples decide to legalize their separation instead of seeking a divorce for various reasons. One example where a legal separation works is if religious restrictions against divorcing are keeping the couple from doing so.

Legal separation is also possible if you and your spouse are contemplating divorce but have not made a decision yet. Legal separation is a binding agreement between you and your spouse. If you decide to pursue this route, it is important to seek the legal help of a separation agreement lawyer to ensure that the agreement is in both your mutual best interests.

Juan Luciano has more than a decade of experience practicing in family and divorce law in New York City. He is dedicated to helping couples with a wide range of legal issues including legal separation. These cases are emotional and we will treat you with the empathy and professionalism that you deserve. Whether you are looking for a New York City divorce attorney or a Manhattan legal separation lawyer, call to schedule a consultation today. 

The Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce

The major difference between legal separation and divorce in NY is that couples remain legally married. If there is still hope of repairing the relationship, a legal separation agreement makes reconciliation with your spouse possible without the need for a new marriage certificate.

A legal separation agreement can look similar to a divorce and contains the same elements as a divorce agreement. Legal separation agreements in New York are often as detailed and comprehensive as the Stipulation of Settlement, which is required for NY divorces.

The process of divorce and legal separation can also be similar in that they both address issues such as child custody, asset distribution, child support, and spousal support. Many couples are often confused as to why they should just legally separate and not divorce. However, couples who anticipate reconciliation in the future or who have other interests than divorcing will often find that a legal separation may suit their needs.

Couples who are legally separated can decide who lives in the shared home and who takes care of the children. They also can determine how to maintain their current standard of living so that it works for the children. Legal separation allows a couple to live separately without additional conflict while working on their marital problems.

Why Should I Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?

There are various reasons why people choose legal separation over divorce. However, financial reasons are one of the most popular. In a legal separation, the couple is still considered married, so they are eligible to receive health insurance from their spouse’s workplace.

In some cases, the couple possibly just wants to split up in the middle of a marital crisis and want to think things over instead of going straight for a divorce. A legal separation can be a good choice in this situation since there is still hope for reconciliation. In New York, a divorce takes more than just coming up with a divorce agreement and can take a lot of time to complete. 

Often, couples do not want to proceed with divorce because they believe separating temporarily will allow them to reflect on their marriage and possibly reconcile. Being legally separated will allow them to continue receiving their current benefits as a married couple, while also protecting their children and assets the way a divorce agreement would not. A legal separation may last as long as the couples want. 

However, a legal separation can also be a stepping stone for divorce. If the couple chooses legal separation and later decides that reconciliation will not be possible, they may be eligible for conversion divorce. A conversion divorce allows the couple to reuse their separation agreement for their divorce. This makes the divorce process easier and faster. Many couples enter legal separation to delay or reduce financial obligations and give themselves time to plan for financial change that will accompany divorce. Legal separation agreements allow the couple to have this time to decide where they want their marriage to go. 

Seeking the Legal Advice of an Experienced Separation Agreement Lawyer

When drafting a separation agreement, there are many important matters to consider. As an experienced divorce lawyer, Juan Luciano, Esq. has devoted his career to couples who have decided to separate, divorce, or otherwise formalize other matters as they pertain to family law.   In addition, Mr. Luciano’s practice extends to assist in prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, same-sex divorce, and more. 

At the Luciano Law Firm, we ensure that your rights are being attended to under the law while still doing as much as possible to achieve amicable solutions. While a collaborative effort is always the first goal, we maintain a calculated and aggressive legal strategy that can be implemented at the appropriate time. When you need the skill, experience, and legal advice of a separation agreement attorney in New York City, call us today to schedule a consultation at (212) 537-5859.


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