Long Island Separation Attorneys Serve Nassau and Suffolk County

Our Long Island separation lawyers can help

When couples separate but do not file for divorce, their marriage is in a sort of limbo. A lot can happen during this separation stage that may affect child custody, support, taxes, assets and debts. A legal separation document can protect you and help establish your rights if it comes to divorce. Attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. have handled hundreds of separations. We have the experience and know-how to structure a separation agreement to match your circumstances.

Why choose separation over divorce?

Couples often separate legally to lay the groundwork for a no-fault divorce to follow. Living apart for at least six months is evidence that the marriage has "irretrievably broken down." In cases where one spouse might contest the divorce, a one-year separation can be grounds for divorce. However, couples who don't intend to divorce might also seek a legal separation for several reasons, such as:

  • Religious reasons — Although the couple can no longer live together as husband and wife, their religion forbids divorce
  • Continued insurance coverage of a spouse — If one spouse gets his or her insurance from the other's employment, that coverage would terminate upon divorce
  • Trial separation — The couple still has a hope of reconciliation
  • Tax reasons — Married couples filing jointly, where one spouse makes considerably more than the other, enjoy tax benefits
  • Qualification for Social Security benefits — Spouses must be married for ten years in order to qualify for survivor benefits

Regardless of why you want to separate, we can provide the help you need to separate legally.

How to receive a legal separation

There are two methods of obtaining a legal separation in New York. The easiest route, if the parties are amicable enough, is through a separation agreement. This comprehensive document addresses all of the issues relevant to setting up two separate households, including marital property division, alimony, child custody, visitation rights and child support. Once the parties sign the separation agreement, it becomes binding on the parties and enforceable in court. The spouses are considered legally separated as long as the agreement is not revoked, even if they resume living together.

If the parties can’t work out their differences, the alternative is an action for separation. In this proceeding, the parties seek court resolution of the essential monetary and parenting issues, much like in a divorce. The result is the court’s granting of a judgment of separation. In the course of a separation proceeding, it may still be possible to come to an agreement on some issues, and that agreement can become part of the court’s judgment.

Your separation agreement can be the blueprint for your no-fault divorce

As noted above, separated couples are often laying the groundwork for a divorce to come. Often, the court accepts the legal separation agreement they've been living under as the framework for the divorce order. Therefore, you must treat your separation agreement with the same urgency you would a divorce negotiation. You need aggressive representation to secure your rights, even if you hold out hope for reuniting in the future.

Contact us to learn how we can help with your legal separation

No matter what the reason is for your legal separation, our legal team can tailor an agreement that meets your objectives and protects your rights. For additional information about separation, please call us at 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.