When a couple faces trouble in their marriage, they may need to live separately for a while in order to gain perspective and decide what the next step should be. In New York, spouses can separate while still maintaining an agreed-upon structure for their lives by creating a legal separation agreement. An experienced Long Island separation attorney can help ensure your interests are represented and protected when making this agreement.
A separation agreement is a contract that sets the “ground rules” for the separation. Items that are commonly included in the separation agreement include:
- An acknowledgement that the spouses agree to live separately, including living at different addresses and maintaining their own households and finances
- Terms for child custody, visitation, and child support
- Terms for spousal support (if any)
- How insurance will be handled – for example, who will pay to insure the family’s vehicles or how health insurance for the children will be provided
- How certain assets and debts will be distributed between the spouses while they are living separately (the agreement might specify which spouse has access to which bank accounts, who will pay the mortgage, or who will have the living room furniture)
In New York, the separation agreement is in effect on the date it is signed by the spouses and notarized. After one year of living separately and apart, the spouses may decide to file for divorce. If you choose to proceed with a divorce, you may be able to convert many of the terms of the separation agreement into the divorce agreement – or negotiate new terms if you have found that some part of the separation agreement simply isn’t working for you or for the best interests of your children. Any changes to a separation agreement need to be mutually agreed upon by both sides. An attorney can help.
If you have any questions about separation agreements of divorce, DO NOT hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC. We can be reached at (516) 227-5353.