For couples in need of a break, a legal separation can be a lifeline — a way to officially put a halt on the union before deciding whether to move forward to the finality of a divorce. But the process to file for legal separation is different than the process of filing for divorce. Below, family law lawyer Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law in Rochester, NY, gives a brief overview of how to file for legal separation in the state of New York.
Determine If You Qualify
Certain eligibility requirements must be met to file for separation. The primary requirement deals with residency. If only one spouse lives in New York at the time of filing, they must be a resident of the state for at least two years. This threshold is lowered to one year under unique circumstances. These include if the marriage took place in New York and at least one spouse still lives there, they once legally resided in the state and at least one spouse is still considered a resident, or the circumstances that necessitated the separation occurred in New York.
Confirm the Grounds for Separation
New York law stipulates that couples filing for legal separation can only do so under certain circumstances. These include:
- Cruel/inhuman treatment
- Imprisonment of one spouse for three consecutive years or longer
- Neglect and failure to provide support for a wife
Write a Formal Separation Agreement
This document ensures all aspects of your separation are legally sanctioned and your individual rights are safeguarded. The separation agreement is a contract that outlines the rules of the separation. Property issues, child custody and support, and how debts will be handled are all typically included in a separation agreement. While you and your spouse can do this on your own, it's advisable to have a lawyer's guidance so all legal details are accurate and sound. A separation agreement needs to be notarized before filing with the courts.
If you and your spouse are considering legal separation, trust Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law. Call (585) 546-5072 or visit his website to arrange an appointment for legal advice with an experienced lawyer. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter for tips and guidance. Be sure your separation meets the guidelines established by the state of New York, and contact attorney Corletta today.