Do I Need Legal Separation Before I Get a Divorce On Long Island?
Legal separation on Long Island is an excellent tool that couples facing marital challenges can use to determine if they would benefit from ending their marriage. It’s less expensive than filing for divorce and is a good first step. But do you have to have a legal separation before you get a divorce? Or can you go straight to court, do not pass go, do not collect $200?
You Don’t Have to Get a Legal Separation Before a Divorce
If you are confident that you want a divorce, you don’t have to first get a legal separation to see if you really want to go forward with the dissolution of your marriage. You can go straight to an experienced Long Island divorce attorney and get started working on your case. If you do want to test the waters with legal separation, you and your spouse must be in agreement and work with a Long Island legal separation lawyer to draft a legally binding agreement. If your spouse has abandoned you or you don’t know where your spouse is, you will not be able to get a legal separation and will need to proceed with divorce.
Why Would a Long Island Couple Get a Legal Separation?
Beyond the benefit of trying a separation before moving ahead with a more permanent divorce, there are other reasons a couple might file for legal separation. For example, it may be more in line with a couple’s religious beliefs to get a legal separation instead of getting a divorce. Or, legally separating may give one or both spouses access to medical benefits.
Why Would a Couple Get a Divorce First?
If you’re absolutely certain that your marriage is irreparable and you desire to completely end the marriage, you can file for divorce. Couples who are sure that divorce is the best option for them don’t have to go through the legal separation process and can avoid the legal fees associated with it. Divorce is costly enough without adding the expense of legal separation to it if it’s not necessary.
What Do You Need to Do First Before Filing for a Long Island Divorce?
Although you don’t have to legally separate from your spouse before filing for a divorce on Long Island, there are a few things you do need to do first. You must meet the residency requirements in order to be considered eligible. You must have been living in New York for two years or more if only you or your spouse live in New York at the time you file. You must have been living in New York for one year or more if the marriage occurred in New York and you or your spouse still live in the state, if both of you were New York residents and now only one of you still lives in the state, or if the grounds for divorce arose in New York. If the grounds for your divorce arose in the state and you and your spouse are both residents, no minimum time limit is required.
You must also choose a reason for your divorce, also known as the Grounds for Divorce. New York is a no-fault state, so that is an option. However, you can also choose to file for an at-fault divorce, if, for example, your spouse committed adultery, abandoned you for a year or more, treated you cruelly or inhumanely, or was imprisoned for three years or more.
Contact a Long Island Divorce Lawyer Today
Whether you’re interested in a legal separation or simply want to move forward with a divorce, you need someone on your side who will passionately and aggressively advocate for your best interests and the best interests of your family. It’s important you feel confident that your legal team is in your corner.
Contact our Long Island law firm today to learn more about what steps you need to take to get a legal separation or start the process of divorce. We are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive and compassionate legal advocacy no matter their situation. Call now for a free consultation to talk more about your case at 631-237-3409.
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