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What You Need to Know about Legal Separation

Legal Separation Agreements on Long Island, NYLegal Separation is often a first step toward a divorce. It allows a married couple to legally live separate lives while remaining married. In my practice as a Divorce Attorney representing clients in Nassau County and Suffolk County courts on Long Island, I often see couples use the Legal Separation as a “trial run” before getting a divorce. It allows each person to live separate lives for a time to determine if they really want to be divorced. Separating from a spouse can be a difficult time for anyone. It’s strongly advised that when going through a separation, the parties write out a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement addresses all the same issues as those addressed during the divorce process, including division of property, assets and debts, child custody and support, visitation, etc. Should you eventually divorce, the Separation Agreement can be converted into a divorce. There is a strong public policy in favor of separation agreements. Courts have said parties in domestic relations are encouraged to settle their own affairs; a separation agreement achieves this goal.

Creating the Legal Separation Agreement

In New York, when parties enter into a separation agreement, they must live separate lives. Most couples choose to live in separate households and live their lives as though they are no longer married. This is often referred to as “living separate and apart” which is required if the party later seeks to “convert” the separation agreement into a divorce.  The agreements must be in writing. In addition, they must be signed by each party, and verified under oath before a notary or the parties must have an affidavit signed and sworn to by a witness. Further, the separation agreement must be filed with the clerk of county where either party resides.

Benefits of the Legal Separation Agreement

According to New York Domestic Relations Law 236 (B) (3), the agreement itself should be able to settle issues and anticipate future problems; it allows for the parties to mutually benefit on family decisions going forward. If needed, the parties have the ability to deviate from the typical New York Law in order to fit the needs of the couple. The agreement can be used as a basis for a divorce action. This requires living apart more than one year after execution of the separation agreement and the compliance with the agreement. In order to properly maintain the agreement, it needs to be fair and reasonable at the time of execution, and not overly benefit one party or the other. As a Long Island Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Attorney, I typically help spouses negotiate separation agreements. My daily experience with divorce and separation, keeps me up-to-date with the most recent changes in the law, as well as the most modern separation agreements and clauses in use in Nassau County and Suffolk County Courts on Long Island, NY. If you are considering seeking a legal separation from your spouse, I invite you contact our office for a free consultation, during which time, we will discuss the unique circumstances of your case, and devise a course of action suited to your needs. Call us today at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page to schedule a free, complimentary consultation.

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Robert Hornberger and Christine Verbitsky

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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