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As a Long Island Divorce Attorney, I help many couples in Suffolk County and Nassau County with their legal separation agreements. Many New York married couples that feel they are headed for divorce choose legal separation instead or as a first step.

On Long Island, these couples may become legally separated if, for whatever reason, they do not wish to divorce at that time. Legal Separation may be right for a couple if they are not 100 percent certain about the decision to divorce. Long Island couples may obtain a legal separation either by separation agreement or obtaining a separation judgment or decree from a Nassau County or Suffolk County court. This can be a very beneficial choice for a number of reasons.

Legal Separation Offers Flexibility over the Finality of Divorce

Legal separation can also be a beneficial option for couples that are hesitant to move forward with getting a divorce right away. Separation provides some flexibility in that it is not a final divorce decree; in fact, if a couple wishes to reunite, they can do so without needing to remarry. A divorce decree, on the other hand, is final and typically cannot be undone.

Maintain Medical or Other Benefits During Legal Separation on Long Island

Many married individuals who have medical insurance through their employers are able to insure their spouse on the policy.  As soon as the divorce is finalized, this coverage for the spouse ends. Under a Separation Agreement, there is no loss of medical coverage. Another financial benefit is that married couples can file jointly even when separated. This option is obviously not available for couples who have divorced.

Separation Agreement Provides Guidelines for Co-Parenting

A Separation Agreement can also provide helpful parameters for co-parenting, including child custody and visitation, as well as child support and spousal support. A separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse under which you agree to live apart and follow certain guidelines, such as allowing each other privacy, or following custody and visitation guidelines with the children. The agreement can outline the terms of child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, and division of marital property. It can also address other issues that are important to the couple. While the separation agreement mirrors the divorce agreement in many ways, the couple is still legally married. Once there is a separation agreement, the couple may choose to remain separated, or may pursue divorce in the future.

Religious Beliefs Can Play a Role in the Decision to Legally Separate

Legal Separation may also be a choice for those Long Islanders who will not divorce because of religious beliefs, but feel they can live a healthier and happier life apart from their spouse. Since the agreement outlines the terms of the arrangement, it can provide a sense of stability and predictability to the living arrangement. Furthermore, the couple can seek counseling and work toward reconciliation from a new vantage point if they so desire.

Separation Agreements Can Help You Prepare for Smoother Divorce Process Later On

The separation agreement can be converted to a divorce agreement after it is in place for one year. For many couples in Nassau and Suffolk, the creation of the separation agreement is a less tense and stressful process than the finalization of a divorce agreement. This is likely because these couples are aware of the finality involved in a divorce agreement. The benefit here is that couples can create the terms of the separation agreement in a clearer state of mind, and then there is less hostility and tension when it comes time for the divorce agreement as the separation agreement can be simply converted. Of course, if there are still major disagreements, then the terms of the divorce agreement will have to be revisited. However, many of the terms of the separation agreement can be left in place, leaving less work and negotiation when it comes time for divorce.

Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney for Your Legal Separation Agreement

An experienced Long Island divorce lawyer or family law attorney can assist you with drawing up your separation agreement, and with helping you and your spouse decide and agree on its terms. Especially in cases that involve real estate, pensions, debts, child custody or visitation, and/or tax issues, it is important that an attorney oversee the agreement in order to avoid unforeseen issues or consequences down the line. A divorce attorney can also assist you with questions about filing for a Judgment of Separation, and with commencing legal action for separation. For couples living in Nassau County, Suffolk County, or the five boroughs of New York City that are contemplating divorce or separation, contact the experienced divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation.

Free Long Island Divorce Guide

Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.