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Separation vs. Divorce

When a marriage dissolves, spouses often aim to examine what their options are. A common question that arises is separation vs. divorce: what is the difference between a separation agreement and a divorce, and which best meets the needs of your family?

Separation:

Unlike a divorce, a separation does not end a marriage. It does, however, provide an alternative to divorce that similarly enables spouses to live separately. In a legal separation, a separation agreement, or written contract between spouses, divides all of the important aspects of the couple’s lives: care and custody of children, money and property, etc.

While this allows spouses to live separate lives, much like they would if they were to get a divorce, they ultimately are still legally married. Thus, although they may still be able to benefit from their spouse’s insurance coverage or retirement benefits, separated individuals cannot remarry.

Divorce:

Divorce, on the other hand, is a legal action that terminates a marriage. In order to get a divorce in the state of New York, you must have “grounds,” or a legally acceptable reason to get divorced. Grounds for divorce may include any one of the following:

1) Cruel and inhuman treatment

2) Abandonment

3) Confinement in prison for 3 or more consecutive years

4) Adultery

5) Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation judgment or decree

6) Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement

7) Irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for a period of at least 6 months (for divorce proceedings started on/after October 12, 2010).

Therefore, a separation can be used as grounds in a divorce if spouses live apart from each other for at least one year after signing a separation agreement. For more information, contact an attorney from Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. to determine what plan of action is best for you.

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