Legal Separation Attorney in Suffolk County

Assisting Clients in Filing for Separation in Long Island

Although the incidence of divorce in America has risen over the years, the process has not become any easier for couples to endure.  Indeed, realizing that a marriage is beyond repair and ultimately deciding to file for separation or divorce are some of the toughest moments a person may go through in his or her life.  However, the Law Offices of Michael Catalanotto, PC is equipped with a knowledgeable and well-trained Suffolk County separation lawyers that are highly experienced in guiding its clients through these difficult times.

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Differences Between Divorce and Legal Separation in NY

In New York, both divorce and legal separation are legal processes that allow married couples to address their relationship status and resolve related issues. However, there are key differences between the two.

Divorce: A divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal termination of a marriage. In New York, couples can file for divorce based on fault grounds, such as cruelty or adultery, or no-fault grounds, citing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months. During a divorce, the court addresses various issues, including the division of assets, spousal support, and child custody and support.

Legal Separation: A legal separation in New York is a court-approved arrangement where a married couple lives separately but remains legally married. Similar to divorce, legal separation addresses issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and support.

However, unlike divorce, legal separation allows couples to maintain certain benefits of marriage, such as health insurance and social security benefits. Legal separation can serve as a precursor to divorce or, in some cases, as a long-term arrangement for couples who wish to live separately but remain married for personal, religious, or financial reasons.

Understanding the distinctions between divorce and legal separation is crucial for couples navigating the complexities of family law in New York. Consulting with an experienced Suffolk County legal separation attorney can provide tailored guidance based on individual circumstances.

Change in NY Divorce Legislation

Until recently, a divorce could only be obtained in New York by alleging fault on one’s spouse using one of six grounds, i.e. cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, incarceration, adultery, separation for one year or more pursuant to a decree or judgment of separation or living separate and apart for one year or more pursuant to a separation agreement.

However, in October 2010 a new statute was enacted in New York which provides for a seventh “no fault” ground.  In order to obtain a divorce on this ground there needs to have been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for at least six months.  In addition, the parties must have resolved the issues of equitable distribution of marital property, spousal maintenance, child custody and parenting time, child support and responsibility for debts and legal fees.  This is primarily done by executing a settlement agreement which is eventually incorporated into the Judgment of Divorce.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney

Even though married couples sometimes believe they can go through the separation process without legal representation, it is always better to seek the advice of counsel during these proceedings. Having a Suffolk County legal separation attorney on your side, especially during negotiations and the preparation of a settlement agreement, will guarantee that the marital issues are resolved in accordance with New York law and provide you with peace of mind.

The Law Offices of Michael Catalanotto, PC offers free consultations and takes pride in providing one-on-one attention to clients throughout New York.  In addition to handling New York divorce cases, our staff can provide you with expert counsel and personal guidance on dozens of other legal issues. 

To set up a meeting with our separation lawyer in Suffolk County, contact us online or call us at (631) 621-3750.

  • “Divorce is never pleasant but having a strong, knowledgeable team behind you, makes an awful situation more bearable!” - Jan S.
  • “Michael and his entire staff worked tirelessly to assist during my divorce mediation process.” - Anonymous
  • “He fought to protect the best interests of my children, and myself.” - Jennifer B.