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?
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, 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
3) Confinement in prison for 3 or more consecutive years
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.