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Legally separated

Legal Separation by Agreement in New York State

A husband and wife who no longer live together can be legally separated by properly signing and notarizing an instrument containing specific wording for this purpose. The only other legal alternative is a Judgment of Separation granted by the Supreme Court. Parties are not legally separated no matter how long they have been apart unless one of these two conditions is true.

A separation agreement may be used as the basis for a divorce on or after its 1 year anniversary. The 1 year time period runs from the proper execution of both husband's and wife's signatures before a notary public, not from the filing date. An agreement cannot take into account, for purposes of calculating its maturity, any time spent already separated prior to the agreement.

New York does not have no-fault divorce. Divorce on grounds of being legally separated requires a sworn statement to be made to the Court (in place of a tort-based accusation of wrong-doing or bad conduct) including, but not limited to:

    "Plaintiff and Defendant have lived separate and apart pursuant to a
    written agreement of separation. The agreement has been acknowledged
    by both parties in the manner required for a deed to be recorded.
    The agreement has been filed with the County Clerk of ________
    County on (prior date) or has been filed simultaneously with the
    summons and complaint, or has been filed simultaneously with the
    note of issue. Plaintiff has substantially performed according to
    the terms of the agreement."



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