Experienced New York City Legal Separation Lawyer

Experienced New York City Legal Separation Lawyer - Legal Separation & Divorce

Practically speaking, couples may choose to take time away from each other when a relationship shows signs of dissolving. They may take a marital “time out” to gain insight into their own needs outside the marriage and decide what is best for them in the future. But a physical trial separation and legal separation are very different things and each has its own consequences. Couples should weigh those consequences when considering separation to ensure that they are legally protected from any unforeseen situations.

At the Law Office of Ryan Besinque, Manhattan legal separation lawyer Ryan Besinque and our skilled team of New York City divorce and family law attorneys are dedicated to the welfare of our clients. We focus on protecting the financial assets, parental rights, and practical aspects of each separation or divorce situation to ensure that each client is protected each step of the way.

If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation, contact us to understand how a legal separation agreement might work for you. Our top New York family law attorneys can help you make the best choice when moving forward with a legal separation. Contact us today at (929) 251-4477 to learn more about the process. 

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What is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation is an agreement where married people choose to live apart from each other while they are still married. While an informal separation may be easier, it lacks important protections for both parties and their families especially when children and significant assets are involved. 

A legal separation is an agreement where married people choose to live apart from each other while they are still married. While an informal separation may be easier, it lacks important protections for both parties and their families especially when children and significant assets are involved. 

In New York, a separation agreement binds both spouses to its terms and specifies each party’s rights and responsibilities while they are living apart. Without a legal separation agreement, the separation is not considered legal and the courts cannot enforce any agreements that spouses have made with each other informally.

Important matters that are often set out in a separation agreement can include terms and conditions about how the couple will divide their property, pay bills and other debts, share child custody arrangements, and who will be responsible for child support and spousal support. In order to be legally separated, both spouses must agree to the terms of the separation agreement, sign it, and file it with the Clerk of the County Court in the area where they live. 

If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation, having a  binding and comprehensive separation agreement is crucial. Consulting with a top New York legal separation attorney can ensure this. At The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, we can help create and draft a separation agreement that may protect you in many areas of legal separation.

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How Does a Legal Separation Differ From Divorce?

Despite being legally enforceable, a legal separation is just that – a separation. Spouses are still married to each other until divorce action is taken. Until then, both spouses maintain their married relationship with each other, even though they are living apart and following the terms dictated in their separation agreement. Being legally separated is not like getting a divorce. A legal separation may be revoked if both parties submit evidence of reconciliation.

Hiring a lawyer for your legal separation agreements is very important. At The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, separation lawyer Ryan Besinque and our top family attorneys can help you make necessary decisions for your and your family’s future should you choose to be legally separated from your spouse. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (929) 251-4477

Legal Separation Agreement ConsiderationDetails
Where you will liveSeparate residences; disposition of family home and other properties
VisitationSchedule for spending time with children, including weekdays, vacations, and holidays
Child custodyDetermination of primary custodial parent or joint custody arrangement
Spousal supportSpecified amount and duration of support during separation
Child supportAgreed payment amount, frequency, and handling of additional child-related costs
Paying billsAllocation of responsibility for bills and payment arrangements

Why Do Couples Choose to be Legally Separated?

There are many reasons that spouses choose to not be together anymore. Often, couples want to stay married for economic reasons or to continue to file joint tax returns. Some remain married for a finite period in order to become eligible for social security benefits based on their spouse’s income. Others may want to stay together for the other spouse’s health insurance or sometimes, divorce may simply not fit their religious beliefs. Whatever the grounds they have, legal separation provides them with a framework while pursuing their own life outside the marriage.

Legal separation is not like divorce. A couple can get back together as long as they don’t go down the path of getting a divorce. Depending on the terms of their separation agreement, both spouses can choose to get back together and reverse the separation. If you or your spouse need more information about a legal separation, contact law attorney Ryan Besinque and our team of experienced New York family law attorneys at the Law Office of Ryan Besinque today at (929) 251-4477

The Cost of a Separation in New York

If the terms of legal separation are agreed upon by both spouses, the only cost may be the $210 court filing fee in New York and the notary public services. Due to the complexity of legal issues involved in the process, it is highly recommended that spouses have their agreement written by an attorney. Though this will add to the overall cost of the process, a skilled lawyer may be able to help the couple avoid costly mistakes in the paperwork.

The process can become more complicated if spouses are unable to agree on the terms. They may have to hire attorneys to help them negotiate and protect their rights. This case can be costly due to the amount of time required for the negotiations.

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Marco Barone
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Having Ryan as Lawyer it’s not only having a sure professional lawyer by your side , but it’s a blessing! It’s above the professionalism because he has a Human side that makes you feel considered and safe. With so much understanding! Thanks so much for helping me with my case in family court your help was precious.
Nancy Sanchez
Nancy Sanchez
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My ex and I really had a messy divorce. It was so stressful and emotional, we both couldn’t agree on many important issues. Having Ryan Besinque as my divorce lawyer really eased all my worries. He really helped me through this mess. He was with me every step of the process. He is calm, trustworthy, skilled, prepared, and a true professional. He really cares about me and my family’s well being. He gave me hope that things will get better. He explained everything to me in a manner that I can easily comprehend. He’s really one of the best NYC divorce lawyers. Hire him. You won’t regret it.
Alex Teller
Alex Teller
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I hired Ryan to do my prenuptial agreement, and I'm really happy I did. He was always so quick to respond, and to follow up with me and for me. He listened, and created something I feel very confident about going into marriage with. I appreciated the advice and suggestions he gave as well. I would, without question, recommend him to anyone!
Eric Hagstrom
Eric Hagstrom
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Ryan did a great job writing my prenup with some non-standard elements, really great attitude, very responsive, very professional. Highly recommend
Matt Freeman
Matt Freeman
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Ryan Besinque is one of the most down to earth, professional, and hard working lawyers I’ve ever retained. He guided me through my uncontested divorce, child support and custody. If you are looking for a lawyer who will go to bat for you and knock it out of the park, he is your lawyer! He is absolutely worth every penny!
Jenny Ruiz
Jenny Ruiz
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I am happy to write a review about Mr. Besinque. I have a custody case, and the court referred my case over to him, and I was represented for free. It was my first time going through this complex process, and to be honest, I was scared because I didn't know what to expect. After speaking to him, he made everything so simple to understand, and I navigated the process with great confidence. Mr. Besinque’s knowledge and experience gave me the peace of mind I needed. I recommend Mr. Besinque to anyone looking for a lawyer where your family’s best interests are protected.

Separation Lawyers at the Law Office of Ryan Besinque Explain the Beginning and End of a Legal Separation

The legal separation process begins after both parties have signed the agreement and have it notarized. Upon the notarization, the agreement becomes legally binding. It does not matter if you and your spouse were living separately before the agreement was signed. The time that you spent apart before the legal separation was finalized will not be counted as part of the agreement. Both you and your spouse have the right to end your legal separation at any time. However, if you and your spouse decide to divorce, the legal separation agreement must remain in place for at least a year. 

How Long Does a Separation Agreement Last?

There is no time limit with a legal separation. According to the law, it can last as long as a couple wants and will end either when a couple reconciles, or if they subsequently file for divorce. If the couple feels that its terms no longer meet their needs, a separation agreement can be modified and refiled if necessary. If the separation is being used as a basis for a subsequent divorce, however, the couple must have been living apart under the separation agreement for one year or longer.

What Do Agreements for Legal Separation Entail?

Similar to divorce, a separation agreement should address many different things. In format, it must include specific information such as where and when you were married and the date you became separated. It must set out many different specifics about each spouse’s responsibilities and obligations, so great consideration should be given to its terms.  A comprehensive settlement agreement should consider:

Where you will live

Legally separated spouses must live separately at all times. The separation agreement can also refer to what will happen to the family home or specify other properties that each wants to maintain in the separation.


Regardless of who maintains custody, a visitation schedule must be made part of your separation agreement if you have minor children. It should include things like how many times during the week each spouse has time with the child and how vacations and holidays will be handled.

Child custody

Both spouses need to agree on who will be the primary custodial parent or how you will share joint custody of your children.

Spousal support

If one spouse expects spousal support during the term of the separation, the amount and term of support should be specified in the agreement.

Child support

While child support is generally paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial one, both spouses must determine the amount of support and how often it should be paid. The agreement should also refer to how any additional costs for the children will be handled.

Paying bills

Separating spouses must determine who will be responsible for what bills and how they will be paid.

A legal separation can sometimes be as complicated as getting a divorce. These matters should be set out as concisely as possible to ensure the agreement’s enforceability should one spouse not live up to its terms.

If you are considering a legal separation, it is a good idea to get the guidance and input of an experienced New York legal separation lawyer. At The Law Office of Ryan Besinque, we can advise and guide you through the many facets and legal implications of your separation agreement to ensure that it fully protects you and works well for you and your family. If you would like to convert your legal separation into a conversion divorce, our New York City divorce attorneys may be able to assist you. Contact us today at (929) 251-4477 to schedule a consultation. 

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Are There Residency Requirements for a Marriage Separation to be Legal in New York?

If you and your spouse are residents of New York and the reasons you are seeking a separation happened here, there are no additional ground requirements for a legal separation. Otherwise, spouses seeking a legal separation must fulfill one of the following:

One spouse has been a continuous resident of New York for at least two years prior to filing for separation.

One spouse has been a continuous resident of New York for at least one year prior to filing for separation, if you were married here, lived in the state at the time you were married, or the reason that you want to separate happened here.

For different reasons, spouses may enter into legal separation due to a couple of reasons. But, no matter what the reason is, legal separation needs to meet certain requirements. These requirements can be met by a Manhattan lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable in legal separation.

Both spouses must provide full financial disclosure in order to create a legally binding separation agreement. It is expected that married spouses should disclose all their financial details when they enter into an agreement for separation. If not, it can lead to the invalidation of the agreement.

Some New York divorcing couples attempt to make their own agreements, believing it will be easier or save money. However, a New York separation agreement must follow the same procedure as a deed, including having a notary acknowledge it.

New York City allows married couples to end their marriage if they no longer wish to live together. The rights and responsibilities of each spouse in legal separation are well defined, including child custody, support, and property division.

Most people today who claim they are legally separated or wish to obtain a legal divorce simply mean that they have signed a legally binding separation agreement and that they are now living separately as a result. 

If you and your spouse decide to make a temporary reconciliation, the terms of your separation agreements could be invalid. An experienced New York family attorney will draft a reconciliation clause, which would replace the common law provisions that would otherwise terminate a separation arrangement in the case of reconciliation.

You may, at some point, want to convert your separation agreement into a divorce. In this case, some conditions must be met:

  • You must have filed a legal separation agreement
  • You must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for one year or longer
  • You have purchased an index number associated with your separation, which may later be used in a conversion divorce

The court will review all the terms of the separation agreement and decide which to include in the final divorce.

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Getting the Help of a Lawyer for Legal Separation

A legal separation can be complex and can leave a spouse exposed if certain issues are not addressed in the separation agreement. Consequently, having the guidance of an experienced legal separation attorney in New York is a good strategy to ensure that matters have been considered and included in the separation agreement.

Ryan Besinque and his team of experienced New York legal separation lawyers can help ensure that you are protected by your separation agreement and that it comprehensively addresses issues that may arise. To schedule a free consultation, you may contact us via email at ryan@besinquelaw.com or via phone at (929) 251-4477.

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