For spouses in New York that no longer want to be together, there are alternatives to getting divorced. Couples can file for legal separation or an annulment instead of terminating the marriage through the divorce process. However, these options do not carry the same results as a normal divorce. Understanding the differences between a divorce and a legal separation or annulment can help you determine what is a viable option for you and your spouse.
Legal Separations in New York
A legal separation is not the same as simply agreeing to live apart from your spouse. In order to qualify for a legal separation, the couple must enter into a Separation Agreement.
Within the Separation Agreement, matters are discussed and agreed upon, such as:
If one spouse does not comply with the term agreed upon, the courts are able to enforce compliance. At the end of a legal separation, the couple is legally still married and cannot remarry, even though they live separately.
Can I Choose to Get an Annulment Instead?
Unlike a legal separation, an annulment legally ends a marriage. However, the annulment process declares a marriage void or invalid instead of just over. Under an annulment, it is like the marriage never happened. Not every marriage can end in an annulment. There are certain qualifications that make applying for an annulment complicated and only attainable in certain situations.
Grounds for an annulment include:
- One or both spouses were under 18 years old at the time of the marriage
- Mental incapacity of one or both spouses prohibited consent to marriage
- Either spouse was able to have sexual intercourse
- The marriage was obtained by fraud, coercion, or duress
There are many reasons to want to get an annulment instead of a divorce, including religious reasons. If this is the case for you, seeking the help of an experienced divorce attorney is vital, due to the proof needed when attaining an annulment.
If you would like more information on legal separations or annulments, our Brooklyn divorce lawyers at Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C. can assist you. Just call us at (718)717-1005!