Moving boxes out of the living room

Understanding the Difference Between Separation and Divorce

Because everyone’s family situation is unique, New York allows married couples to file for either separation or divorce if they no longer want to live together. And while divorce may be more common and well-known, it’s important to know both of your options before making anything official — you may be surprised to learn that divorce isn’t ideal for your situation.

New York Allows Couples to File for Separation or Divorce

If a couple no longer wants to be together, divorce is one of the most common ways to dissolve a marriage. During a divorce, your assets will be divided, custody agreements will be drawn, and spousal support will be decided on. And once the divorce is finalized, you will no longer be married.

In New York, a legal separation is an alternative to divorce when spouses no longer wish to live together. And while this court order tackles most of the same issues as a divorce, the main difference is that you still remain legally married, meaning neither party can get remarried.

Separation is often also a requirement before filing for divorce — many courts will mandate a couple separate for a period of time before filing for divorce.

Why Would Someone Choose Separation Over Divorce?

Every family situation is unique, so divorce isn’t always the right option. Couples often choose to separate because:

  • Of their religious beliefs.
  • They want to legally keep their family together, often for the sake of their children.
  • One spouse wants to keep health insurance benefits they’d lose if they underwent a divorce.
  • The couple isn’t ready to commit to a divorce and may want to work on their marriage in the future.

For over a decade, Family Law Attorney Natalie Markfeld has helped New Yorkers in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties protect their rights and pursue their best interests in and out of the courtroom. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (718) 569-8618.