Understanding Separation Agreements in New York

When a couple encounters problems, they can consider a separation agreement rather than a divorce. A separation agreement allows the couple to essentially “pause” their relationship while remaining married. This can provide time and space for both parties to work on their issues and determine if they want to reconcile or pursue a divorce.

Additionally, a separation agreement can provide structure and clarity during the separation period, which can help avoid misunderstandings and disputes. Overall, a separation agreement can be a good alternative to divorce for couples who are not ready to make a final decision about the future of their relationship.

What Is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a legally-binding, enforceable contract between spouses. The marriage remains legally intact, but the relationship itself is over. Some couples see it as a way of putting the relationship on hold for a bit without officially ending it.

How Does a Separation Agreement Work?

When a couple decides to separate, they can negotiate their separation agreement outside of the court. They must be transparent and honest about their assets, debts, and income. Once they have both agreed and signed their separation agreement, they can file it with the court. This agreement can replace the need to stand before a judge in court. This is a less stressful and more cost-effective option than litigation.

Why Is a Separation Agreement Important?

A separation agreement is essential because it sets out the terms of the separation. This agreement can hold each party accountable for obeying the terms of the separation. If there is a violation, the offender can be sued for breach of contract.

Important Aspects of a Separation Agreement

A separation agreement can be as detailed as the couple wants, and they can tailor it to meet their needs.

A good separation agreement should address:

  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Division of marital property
  • Child support and education
  • Life insurance and healthcare
  • The responsibility for debt repayment
  • Issues of relocating from the current residence

The Potential Benefits of a Marriage Separation in New York

A separation agreement can provide several benefits, including:


A separation agreement clearly outlines the terms of the separation. This includes anything from property division, child custody, and spousal support. This decisiveness can help avoid misunderstanding, confusion, or disputes down the line.


A separation agreement can be less expensive than going to court. Any moment you spend in front of a judge costs money. Since you are working on it together, it takes less time, and you must for only the filing costs.

You may need some help negotiating. If so, we recommend mediation. This process is still far less costly than both parties hiring an attorney. You pay for the mediator’s time, and you can resolve most of your issues with only one meeting.


Unlike a divorce judgment, a separation agreement can be customized to fit the needs of both spouses. This allows for greater flexibility in coming to an agreement that works for everyone.

Asset Protection

By outlining the division of assets in a separation agreement, each spouse can protect their assets and ensure they receive their fair share in the event of a divorce.


A separation agreement can provide closure for both spouses, allowing them to move forward. For some, the time apart will tell them that the marriage is over, and they can easily transition into a full divorce. For others, the distance can make them realize that they want to resolve their differences and try again.

Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C. can help with marriage separation agreements. Our team can help you create a deal that works for everyone, and we can make sure all documents are filed correctly. For a free consultation, contact us online or call our office at (516) 514-3868.