We previously posted about Senate Bill S4248 which, if enacted, would add a fifteenth factor to New York’s equitable distribution statute to allow courts to consider the best interests of a companion animal when awarding possession in a divorce action.

Since this previous post, Senate Bill S4248 was signed by Governor Hochul on October 25, 2021, thus officially amending Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) § 236 to include the following factor:

  • In awarding the possession of a companion animal, the court shall consider the best interest of such animal. “Companion animal”, as used in this subparagraph, shall have the same meaning as in subdivision five of section three hundred fifty of the agriculture and markets law.

As previously noted, “[t]he purpose of this legislation is to ensure that the best interests of pets are taken into consideration during divorce or separation proceedings.”[1]

Samantha Guido focuses her practice on all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including contested proceedings regarding the equitable distribution of substantial real property and assets, child support and spousal maintenance, paternity, custody and access, and order modification and enforcement. Samantha believes that all clients deserve significant attention as they navigate the court system. She strives to achieve resolutions that minimize conflict but acts as a zealous advocate on behalf of her clients in the courtroom when litigation cannot be avoided.

The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. Readers of this article should seek specific legal advice from legal counsel of their choice. In the event that you need legal assistance regarding matrimonial and/or family law matters, Samantha can be reached at sguido@jaspanllp.com or (516) 393-8250.

[1] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4248

According to the United States Census Bureau, women make up nearly half of the United States work force.[i] Notwithstanding, as of 2019, women make up only 27% of workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”).[ii]  “Women employed full-time, year-round in STEM occupations earned more than their non-STEM counterparts but the gender earnings gap persisted within STEM occupations.”[iii] Men also outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. [iv] “The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.”[v]

“Women and minorities are severely underrepresented in STEM, often because they were not encouraged to early on. In a 2010 survey by the Bayer Corporation of female and minority chemists and chemical engineers, 77 percent said significant numbers of women and minorities are missing from the U.S. STEM work force because ‘they were not identified, encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on.”’[vi]

In an attempt to address this issue, on December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed a Bill[vii] “directing the urban development corporation to conduct a study regarding the assistance needed to encourage women and minorities to pursue technology careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)”. It is hopeful that: “[t]his bill will help identify the types of assistance necessary to encourage more women and minorities to enter STEM fields.”[viii]

According to Senator Anna M. Kaplan, “[s]o many employers in today’s high-tech, global economy consistently struggle to find enough qualified individuals to fill the high-skill, high-paying jobs they create, and the workforce has never been truly reflective of the diversity of our community. It’s time we helped more young women and people of color to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, and by encouraging these underrepresented groups to pursue STEM studies, we can provide greater opportunities for more young people in our community, and fill a critical need for workers skilled in the areas of demand in today’s economy.”[ix]

According to Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, “[t]his new law will help increase the numbers of women and minorities who pursue technology-based careers. While some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs are in the STEM field, the number of women and people of color employed in these fields continues to lag behind. A better understanding of the availability of grants designed to encourage underrepresented people to pursue careers in STEM is vital to help level the playing field and ensure access to well-paying and intellectually stimulating jobs.”[x]

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem-occupations-but-still-underrepresented.html (men make up 52% of the workforce).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/

[v] Id.

[vi] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[vii] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s531/amendment/b

[viii] Id.

[ix] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[x] Id.

On December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed a Bill[i] directing “the department of financial services, in consultation with the department of health to prepare a report with recommendations on their review of covered benefits related to childbirth offered by all health insurance providers in New York state.”[ii]  The purpose of the Bill is: “[t]o uncover hidden costs related to childbirth, shine a light on disparities in rates negotiated by insurers covering the birth, and determine if Statewide standards should be adopted.”[iii]

Pursuant to the Bill, the Department of Financial Services, in cooperation with the Department of Health, is to conduct a review of the benefits related to childbirth and “must include an examination of length of stay periods, costs incurred by patients and reimbursed to providers, and additional benefits offered, or not.”[iv]

Senator Julia Salazar in addressing this Bill stated that: “People expecting a child face many unknowns, which often cause anxiety and uncertainty. One of these is the difficulty many face in ascertaining the costs they will incur for labor and delivery. This bill alleviates that concern by requiring the Department of Financial Services to study and report on the coverage actually provided by insurance companies in New York for these services.”[v]

Assemblymember Chantel Jackson in discussing the Bill stated that:  Maternal Health has been of critical importance across the nation and here in New York State, as more needs to be done to close the gap in maternal mortality among women of color.  Race, poverty and discrimination still play a role in the maternal care and delivery options available and afforded to women of color.  This legislation will focus on creating a study that will shed a light and better understanding on the current insurance benefits and coverage related to childbirth. This legislation will help identify and address the areas where insurance coverage standards must be revised to better serve the maternal health needs of expectant mothers before, during and after delivery.”

The report and recommendations will be used to “determine if state-wide standards should be adopted in addition to taking measure of how the State already fulfills requirements set by the Federal ACA [Affordable Care Act].”[vi]

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4827

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Id.

[v] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[vi] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4827

One of the many unspoken issues facing homeless women is access to feminine hygiene products.  Governor Hochul, recognizing this issue, signed legislation on December 22, 2021, amending Social Services Law by adding a new section 152-c[i], which requires that feminine hygiene products be provided at no cost to menstruating individuals in homeless shelters.  The products include, but not limited to, sanitary napkins, tampons and panty liners.”[ii]  “This bill will provide feminine hygiene products at no cost to adults and children in shelters throughout New York State.”[iii] “Menstrual products can be unaffordable for those already struggling. This bill provides these products free of charge so those living in homeless shelters do not have to resort to using unsafe alternatives that can result in serious infection.”[iv] Senator Michelle Hinchey, who sponsored Senate Bill S6572, stated: “Access to menstrual supplies is a fundamental health necessity, and yet in almost every community across our state, there are people who cannot afford period products – a dilemma that no one should ever have to face.”[v] Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal echoed this sentiment and stated that woman should not be forced between deciding whether to buy food or menstrual products.[vi] This legislation is a small step in ensuring that women are treated fairly.

It is important that issues specific to women are brought to light and that women are treated equally and fairly. For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[i] Senate Bill S6572/A.529-A.

[ii] Id. at “Summary”.

[iii] Id. at “Purpose”.

[iv]https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

Jaspan Schlesinger is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month. March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation.[1] “Every March, Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people.”[2]

“Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as ‘Women’s History Week.”’[3]   In 1987, “Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as ‘Women’s History Month.’ Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.”[4]  These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.[5]

President Biden, in issuing this year’s Proclamation, stated that: “[t]his Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream.  In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.”[6]

Governor Hochul in signing legislature addressing women’s issues stated: “New York must continue to break down barriers for women and fight inequality throughout our state.”[7] “These laws will address a variety of important issues, supporting STEM [ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields] careers and helping to ensure equity and access in women’s health.”[8]

Despite progress being made, women still face obstacles in many endeavors and further progress is needed to ensure that women have the same opportunities as men and are treated equally. Jaspan Schlesinger proudly joins the Nation in recognizing March as Women’s History Month.  As we recognize Women’s History Month, we will be updating our blog with relevant and timely information and resources regarding laws which address and highlight women’s issues.

Christopher E. Vatter cvatter@jaspanllp.com / Samantha M. Guido sguido@jaspanllp.com.

 

[1] Pub. L. 100-9.

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/02/28/a-proclamation-on-womens-history-month-2022/#:~:text=NOW%2C%20THEREFORE%2C%20I%2C%20JOSEPH,2022%20as%20Women’s%20History%20Month.

[3] https://womenshistorymonth.gov/about/

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/02/28/a-proclamation-on-womens-history-month-2022/#:~:text=NOW%2C%20THEREFORE%2C%20I%2C%20JOSEPH,2022%20as%20Women’s%20History%20Month.

[7] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[8] Id.

You and your spouse have a separation agreement or judgment of separation . . . now what? Well, as we previously wrote, spouses who enter into a legal separation always have the option of getting back together without having to remarry. However, spouses may also use their separation agreement or judgment of separation to seek a final and binding divorce decree.

Despite the fact that New York State is a no-fault divorce state (all you need to show is that your relationship has irretrievably broken down for a period of six (6) months or more)[1], the law also provides ways for spouses to turn their legal separation, whether it was done by way of a separation agreement or a judgment of separation, into a binding divorce decree. There are two (2) provisions of the Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) that speak to this point.

First, in order to turn your judgment of separation into a binding divorce decree, DRL § 170(5) provides:

An action for divorce may be maintained by a husband or wife to procure a judgment divorcing the parties and dissolving the marriage on any of the following grounds:

(5)The husband and wife have lived apart pursuant to a decree or judgment of separation for a period of one or more years after the granting of such decree or judgment, and satisfactory proof has been submitted by the plaintiff that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such decree or judgment.

DRL § 170(5) is applicable when parties obtain a judgment or decree of separation under New York Law, which (as noted in our previous blog) requires the parties to commence an action for separation in court.

To convert your separation agreement into a binding divorce decree, DRL § 170(6) provides:

An action for divorce may be maintained by a husband or wife to procure a judgment divorcing the parties and dissolving the marriage on any of the following grounds:

(6)The husband and wife have lived separate and apart pursuant to a written agreement of separation, subscribed by the parties thereto and acknowledged or proved in the form required to entitle a deed to be recorded, for a period of one or more years after the execution of such agreement and satisfactory proof has been submitted by the plaintiff that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such agreement. . . .

DRL § 170(6) is applicable when parties enter into a separation agreement but do not receive a judgment of separation.[2]

Both DRL §§ 170(5) and 170(6) are avenues for individuals to obtain a judgment of divorce in New York State based upon either a judgment of separation or a separation agreement. Under both provisions, parties are required to wait at least one (1) year before they may obtain a judgment of divorce.

Should you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, a few things can happen to your separation agreement. First, your separation agreement can merge into a judgment of divorce. This means that the separation agreement will no longer exist as a separate and enforceable agreement. Instead, the separation agreement will become apart of the judgment of divorce.

Second, the separation agreement can survive as a separate and enforceable contract after the judgment of divorce is signed. Thus, all the terms set forth in the separation agreement remain valid and binding on the parties. It is important to note, however, that separation agreements are subject to modification under the law. Thus, a separation agreement may be modified prior to the entry of the judgment of divorce to reflect new or additional terms for you and your spouse.

Although spouses are not required to wait the required year to obtain a divorce and can, at any time, seek counsel of their choosing and file for divorce on the no-fault divorce ground, it is always nice to know you have another option available to you. Even if you decide to file for divorce pursuant to the no-fault statutory provision, you can still submit your separation agreement as part of a divorce decree should you decide to seek a no-fault divorce.

Any person seeking advice on how to obtain a judgment of divorce after being legally separated should consult legal counsel of their choice. The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Hanna E. Kirkpatrick or Samantha M. Guido at 516-746-8000 or via email at hkirkpatrick@jaspanllp.com or sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[1] DRL § 170(7).

[2] The difference between a judgment of separation and separate agreement are more fully laid out in our October 28, 2021 blog.

Thinking about divorce you say?  You really need a fresh start–not just relationship wise but financially, too. You wonder whether you can (and should) file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without your spouse first, as well as what that means for the primary residence you own together in New York.  The short answer is yes, you can file without your spouse but, whether you should do so before, during or after dissolution of the marriage depends on your specific financial circumstance and the laws that will apply in your jurisdiction. This blog article is only meant to provide a general overview of a few things you should know at the outset.  You should consult with legal counsel before starting either process to determine which makes the most sense for you.

As a general matter, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge unsecured debts.  However, in order to qualify for filing a petition under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, you must fall below a certain income threshold (a/k/a the “means test”).  Assuming you qualify, some of your assets, such as your home, may be liquidated if you are unable to, for example, protect them using allowable state or Federal exemptions.

With respect to the primary residence you own with your anticipated ex-spouse in New York, first consider the nature of your ownership interest.  Do you own the home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, as tenants in common, or as tenants by the entirety?  If the deed does not reflect specific language, the general rule is that if the property was purchased during the marriage and a divorce has not occurred, New York law dictates that the property is held as tenants by the entirety.

Second, keep in mind that as of the date a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is commenced, if you (as the solo filing spouse) have an undivided interest in the real property (tenancy by the entirety, joint tenancy, or tenancy in common), the trustee may sell both the estate’s interest (a/k/a your interest) and that of the non-debtor co-owner’s interest in the property.

Third, whether or not the trustee sells the home depends on several factors, including the value of the property (not the original purchase price of the home), mortgages and other liens encumbering the property, and homestead exemptions. There are different exemptions under New York State law and Federal law. Which exemptions to take depends on your specific circumstances. As of April 1, 2021, if only one spouse files, the allowable New York State exemption is $89,975, which is higher in some counties. For example, for real property located in Nassau County and Suffolk County, the homestead exemption is $179,975.

However, if a married couple files together, the exemption doubles provided they both own the property.

Also, keep in mind that under section 363(h) of the Bankruptcy Code, a trustee may sell such interests only if:

  • partition of the property is impracticable; and
  • sale of the bankruptcy estate’s undivided interest in the property would realize significantly less for the estate than sale of the property free of the non-filing co-owner’s interest; and
  • the benefit to the bankruptcy estate of a sale of the property free of the co-owner’s interest outweighs any detriment to the co-owners.

Ultimately, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition jointly with your spouse (assuming you fall below the income requirement for Chapter 7), may allow you and your spouse to take advantage of certain homestead exemptions when you both own the marital home.  Also, if you file for bankruptcy first, the division of assets that needs to happen during the divorce process could become simplified.

Bankruptcy is a unique area of law for which individuals should get detailed legal advice and counsel. The material provided in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you.  Readers of this article should seek specific legal advice from legal counsel of their choice.  You can reach Sophia Perna-Plank at spernaplank@jaspanllp.com or (516) 393-8270 or Marissa Pullano at mpullano@jaspanllp.com or (516) 393-8297.

We previously posted a blog discussing some basic concepts to think about when deciding whether you and your spouse should consider entering into a separation agreement. The purpose of this week’s blog is to provide information on how a party may be able to secure a decree of separation and how it differs from a separation agreement.

As previously provided, a separation agreement is a written agreement that allows spouses an opportunity to resolve certain marital discord while also giving spouses the opportunity to live separate and apart from each other, all while remaining legally married. As addressed in the previous blog post, entering into a separation agreement does not require court intervention.

To obtain a decree of separation, which is a final judgment entered by a court separating the parties “from bed and board, forever, or for a limited time,”[1] a spouse must commence an action in court seeking a judgment of separation against their spouse.[2] Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) § 200, there are five (5) reasons you can seek a judgment of separation:

  • The cruel and inhuman treatment of the plaintiff by the defendant such that the conduct of the defendant so endangers the physical or mental well being of the plaintiff as renders it unsafe or improper for the plaintiff to cohabit with the defendant.
  • The abandonment of the plaintiff by the defendant.
  • The neglect or refusal of the defendant-spouse to provide for the support of the plaintiff-spouse where the defendant-spouse is chargeable with such support under the law.
  • The commission of an act of adultery by the defendant, with certain exceptions.
  • The confinement of defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant.

As can be seen, a party is extremely limited in the circumstances for which they may seek a formal judgment of separation from the court. It also bears noting that a judgment of separation, just as with a divorce proceeding, can be fully contested. This means your spouse will have the full opportunity to oppose your application seeking a judgment of separation. Due to that, most people do not go this route. Instead, if spouses which to remain married but living separately, many people simply seek to enter into a separation agreement rather than proceeding with the route of securing a judgment of separation as a judgment of separation may prove to be more time consuming, costly and require court intervention.

Any person contemplating entering into a separation agreement or seeking advice on how a separation agreement could benefit them should consult legal counsel of their choice. The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Hanna E. Kirkpatrick or Samantha M. Guido at 516-746-8000 or via email at hkirkpatrick@jaspanllp.com or sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[1] DRL § 200.

[2] Note that a legal separation is different than a divorce. A divorce dissolves a marriage; whereas parties who are legally separated by a judgment of separation continue to be married.

On October 8, 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law Assembly Bill A898B, which expands a parents’ duty to support a disabled adult child until the age of 26. Specifically, the legislation amended the Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) by adding a new section, § 240-d and modified the Family Court Act by adding a new section, 413-b.

The newly added DRL § 240-d, entitled “Support order for certain adult dependents,” provides:

  1. Notwithstanding any other law, a person who would otherwise be chargeable under law with support of a minor child is also chargeable with the support of any such individual until such individual reaches the age of twenty-six, when it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court that the person is developmentally disabled as defined in subdivision twenty-two of section 1.03 of the mental hygiene law, resides with the person seeking such support, and is principally dependent on such person for maintenance. A finding of a developmental disability shall be supported by a diagnosis and accompanying report of a physician, licensed psychologist, registered professional nurse, licensed clinical social worker or a licensed master social worker under the supervision of a physician, psychologist or licensed clinical social worked authorized to practice under title eight of the education law, and acting within their lawful scope.
  2. Upon petition brought by such person, the court shall make its award for support for such individual with a developmental disability in accordance with the provisions of subdivision one-b of section two hundred forty of this article. In addition to the provisions of subdivision one-b of section two hundred forty of this article, the court may consider whether the financial responsibility of caring for the individual has been unreasonably placed on one parent when determining the support obligation. The duration of time the court may use when considering this factor shall be limited to the time period from when the child turned twenty-one until the individual turns twenty-six. If a child support order ended at the age of eighteen then such time period shall be from when the child turned eighteen until the individual turns twenty-six.
  3. The court has jurisdiction to determine proceedings brought by petition and order to show cause, for the determination of support of such adult dependents, as well as to enforce or modify orders or judgments.
  4. The court shall have discretion to order the payor party to make support payments either to the petitioner or to the trustee of an “exception trust” as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)(A) and (C), clause (iii) of subparagraph two of paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section three hundred sixty-six of the social services law, and section 7-1.12 of the estates, powers and trusts law if such direction would assist in maximizing assistance to the child.
  5. Except where inconsistent with this section, all provisions of this article relating to orders of child support shall apply to all orders of support for adults with developmental disabilities.

The only difference in the newly added Family Court Act § 413-b, entitled “Support orders for certain adult dependents”, is paragraph 2., which provides:

Upon petition brought by the parent or kinship caregiver of an adult child with a disability, the court shall make its award for support for such individual with a developmental disability in accordance with the provisions of subdivision one of section four hundred thirteen of this part. In addition to the provisions of subdivision one of section four hundred thirteen of this part, the court may consider whether the financial responsibility of caring for the individual has been unreasonably placed on one parent when determining the child support obligation. The duration of time the court may use when considering this factor shall be limited to the time period from when the child turned twenty-one until the individual turns twenty-six. If a child support order ended at the age of eighteen then such time period shall be from when the child turned eighteen until the individual turns twenty-six.

For more details on Assembly Bill A898B, visit The New York State Senate website at nysenate.gov.

The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Samantha M. Guido at 516-746-8000 or via email at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

 

As Taylor Swift once said, “we are never getting back together, like, ever.” Unfortunately, this is the reality for approximately 50% of all married couples. That is because approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. We previously posted about the Key Components in Litigating your Divorce and detailed the framework of what the divorce process looks like. But what happens if you are not ready to move forward with the divorce process but are not happy in your marriage?

In New York, spouses can enter into what is referred to as a “separation agreement,” which is a written agreement that allows spouses an opportunity to resolve certain marital discord while also giving spouses the opportunity to live separate and apart from each other, all while remaining married. This can and is often done without court intervention, which saves time and money.

You may be asking, why do I need to enter into a separation agreement? Can’t I just move out and be considered separated from my spouse? The technical answer is yes. But from a legal standpoint, this may not be the wise choice. Let’s say you and your spouse are having difficulty in your marriage and decide to separate. Your husband moves out and establishes his own residence outside the marital home. While separated, your husband incurs a hefty credit card debt. After some time being separated, you decide to file for divorce and are shocked to learn that you may be responsible for the credit card debt your husband incurred during your period of separation. You are also shocked to learn that your husband may be entitled to the Florida vacation home you purchased with your income after he moved out. This is because this debt and the vacation home continue to be considered “marital property” under New York law subject to equitable distribution in a divorce proceeding.

These types of problems can all be avoided by entering into a separation agreement. A separation agreement can resolve issues like child support, maintenance (or spousal support), custody and parenting time, division of property, property acquired after the date of separation and the like. In terms of the hypothetical above, it can set forth terms that will prevent a spouse from being held responsible for credit card debt incurred after the date of separation or protect a vacation home purchased after the date of separation.

The beauty of a separation agreement is that although it prepares spouses in the event of a divorce, it is not a final and binding divorce decree. Meaning, if the spouses decide to get back together, they can do so. In certain instances, separation agreements become void when the spouses begin living together again and intend on reconciling. This is of course subject to the terms of the agreement you sign as some agreements may expressly provide that you can only void the separation agreement by executing another instrument expressly invalidating the prior agreement. Clearly, every separation agreement is different and depends on the desires and needs of the individual spouses.

Any person contemplating entering into a separation agreement or seeking advice on how a separation agreement could benefit them should consult legal counsel of their choice. The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Hanna E. Kirkpatrick or Samantha M. Guido at 516-746-8000 or via email at hkirkpatrick@jaspanllp.com or sguido@jaspanllp.com.