For many couples in Long Island who are considering ending their marriages, the first step may be a trial separation. Regardless of whether it ends in divorce or not, a physical separation often gives each spouse the time to consider what a divorce would mean and whether it is the right decision. While a separation tends to be an emotional time, it still allows an individual an important opportunity to take the steps necessary for ensuring that his or her personal financial situation is well-handled.

A wise first step is making sure that both spouses are aware of the marital financial situation. This can include familiarizing themselves with investments, income, expenses and more, but if one spouse has traditionally handled the bulk of the finances, now is the time for the other to become more involved and aware. Separation is also a good time to consider closing any joint credit accounts to avoid legal responsibility for debts incurred by an estranged spouse. A wise step might be for each spouse to obtain credit cards in his or her own name only, to begin building individual credit separately.

Additionally, during any separation, either on a trial basis or in preparation for divorce, an attorney can help by drawing up something called a separation agreement. This legally binding document will outline the terms under which the couple will live apart while they are still legally married. A separation agreement can prove essential for financial protection during separations of any length of time.

A separation agreement can cover a variety of aspects, including the division of marital assets and retirement savings. It will also deal with issues like alimony and child support, health and life insurance, and liability for any debts incurred during the separation. A Long Island family law attorney can offer valuable protection and representation to anyone in New York who is considering divorce or legal separation.

Source: forbes.com, “Dos And Dont’s Of Marital Separation“, Jeff Landers, April 4, 2017