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Q: How to initiate a trial separation ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: How to initiate a trial separation
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: dianed-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Dec 2002 14:40 PST
Expires: 13 Jan 2003 14:40 PST
Question ID: 124698
I would like to know the legal definition of "trial separation" in New
York State and how it is accomplished.
Subject: Re: How to initiate a trial separation
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 14 Dec 2002 18:56 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello dianed,

At the outset, I should emphasize that Researchers for Google Answers
cannot provide legal advice.  As a Researcher, all I can do is provide
the results of my research.  If you need expert legal advice, you
would need to contact an attorney who practices law (especially
domestic relations law) in New York.

Under New York's Domestic Relations statutes, there is a provision for
an action for separation forever or "for a limited time".  ("Trial
separation" itself does not appear to be a term under the New York
statutes; however, "separation for a limited time" seems to be the
same thing.)  The action may be based on any of five reasons set forth
in the statute.  After a court has granted a judgment for a
separation, either forever or "for a limited period", the parties may
later file a joint application to have the judgment revoked.  (Thus,
even a permanent separation might, in retrospect, become a trial

"Domestic Relations - Article 11 - Action For Separation"
New York State Assembly

The procedures for an action for separation, as well as other
matrimonial actions, are set forth in two other articles of the New
York Domestic Relations statutes:

"Domestic Relations - Article 11-A - Special Provisions Relating to
Divorce and Separation"
New York State Assembly

If children are involved, another set of provisions -- in Article 5-A
of the Domestic Relations statutes -- may come into play.  You can
click on the links for the "Titles" under this article if you want to
review these provisions.

"Domestic Relations - Index"
New York State Assembly

I have also found a helpful pamphlet from the New York State Bar
Association, which you can read online.  In particular, pages 4 and 5
of the pamphlet (pages 5 and 6 of the PDF file) focus on separation.

"Divorce & Separation in New York State" (12/00)
New York State Bar Assocation

On page 4, the pamphlet notes the possibility of a separation
agreement, as opposed to a separation judgment:

"A separation agreement is a detailed contract which should be
prepared by attorneys, where the parties agree to live separate for
the rest of their lives."

I don't know if this means that a separation agreement cannot be for a
"trial separation".  I would imagine that a separation agreement could
last for "a limited time", just like a separation judgment.  In any
event, as the pamphlet recommends, lawyers should prepare such an

Another important statement in the context of your question is:

"Living apart, without a formal written agreement of separation or a
court judgment of separation, is not recognized as a ground for a New
York State divorce, no matter how long you continue to live

In other words, according to this pamphlet, an informal "trial
separation" is not a recognized ground for divorce, while a formal
"trial separation" could be.  On page 1 (page 2 of the PDF file), the
pamphlet explains that:

"We do not have a 'no-fault' divorce in New York State except where
the parties have been separated pursuant to a separation decree or a
separation agreement for more than a year and the party seeking the
divorce has substantially complied with the terms of the separation
decree or the separation agreement."

So, without a separation of a year or more, a person who wanted to get
a divorce would have to rely on a ground explained in the pamphlet.

I hope that this information is helpful.

- justaskscott-ga

I used various combinations of these search terms on Google and
FindLaw ( ):

"new york"
"trial separation"

I also found the New York State Consolidated Laws on FindLaw.
dianed-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
I appreaciate the urls to other research documents.  Thanks for all the info.

There are no comments at this time.

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