Matrimonial actions refer to a variety of legal decisions associated with
the end of a marriage. This can include a divorce, legal separation, and
annulment. Each of these legal actions is handled somewhat differently
in each state, though most of the differences are minor. However, understanding
the key differences between each of these matrimonial actions is essential
if you and your spouse are considering putting an end to your relationship.
There are benefits and downsides to each matrimonial action, so the key
is to learn as much as you can about each option before you choose which
is best for you. Additionally, an annulment is not an option for many
married couples, and some couples might not be able to accomplish what
they wish through either a legal separation or a divorce.
Before you make any permanent decisions about your marriage, make sure
you understand the three key matrimonial actions in New York and how they
could affect you.
An annulment does more than just end your marriage, it makes it so that,
legally speaking, your marriage never existed. The conditions for an annulment
in New York are very specific, and not everyone is eligible.
You can only pursue an annulment in New York if one of the following conditions is true:
- Either spouse was under the age of 18
- Either spouse is mentally ill or was mentally incapacitated when the marriage
- The marriage was not consummated and either spouse is physically incapable
of consummating the marriage
- The marriage was conducted under false pretenses or fraudulent claims
- The marriage took place so that one spouse could obtain a Green Card
- The marriage took place while either spouse was forced or under duress
For couples who do not qualify for, or do not want, an annulment, divorce
can be the best way to dissolve their marriage. The divorce process will
successfully end the marriage, but it will not erase it completely, as
an annulment will. Divorced couples can separate themselves personally,
financially, and in every other aspect. If a couple shares children, they
can also create a parenting plan to effectively work together as co-parents
through child custody and child support arrangements. Additionally, the
couple will need to separate all assets and work out any spousal support payments.
Through a legal separation, each party may be free to live their separate
lives without going through a permanent divorce. Some couples choose to
be legally separated so that they can work towards repairing their marriage
later, or to take time to decide whether or not they wish to remain married.
Others choose to separate because they don’t wish to go through
with a divorce at any point. Whatever the reasoning, a legal separation
can be an effective way to grant each spouse legal freedom while the marriage
If one spouse relies on the other for health benefits, they may wish to
remain married, but legally separated, so that those health benefits may
continue. Separation might also be the best choice for military couples
if the spouse of the military member wishes to qualify for lifetime health
benefits after 10 years of marriage. Couples might also lean towards a
legal separation because they can benefit from Social Security benefits
if the marriage lasted for 10 years or more.
Not sure which matrimonial action is best for you? Our firm can help.
Contact The Law Firm of Wayne F. Crowe, Jr., P.C. to discuss your case with our Yonkers divorce lawyer.