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Separating from a Spouse? Four Tips to Follow

Spousal Separation

Deciding to separate from a spouse is often a choice that you’ve arrived at only after months of mounting tension at home. However, the beginning of a separation could be a good time to establish a healthy, respectful tone between you and your spouse. This might help you to work through the issues that have strained your marriage, or could simply make a divorce less painful and acrimonious. Read on to learn about how to establish a calm transition into a spousal separation, and speak with a New York family law attorney with any additional questions you may have about separation.

  1. Find a means of communication that will reduce fighting

    When you first separate, the discord that resulted in your separation is still very fresh. You may not be able to speak with your spouse on the phone or in person without feeling your pulse rise and your anger mount. It may help to agree to keep your communication to a written format, such as text or email, to keep tempers in check, as well as to create a record of your interactions that could later be useful.

  2. Treat your spouse as you would a professional colleague

    You’ll likely find yourself in need of your spouse’s help or generosity at various points throughout a separation, whether you need to change the custody schedule you’ve established or retrieve items from the house you once shared. Keep in mind that, even if you divorce, you’ll need to have an ongoing relationship with this person for many months or years, especially if you’re a parent. Try to preserve this relationship as much as possible, remaining calm and as helpful as possible. Speak of your spouse in respectful terms in public and in front of your children, and save any vent sessions for intimate friends.

  3. Consider seeing a counselor

    Separation is a major, challenging event in any person’s life. Take your happiness and mental health seriously and see a therapist to help you through this difficult time. Even a few sessions could provide you with useful coping tools, and could help you remain a good parent to your children despite the personal challenge you’re facing.

  4. Create a separation agreement that clarifies responsibilities and terms

    As soon as you and your spouse agree to live in separate homes, there are several issues you should work out in writing before you move apart. An attorney can help you create a legally-binding agreement that sets out any amount of spousal or child support that a spouse will pay, how joint accounts and assets will be treated during the separation, who will pay which bills, and how custody and visitation of your children will be handled. The more of these issues you can work out before you separate, the less potential for conflict will exist during the separation itself.

For assistance with creating a legal separation agreement or filing for divorce in New York, contact the compassionate, experienced, and effective Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation on your case, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, and in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.


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Kingston Office

255 Fair Street, P.O. Box 3356
Kingston, New York 12402

Phone: 845-331-4100
Fax: 845-331-6930

Marlboro Office

1390 Route 9W, P.O. Box 727
Marlboro, NY 12542

Phone: 845-236-4411
Fax: 845-236-3190

Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, is located in Kingston, NY and Marlboro, NY and serves clients in and around Ulster County as well as parts of Orange, Dutchess, Columbia and Greene Counties as well as many surrounding areas.

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