A Settlement Agreement is the written contract that contains all of the terms of your agreement with a spouse (or soon to be former spouse) once an action for divorce or annulment has been started. In the end, the agreement usually becomes incorporated into your Judgment of Divorce, while still continuing as a separate contract.
A Separation Agreement is the written contract that contains all of the terms of your agreement to live apart from your spouse. These are prepared when the parties have agreed to live separate and apart from one another, but neither is planning to go forward with a divorce in the immediate future.
Whether your agreement is called a Separation Agreement or a Settlement Agreement, the document will usually address issues that may include all or some of the following: the division of property including real estate, stocks, bank accounts and other assets; pensions; child support; spousal support; custody and parenting agreements; payment of private school and/or college expenses for children; estate and inheritance rights; liability and responsibility for marital debts; and health and life insurance provisions for spouses and children. These agreements can be quite detailed and they are difficult to modify once agreed upon. You need a qualified attorney to represent you in these matters.
My divorce, custody and child support litigation changed as the situation changed through the years (eg. Changes in child custody as to who was the custodial parent). In an atmosphere very unfamiliar and intimidating to me, I was so much in need of a stable support who was not only familiar with the court system but who could portray my needs and the multiple factors involved in my case to those making the decisions. Fran has been there for us as this support from the very beginning in 2006, through the years when I needed her legal support even to helping to facilitate a domestic settlement agreement last year. In my experience, it was always an instant relief when I'd see her on arrival to court and with Fran sitting beside me in the processes, I felt confident that I had a skilled advocate.
During my divorce and custody hearings over the last four years, I have worked with multiple attorneys in various states. I initially required the needs of an attorney in NY who would work closely with a jurisdictional attorney from another state, but Ms Cohen was such an outstanding litigator and protagonist, and an extremely skillful communicator that i continued with her throughout the years and have never regretted one moment working with her. She has intelligence, character and grit and will fight like hell for her client. She is a virtuoso in the Richmond Court system where I have witnessed her finesse. She understands the nuances of the court system and the law as well as or better than any attorney I have worked with. She comes highly recommended.
Mrs. Cohen was very professional to work with, while being compassionate as well. She was timely with returning phone calls and/or e-mails. I would recommend Mrs. Cohen to anyone seeking legal counsel in her field.
Francine Cohen is a wonderful attorney. From the initial phone consultation to the completion of my case she was definitely someone I trusted. She is extremely knowledgeable and very professional. She knows her field of law extremely well and keeps abreast with any changes of the law. I trust her completely.so much so that when my daughter needed an attorney there was no question who she would retain. That was Francine Pickett Cohen. I would refer anyone to her.
I feel Francine to be a very patient, understanding and talented individual. Even if she does not agree with what you want to accomplish, she aids you in fulfilling that which you request. Francine has a way of making you feel very comfortable at a trying time in your life.
Ms. Cohen did an excellent job both in communicating risks and benefits in terms of strategies. Her written and verbal arguments were extremely well done and persuasive. She had both tactical and strategic insights that, combined with her communication skills, led to complete success in a situation in which even partial success would have been fortuitous. The strength of her wording, her trenchant arguments and her persuasive briefs were all outstanding.
Francince Pickett Cohen not only gives me the best advice during this difficult time but she is also compassionate. Francine is very professional, knowledgeable and knows her stuff. I feel very confident with her by my side. I would recommend her and this law firm to others.
Francine Pickett Cohen
Francine Pickett Cohen, Esq. has been providing quality legal services exclusively in Family and Matrimonial Law since 1991. Ms. Cohen established her legal practice in Staten Island in 1998, strengthening her ties to the Staten Island community where she grew up.
Olga Zagika has been an associate with The Law Offices of Francine Pickett Cohen, LLC, since 2013, where she specializes in all areas of family law, including divorces, custody, child and spousal support, equitable distribution and adoptions.