Is There a Legal Separation In NJ?

The most well known way to end a marriage is through the legal process of divorce. However, some couples are not ready to absolutely end their marriage through divorce, so there are other options available. Depending on the state you live in, there are a few different ways to effectuate a legal change in a marriage. In some states there is a legally recognized process of separating. And in some states there is what is known as a divorce from bed and board. There is no formal process for legal separation in NJ of a married couple, but there are options that have similar features.

Alternative Option to Legal Separation In NJ - Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is a less formal process than divorce or divorce from bed and board, but still provides some protection to the spouses. A separation agreement describes the terms of a married couple’s separation. In order to create a separation agreement, the spouses will negotiate issues such as the division of property, alimony, child custody, and child support. Then, attorneys will draw up an agreement outlining those issues, and the couple will sign the agreement. The separation agreement is not filed with the court, and the couple will remain married. The separation agreement is treated like any other contract by the courts, so the parties are bound to hold up their end of the agreement. If a party does not abide by the agreement, the other party may file an action in court to enforce the agreement.

A separation agreement may be used when a couple believes there is a possibility of reconciling and are able to come to an agreement on the terms of their separation without needing serious intervention.

Alternative Option to Legal Separation In NJ - Divorce From Bed and Board

While there is no legal separation in New Jersey, there is the option of divorce from bed and board, which has similar characteristics and is somewhere between a legal separation and an absolute divorce. A divorce from bed and board is a legal process allows a married couple to economically separate themselves from one another and live separately without fully divorcing. This is why divorce from bed and board is called a ‘limited divorce’. It does not fully end the marriage, but rather is a legal process that ends the financial aspect of marriage. Property acquired by a spouse after filing for divorce from bed and board will be separate property that the other party will not be entitled to share.

Couples that cannot or wish not to divorce due to religious reasons often use a divorce from bed and board rather than an absolute divorce. It is also commonly used by spouses who are ending long term marriages and do not wish to remarry, as it may allow the parties to stay on the same health insurance plan, which often offers a significant cost savings to both parties.

If you are considering the end of your marriage, it is important to know that you have options with how you wish to proceed. Call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen today at (201) 845-7400 for a free 30 minute in office consultation.

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