One of the most confusing issues concerning divorces in New Jersey is “legal separation”, which is a court approved separation that allows you to stay married. Legal separation can be beneficial for couples who no longer wish to live together, but want to avoid the financial and emotional costs of a divorce. By staying married, both spouses can continue to take advantage of financial incentives like tax exemptions and lower health care premiums. Legal separation may also be the best option for couples who risk excommunication from their religion if they divorce.
Legal Separation In New Jersey
While the idea of legal separation seems clear enough, the confusion is over the fact that the New Jersey Courts do not grant legal separations. This is different than most other states, where spouses can submit written agreements containing provisions for things like custody, child support and property division. Couples can choose to stay permanently separated, or file for divorce in the future, at which point they will need to file a formal complaint. In New Jersey, however, “The court does not grant ‘legal separations',” according to the New Jersey Courts website. The site also states, “If you are living separate and apart from your spouse, you may consider yourself as being separated.”
Divorce from Bed and Board
Unfortunately, it is not that simple for couples who share children and/or complicated financial responsibilities. In order to give spouses certain legal rights while freeing them from an undesirable situation, New Jersey allows for the filing of divorce from bed and board. A bed and board divorce can be filed on the same grounds as a regular divorce, but both you and your spouse must be in full agreement with the terms. This means that you cannot petition for court intervention should you and your spouse have any disagreements. In addition, the courts cannot provide you with legal advice, so it's highly recommended that you work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. It's also important to note that you are still married; neither of you can remarry until the court grants you a final judgement of divorce. On the other hand, it's much easier to reconcile should you want to give your marriage another chance. A bed and board divorce judgment can simply be revoked, whereas you would have marry all over again should you wish to reconcile after divorce.
Contact An Experienced Divorce From Bed And Board Attorney
To determine if a divorce from bed and board is in your best interest, please speak with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Although bed and board divorces have numerous financial and emotional advantages, there are economic disadvantages that you should take into consideration. For example, any assets you and your spouse accrue during a bed and board divorce will not be considered martial properties. You may also lose your right to inherit, or claim an elective share of your spouse's estate. For more information on all your available divorce options, please schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.