Legal Separation in New Jersey

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Why A Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

When someone realizes they are unhappy in their marriage, they begin to explore the possibility of a divorce filing.  For many reasons, an individual may not yet be ready to file a divorce complaint.  There could be a chance for reconciliation, or time apart from one another may rekindle the couple’s feelings for one another.  An option is available for consideration for people who may not be quite ready to file for divorce. That option is a legal separation. A legal separation is not a divorce and does not end the marriage. While separated, you cannot remarry, and you must continue to report as being married on your taxes.

Couples utilize a legal separation as a steppingstone to the divorce process. Some use it as a bridge to reconciliation.

Is Legal Separation Recognized in the State of New Jersey?

New Jersey is one of a handful of states that does not formally recognize legal separations.  What this means is that New Jersey does not have a formalized separation process. However, as consenting adults, couples who wish to separate can enter a contract. The contract that they enter is called a separation agreement. A separation agreement outlines the parties’ respective responsibilities to one another during the period of separation. You also do not need to have the courts involved when you prepare and subsequently enter into a separation agreement. However, you will want to make sure that you consult with a divorce lawyer before entering into such an agreement. If you choose not to, the content of that agreement could be potentially used against you in the event of a subsequent divorce filing. In addition, you should obtain legal advice about the nuanced differences between a divorce filing and a separation before entering into a separation agreement.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement, if appropriately drafted, may be able to be utilized in your divorce as part of your marital settlement agreement. The purpose of the separation agreement is to outline the responsibilities of each party concerning all issues to be addressed in a divorce proceeding. In a way, a separation agreement is like a limited divorce. After entering into a separation agreement, you are still legally married.  To formally commence a divorce proceeding in New Jersey, you will need to file a divorce complaint.  Filing a complaint about a divorce is a big step, and you must be ready for it. Divorce and separation are challenging times for anyone to have to endure.

Divorce from Bed and Board

New Jersey recognizes a form of a limited divorce that is called a divorce from bed and board. This type of divorce is for insurance purposes. For example, Suppose the parties obtain a divorce from bed and board. In that case, it may be feasible for one spouse to remain on the other spouse’s health insurance coverage for the duration of the time that the divorce from bed and board remains in effect. Therefore, before entering into a divorce from bed and board, it is imperative to inquire whether the health insurance provider will recognize this and permit the coverage to continue. In addition, a divorce from bed and board will help with the division of acquired property.

Make The Right Choice By Contacting Villani and DeLuca Today!

Whether considering a legal separation or a divorce, you must seek advice from an experienced family law attorney who can explain the differences between absolute divorce and a separation agreement. Contact the law offices of Villani and DeLuca to arrange for your free initial consultation to discuss what, if any, process is proper for you.