While many people may be familiar with the divorce process and what it entails, the idea of separation; what it means legally, and how it can impact a divorce, is a much less commonly understood topic. Often, divorce lawyers are asked “Do I have to separate from my spouse for a period of time before I can file for a divorce?” This question most likely stems from the fact that this used to be true in New Jersey. Nowadays, a “no-fault” divorce can be filed for any time you feel your marriage has irreconcilable differences which cannot be resolved, and requires no proof of separation, or a separation period.
That being said, separation does still give certain legal options to couples which you may find useful.
Separation Agreement Attorneys Bergen County NJ
In some states, couples who are not yet ready to begin the divorce process but wish to declare their intention to divorce may file for legal separation. While legal separation does not exist in New Jersey, couples do have the option of drafting what is known as a separation agreement. These agreements can include things such as requirements to begin the divorce process by a certain date to more financially oriented details such as preliminary understandings on issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets.
A formal separation agreement may also be used to show the date of your separation, and then later divorce on grounds of separation. In order to divorce on grounds of separation, a couple must have lived apart for a minimum of 18 consecutive months, and a separation agreement helps to prove your period of separation to the court.
Limited Divorce Attorneys Hackensack, NJ
Another option not commonly known to divorcing couples is that of a limited divorce. Also known as a “divorce from bed and board”, a limited divorce agreement will cover many of the same issues a divorce settlement would cover such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of marital property, but at the same time leaves the couple still technically married. This option is usually used when a dependent spouse needs to continue to be covered by an insurance plan provided by the other spouse’s employment, and is also used when a couple is religiously opposed to divorce but still feels the need to live apart. A limited divorce can also be suspended or revoked should the couple later reconcile. However in a limited divorce, the couple remains married in the eyes of the law, and as such cannot remarry until such time that a full divorce can be settled.
Contact a Separation and Limited Divorce Law Firm Today
At the Hackensack, NJ Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients with all of their divorce and separation issues. Practicing exclusively family law, our legal team is uniquely suited to negotiating for and securing the separation agreement of limited divorce agreement that best addresses your specific concerns and needs.