Complete Guide To Understanding Legal Separation in NJ
In 2019, more than 746,000 married couples were divorced.
Divorces can be a painstakingly long and expensive process. For couples who aren’t ready to take that step, a legal separation is always an option.
But can you get a legal separation in NJ?
New Jersey laws are different from most other states when it comes to legal separation. If you’re not ready for a divorce but separation is something you’re considering, you need to know how separation law works in this state. Below we provide information to help you understand legal separation in New Jersey.
Does New Jersey Recognize Legal Separation?
Divorces can take years to finalize. The process is not only long, but it can be expensive and stressful if the couple can’t agree. For some people, legal separation might be a solution to marital problems.
A legal separation is an alternative to divorce. It allows couples to live separately without legally ending their marriage through the divorce process.
In the majority of states, a legal separation is done through the court. Couples petition the court to recognize that they’re separated in a formal process.
New Jersey doesn’t have this process. It’s one of six states that doesn’t have a legal separation process. In New Jersey, couples are either married or divorced in the eyes of the law.
What Does Legally Separated Mean in New Jersey?
Of course, couples can separate in New Jersey. Couples who choose to live separately and lead separate lives are free to do so, but there is no legal process to formally recognize that separation.
If you’re not ready to go through the divorce process, there are options for separating that protect you. In New Jersey, this would involve creating a separation agreement with your spouse.
Understanding New Jersey Legal Separation Agreements
A separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse. You’ll remain legally married and you don’t have to go through the court or do any filings. These agreements are less financially taxing than a divorce and often easier to conduct if both parties can cooperate.
A separation agreement contract can cover such things as:
- Equitable distribution of your assets
- Distribution of payments for household costs
- Alimony payments
- Child support
- Child custody
Of course, you can enter into this contract freely as an adult. But you should consider hiring a lawyer to help you through the process. This will ensure that the contract is legal, fair and equitable.
Do You Need a Legal Separation in NJ?
Although legal separation in NJ isn’t defined in law, it’s still possible to separate from your spouse without going through the divorce process. Instead of appearing before the court, you and your spouse can draft a legal separation agreement that covers everything from alimony to child support.
But it’s dangerous to enter into legal contracts without the support and expertise of a lawyer. If you’re thinking about separating in NJ, contact Dalena & Bosch to ensure you’re protected.