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New Jersey is one of only six states without a formal separation process; in the eyes of the State of New Jersey, a couple is either married or divorced. But executing a private NJ legal separation agreement can benefit many struggling couples, allowing them to amicably split without the need to petition a court.

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We are economically and successfully processing mediated divorces and separations despite ongoing court closures. Having helped thousands of New Jersey couples reach an amicable legal separation agreement through mediation, we have heard many different questions about how this process works.

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This guide is deed to help couples who are considering mediation as an alternative to the traditional legal separation process make an informed decision before proceeding. Legal separation is an alternative to divorce which allows a couple to separate while still remaining legally married.

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This is a preferable option for couples who do not see divorce as an option for moral, religious, or financial reasons, or couples that believe they can still reconcile. Legal separation is easily reversible, so it is not as permanent as a divorcebut it still gives the couple a chance to decide on major issues such as division of assets and child custody while deciding if divorce is right for them.

Comprehensive guide to legal separation in new jersey

Couples seeking a legal separation in New Jersey can participate in separation mediation to agree to the terms of separation just as they would for a divorce. This creates some confusion for New Jersey couples as to whether or not separation is a valid option. Even though that exact terminology is not used in this state, married couples who are civil and agreeable are still able to enter into a legally binding separation agreement. Also called a limited divorce, divorce from bed and board is the formal name for the court process of legal separation in New Jersey.

Dating before, during and after divorce - potential impact on divorce or custody

It is a bit of a misnomer as the couple is still legally married after this separation process. Separation is a challenging and emotionally difficult situation for everyone involved, especially children.

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Their whole family dynamic is changing and it could be difficult for them to cope with the divorce. There are a few ways you can make the separation easier on them, like keeping the grievances off of social media, not confiding in your children about the divorce, and avoiding destructive litigation with legal separation mediation. The only way to make the separation easier on them is to keep it respectful. Legal separations are not officially outlined by any law in New Jersey, and since separating from your spouse does not require a court to be involved, an NJ separation agreement can be reached as soon as both parties agree on terms.

What is the legal separation process in new jersey?

Most separation agreements can be settled within only a few months, but will ultimately depend on both sides being on the same in every aspect of the separation. Every part of the separation agreement must be agreed upon before it can be considered valid including custody of children, payment of obligations such as child support and alimony, and division of marital assets.

If negotiations between spouses break down during the legal separation process, filing a complaint for divorce will likely be your only option. Once a divorce action is made, the court will become involved and will ultimately reach decisions that cannot be decided on by both parties. A separation agreement is a written contract between spouses. Once a separation agreement is finalized, the terms outlined in the document are legally binding and will result in a legal separation.

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Some of the issues that can be resolved within a separation agreement include custody and parenting time for children, child support, alimony, and division of property, among other things. Separation agreements are enticing for couples because it allows them to resolve many of the issues that would be dealt with during a divorce proceeding without needing to involve the courts. During the separation, you and your spouse can agree on whether or not you want to date other people and include it in the separation agreement.

However, you should be aware that introducing another person into your life can cause problems when trying to resolve marital issues. For example, if you have received a separation agreement, you are still married to your current spouse and cannot remarry until you have gone through divorce proceedings.

Dating while separated

If you plan to remarry in the future, your only option is to file for divorce. If you think a separation agreement will lead to a divorce down the line, it is best to avoid getting into a new relationship until the divorce is final or you are sure that your current spouse is on the same on every aspect of the divorce. The key difference between divorce and legal separation is that in a divorce the marriage has ended, while in a separation you are still legally considered married.

This has several benefits that divorce cannot offer such as:. New Jersey does not have a process of legal separation like New York does.

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Couples do not need a court order to begin living separately, and while they are free to draft and a separation agreement, it is not a necessary step. Not cohabitating with your spouse for longer than 18 months can provide a cause of action — that is, the legal reason for filing a divorce.

However, you need not wait this amount of time in New Jersey. A divorce for irreconcilable differences only requires that your marital relationship has been broken for at least six months, and there is no reasonable possibility of reconciling with your spouse. Nearly every state in the US allows and recognizes legal separation. There are only six states where legal separation is not an option:. Legal separation is a type of separation where a couple asks the court to approve their terms for living separate and apart.

Spouses can specify these terms, such as how to manage finances and debts, child support and custody, and spousal maintenance, in a Separation Agreement for the court to approve.

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Typically, couples turn to legal separation when they do not want to immediately end their marriage with divorce but rather live apart and ensure their rights regarding money, property, children, and debts are protected. Legal separation gives spouses time to decide if they should reconcile, or proceed with a divorce.

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Trial separation is more of an informal agreement between two spouses to separate and decide whether to continue their relationship. Property acquired during a trial separation is still marital property, but couples can use a written Separation Agreement to document decisions about assets, children, and finances.

New jersey resources

It is always advisable to consult with your ant or financial advisor to ensure that you are filing appropriately during your period of separation. You and your spouse should discuss how you will be filing your taxes each year to ensure consistency. During separation, children and parents benefit from the stability and structure of a customized parenting plan.

Separation parenting plans are temporary, lasting until parents choose to either reconcile or divorce. Making an effective parenting plan is a big part of legal separation mediation. What is Divorce from Bed and Board? What Is a Separation Agreement? Which States Allow Legal Separation? What is Legal Separation?

[guide] legal separation in new jersey

This has several benefits that divorce cannot offer such as: Avoiding the Stress of Divorce — Divorce can be a very taxing process that can drag out for a long time. Legal separation can be a much more moderate affair with less stress and time commitment. Religious Reasons — One or both of the parties involved may object to divorce on religious or moral grounds. Tax Benefits — Both you and your spouse can still take advantage of marital tax benefits.

12 common misconceptions regarding new jersey divorce law

Healthcare and Insurance Benefits — One spouse can remain eligible for the healthcare and insurance benefits of the other. However, sometimes there are clauses that disallow legally separated couples from gaining these benefits, so make sure to check your policy. Leaving the Door Open to Reconciliation — If you feel your situation may improve with some time apart and that future reconciliation is an option you want to keep on the table, legal separation allows that. Less Costly — Divorce can get expensive.

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A legal separation is generally a much cheaper option. There are only six states where legal separation is not an option: Delaware Florida Georgia Mississippi Pennsylvania Texas. Couples may choose to live under the same roof while separated because they have children or they cannot afford the cost of living separately.

Living apart in two residences can provide much-needed space to reflect on the relationship and also diffuse a toxic situation. The potential downsides are the impact on children seeing their parents in two separate living spaces, as well as the costs of running two households.

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