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Are You Considering Legal Separation in New Jersey? Here's What You Need to Know!

Before getting divorced in New Jersey, it is common to go through a separation first. New Jersey, however, does not have a formal legal separation process like some other states. As a result, couples in New Jersey may opt to live apart and physically separate, but there are no specific legal requirements or procedures related to a legal separation. Therefore, couples in New Jersey can file for divorce immediately without waiting for a formal separation period.

If couples are considering separation but are not yet ready for divorce, this can have significant consequences. There may be a period of uncertainty. Aside from legal implications, they may also need to think about the impact on their children. To make informed decisions and explore alternatives to divorce, they should seek guidance and support from professionals such as lawyers or therapists.

Separation vs. Divorce: Reasons to choose one over the other

Couples may choose separation over divorce for a number of reasons. Religious beliefs may prevent some couples from divorcing. In Catholicism, marriage is considered a sacrament, and divorce is not recognized, so separation is a more viable option for those who wish to live apart but stay within their faith.

There is also a significant financial consideration. Divvying up assets, paying legal fees, and moving can lead to financial strain during a divorce. Separation, on the other hand, allows a couple to live separately while still retaining the financial benefits of a marriage, like shared health insurance coverage. Separation may be beneficial if one spouse relies on the other's health insurance coverage, which is lost in divorce.

Finally, some couples choose separation as a step toward possible reconciliation. Legally separating allows space and time to reflect, seek counseling, and work on the relationship without the finality of divorce. Suppose a couple experiences work-related stress that strains their relationship. Instead of divorcing, they could legally separate, giving themselves time to work on their individual issues before rebuilding their relationship. During this period of separation, they may gain new perspectives and improve their relationship.

Separation in New Jersey: What to avoid

It's important to act with caution during a New Jersey separation as certain decisions can complicate the process. You should avoid the following:

  1. Avoiding Legal Counsel: Although it's a separation and not a divorce, it's still advisable to consult with a lawyer to understand your rights.

  2. Neglecting Financial Obligations: Maintain your financial responsibilities, such as shared bills, mortgages, and child support.

  3. Making Unanimous Decisions About Your Children: It is important to make major decisions regarding your children together. Relocating out of state and other unilateral decisions can result in legal complications and resentment.

  4. Disrespecting Your Spouse: Avoid badmouthing your spouse, especially to your children, as this can escalate disagreements.

  5. Long-term separation without a formal agreement: If you and your partner decide to take a break from each other, it's important to have a written agreement about what will happen with money and taking care of your children. This will help avoid problems later on.

  6. Making Hasty Decisions: Making quick or angry decisions can result in future regrets. It's important to think things through before making big choices while you're separating.

My Function as a Family Law Attorney

As a family lawyer with a strong understanding of the law, I provide reliable advice and personal representation. My goal is to assist my clients during separation, protecting their rights and ensuring that their interests are prioritized. By outlining different outcomes and the paths to achieving them, I help couples avoid potential pitfalls. In addition to handling all legal matters, I offer clients the time and space they need to heal and adjust to new circumstances.

Protecting the rights and interests of both parties during a separation requires legal guidance. During a divorce, I protect the interests of my clients by ensuring a fair division of assets and liabilities. If you are reading this and have questions about separation or divorce, don't go it alone. Call me and schedule a free 20-minute call with me to discuss your divorce case.

The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only.  You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case.  Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff.


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