Technically speaking, New Jersey does not offer legal separations. If you are interested in separating from your spouse, you will have to secure a divorce from bed and board. According to the state's laws, both spouses must seek the bed and board divorce in order for it to be granted.
The state has approved a number of reasons that may constitute the bed and board process. Similar to the causes that often lead to a full divorce, those reasons include cruelty, adultery and drug use. The impetus behind opting for a bed and board divorce over a traditional divorce could often be one of the following:
· It can serve as a trial period for couples that are unsure of the direction their marriage could take.
· A spouse could still receive pension or government benefits.
· The issue of health insurance often comes into play.
Unlike a traditional divorce, a bed and board process will not actually break the marriage. Instead, the couple simply is no longer required to live together. Additionally, the responsibilities of a marriage remain intact, such as providing financial assistance in the form of financial support or insurance benefits.
There are several important aspects of a bed and board divorce you should be aware of if you are considering this option. For example, should your spouse pass away without leaving you any property in a will, there is no legal obligation that commits any assets to you. New Jersey's state laws regarding property division also dictate that any items that are acquired after a bed and board divorce are not considered marital property should a full divorce eventually take place.
While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.