How does legal separation work in New Jersey?

Many New Jersey couples can face difficulties in their marriages which make them contemplate the possibility of divorce. However, the permanent nature of divorce can feel overwhelming leaving people unsure of what to do. If you are in such a situation, you may find that a legal separation may be beneficial. It offers you an opportunity to be apart from your spouse but keeps the door open for a possible reconciliation.

The New Jersey Courts website notes that the state of New Jersey does not officially grant separations. By simply living separately from each other, you and your spouse will create a de facto separation in the eyes of the law. If you ultimately proceed with a divorce, you will need to have been living separately for a period of 18 months in order to file a request for a no-fault divorce. Divorce complaints not preceded by this separation time can only be filed in cases of adultery, extreme abuse or desertion. The amount of time required to wait for each of these varies with only adultery having no designated wait period.

In a separation as in a divorce, the rights of each spouse should be considered and you can use this time to review important financial issues that can impact a property division agreement and other stipulations such as the division of debt, spousal maintenance, child support and more. Considerations for how two households will financially be maintained should also be considered.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about separations for legally married couples in New Jersey.