Legal Separation vs. Divorce in New Jersey

Legal Separation vs. Divorce in New JerseyMarried couples who are interested in parting ways need to understand all of their legal options. Divorce is not the only option–married couples can choose to legally separate as well. Here’s a look at the differences between legal separation and divorce in New Jersey:

The Basics of Legal Separation and Divorce

A couple that legally separates no longer lives together, but they are still legally married. It is common for couples to seek a legal separation if they need time to think about their relationship and whether or not they should file for divorce. If the couple decides to divorce, they can move forward with these legal proceedings to formally end their marriage. However, if the couple reconciles, there’s no need to get remarried since the marriage is still recognized in the eyes of the law.

Legal Separation Agreements

A legal separation agreement is a legally binding contract between two spouses who have decided to separate. This agreement outlines how the couple plans on resolving issues such as child support, spousal support, child custody, and the division of marital assets.

In many ways, the legal separation agreement is similar to a divorce settlement. In fact, if the couple decides to file for divorce after trying separation, they will typically ask the court to incorporate the terms of the legal separation agreement into the divorce settlement. This simplifies the divorce process since the couple has already resolved most of the important issues.

When Do Couples Choose Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

There are a number of reasons why a couple could choose to legally separate instead of filing for divorce. Many married couples are not ready to call it quits even though they both recognize that there are serious problems in their marriage. For these couples, a legal separation is the best option.

Other couples choose to legally separate because of their religious beliefs. If a couple’s religion does not approve of divorce, they may choose to legally separate to avoid being ostracized by their religious community.

Sometimes, couples choose to legally separate for financial reasons. Since a legal separation does not end the marriage, the couple can still enjoy the benefits of filing a joint tax return.

These are just some of the reasons why couples end up choosing legal separation instead of divorce. This decision can affect the rest of your life, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of both options before deciding what is best for your family.

Are you thinking about ending your marriage? If so, reach out to Williams Law Group, LLC at once. Our knowledgeable attorneys have helped countless clients understand their legal options so they can make the best decisions for their future. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.

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