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Bringing a marriage to an end is a big step that some couples are not ready to take, despite their differences. While New Jersey does not offer legal separation, it is possible to enter into an enforceable separation agreement with your spouse.
With the help of a skilled family law attorney at the Williams Law Group, LLC, you could resolve issues related to property division or spousal support without securing a formal divorce. Let a Maplewood separation agreement lawyer advise you on your options outside of the divorce process.
Unlike in most states, New Jersey does not have legal separation. While other jurisdictions offer proceedings similar to a divorce that allow couples to remain married but divide property, there is no such process New Jersey.
Instead, a spouse is free to leave the marital home at any time. While there is no formal process for separation, the court will recognize certain agreements between spouses that deal with many legal issues common during divorce. An experienced local attorney at our firm could assist with negotiating and drafting these documents, known as separation agreements.
Some couples choose to go through a process known as a “trial separation.” Just like with legal separation, this concept does not exist under state law. Instead, a trial separation is an informal agreement between spouses to live under separate roofs. Any specific details of the trial separation are left up to the spouses. This includes everything from matters of financial support to the living arrangements of minor children. Because this is an informal process, there is no immediate recourse if a spouse violates the agreed-upon terms of a trial separation.
Unlike a trial separation, a separation agreement is a binding legal contract. When put into writing and executed by both spouses, the terms of these agreements are binding under the law. A separation agreement is used to resolve issues that are common among divorce cases despite the spouses remaining legally married.
For some couples, a separation agreement is the best option available when marriage is not a possibility due to religious reasons. Separation agreements could also be useful when a couple is unsure if they will get divorced or not. Some couples choose to use separation agreements as a precursor for a divorce. These documents allow the couple to set the terms for the separation pending the divorce and then incorporate the agreement into the final marriage dissolution. This approach could save time and money during a divorce.
Separation agreements can cover a variety of issues. One of the most common issues to address in this document is spousal support. The division of property and the disposition of the family home are also commonly addressed through separation agreements.
The specific terms contained within a separation agreement are important, and the wording could have a drastic impact on the lives of both spouses. For that reason, it is crucial to seek the guidance of a Maplewood attorney when drafting a separation agreement.
Even though state law does not recognize the concept of legal separation, a separation agreement provides options for married couples whose relationship is dissolving. If you are considering a separation agreement, put your trust in the experienced legal counsel at the Williams Law Group, LLC. Contact a Maplewood separation agreement lawyer to learn more about your options during this difficult time.