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When divorce isn’t the right option: Alternatives in New Jersey

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Divorce

For some couples with irreparable marital problems, divorce is not the ideal solution. They may need to preserve some aspects of their marital status while establishing new boundaries.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to the traditional divorce route that can offer a smoother transition and a chance to retain certain marital benefits for those who need to take a different approach.

Legal separation agreement

One option is to create a legal separation agreement. Although some states offer formal legal separation processes, New Jersey does not. However, courts in the state typically honor well-crafted separation agreements. Essentially, this kind of agreement would serve as a binding contract between spouses outlining the terms of your separation (child custody, spousal support, marital property, etc.) as occurs in a divorce. But it preserves the legal bond of marriage.

Divorce from bed and board

Another option available in New Jersey and a few other states is a divorce from bed and board. It signifies a court-ordered separation that allows a couple to live apart while remaining married. It functions similarly to a legal separation agreement, outlining the specific terms of the separated couple’s arrangements.

Why consider preserving a broken marriage?

There are many reasons a couple may want or need to stay legally bound. For many, financial considerations like maintaining health insurance coverage or qualifying for spousal Social Security benefits can be a deciding factor. Other times, religious beliefs or immigration status might influence the decision.

If you are considering divorce or an alternative, do not feel afraid or embarrassed to seek more legal knowledge from a reputable source. When you are well informed about the consequences of your decisions, you can better ensure that they reflect your best interests.