How is divorce different from legal separation?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | family law |

New Jersey couples might turn to divorce or legal separation when their marriage no longer works or serves a purpose for them. It’s perfectly normal to have questions about these two different processes.

Many people consider legal separation to be a precursor to divorce when in actuality, legal separation can be a solution in and of itself. There are many things to investigate before New Jersey couples can decide which process is the right solution for them.

What’s the difference between the two processes?

Legal separation doesn’t end a marriage, but it does separate the couple in question from a legal and financial perspective. A couple who is legally separated can live apart, have separate finances, and negotiate how joint responsibilities and finances will be handled after the separation.

Often times a legal separation will be used to decide certain things if a divorce should follow. For example, spousal support and custody agreements will be used as a reference in the divorce proceedings.

What are some of the ways that a legal separation is preferable to divorce?

A lot of couples are required to legally separate before the divorce is finalized. Divorce doesn’t always have to follow a legal separation though.

Couples might file for a legal separation as a temporary solution while working on themselves, in the hopes of coming together again in the future. Spouses can also keep sharing medical benefits or other financial benefits while legally separated.

If a divorce does happen after legal separation, all benefits would end. The separation agreement would be converted to a divorce agreement in most cases, making the process easier.

It’s important to research how a legal separation or divorce would impact you before moving forward with the process. Couples can take time and talk about all of their options before filing for either option.