If you are considering separating from your spouse, the Monmouth County separation attorneys of Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. can help you understand your options and protect your rights. We understand that you did not arrive at this decision lightly and that this time in your life is extremely challenging. That’s why we work hard to make sure that our clients have the advice and guidance that they need to weather this rough patch in their lives and either reconcile happily or move on with their lives.
Although New Jersey does not legally recognize spousal separation, there are still ways to pursue separation from your spouse if necessary. However, it is crucial that you seek legal advice in order to protect yourself in this process. A separation can affect issues like the custody of your children and the property you share with your spouse. With the guidance of a legal expert, you can be sure that your separation will not lead to any serious and unexpected consequences.
If you or someone you know is in the Middlesex, Monmouth, or Ocean County area and is ready to separate from their spouse, contact the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. for an attorney with the experience, education, and expertise to ensure your rights and desires are protected as you prepare for this difficult process. Our legal team has decades of experience helping people just like you in New Jersey. We are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal guidance and powerful advocacy. Contact us at (732) 898-2378, or use our live chat function, to explain your situation to a member of our legal team. You can begin the separation process today if you call now.
Why Choose Us
Separation can be an emotional and very difficult step to take, and it is important to find an attorney that you can trust. Since separation affects so many parts of life, and since it is often a prelude to a divorce, getting a settlement agreement right is crucial for all parties. To do so, you need an attorney that understands family laws in New Jersey as well as your pain and concerns intimately. This is particularly true when they are children involved, or when property is shared by the spouses. However, no matter your personal circumstances, having an experienced and compassionate hand taking care of the legal side of your separation allows you to concentrate on your personal needs.
Mr. Bestafka can offer that experienced and compassionate hand. Having graduated from Columbia University Magna Cum Laude and the University of Cincinnati Law School, he has the legal education to set your affairs in their proper order. With years of experience in the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office and then further experience in New Jersey family law, he has the experience you need on your side if you are considering separation from your spouse. Contact Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. at (732) 898-2378 to set up a confidential consultation to discuss your situation today.
What Is Separation and How Does It Work in New Jersey?
A legal separation is a formal and legal agreement by a married couple to live separately. In states that recognize marital separations, this is done through the court. Separation is often, but not always, a step taken before a divorce. Sometimes, however, separation is taken a final step in and of itself, especially for those who have religious or moral objections to divorce. Other couples choose to reconcile after a period of separation. Should the couple decide to proceed with a divorce, divorce papers must be filed separately. A separation will not lead to a divorce on its own.
It is also important to note that legal separation goes beyond simply living apart. It requires arrangements be made regarding property, financial support for children and/or one of the spouses, and child custody. As mentioned above, unlike many states, New Jersey does not have a legally recognized form of separation. There are, however, still legal ways to become separated in New Jersey.
The most common way is through signing a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is a document signed by both spouses that lay out all the important factors involved in a separation, including:
- Terms settled by both parties for living apart
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
Ideally, this document will also resolve all financial issues between the couple, including property and debts. Once signed, the settlement agreement is valid. If the couple decides to pursue a divorce, the settlement agreement can be used in the court to speed up the divorce process.
Another, slightly more serious option is a Divorce from Bed and Board. This is a process that does involve the court and must be filed with grounds for divorce. The court would then decide all of the same issues as you would personally decide on a settlement. A Divorce from Bed and Board, however, is not a full divorce. Instead, it legally allows spouses to live separately while both are meant to maintain other aspects of the marriage, including remaining faithful and providing assistance when needed. This is a common choice for those who have a religious objection to a full divorce. Another common reason is couples who simply want space apart in order to effect a reconciliation better.
A third and final option in New Jersey is to file a complaint and ask the court to determine issues such as child custody and spousal support. This will not automatically end your marriage.
The most popular option between these three choices is the settlement agreement simply because it is easier, more straightforward, and usually cheaper.
How We Can Help
If you choose to pursue a settlement agreement, a Divorce from Bed and Board, or filing a complaint to make the courts decide your separation for you, your interests are best served when you contact a lawyer to help guide you through the process. A separation, while it may or may not be permanent, can drastically affect your finances, your personal choices, and your children’s well-being.
We can help you navigate through the complexities of any form of marital separation. We will help you find fair solutions to, among other things:
Our legal team can make sure you are protected when dealing with all these issues. We will help protect you from living uncomfortably or making serious sacrifices to become separated. We can also ensure that should your separation proceed to a divorce, all major issues of contention have already been resolved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having the legal knowledge to work your way through the divorce process is invaluable, though many of our clients don’t simply have this on their own; that’s why they come to us. Since the options for legal separation are complicated in New Jersey, we often get many similar questions about the subject. Below are some of these common questions. If you don’t see your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (732) 898-2378.
If I obtain property after I file a Divorce from Bed and Board, is that shared property in a divorce?
All property purchased after you file a Divorce from Bed and Board is yours and is not considered shared. Should a divorce occur, it would not be considered with the shared assets.
How long do I have to be separated to get a divorce in New Jersey?
A separation is no longer required to file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey. If you have been married for more than six months, you can file immediately for a no-fault divorce by citing “irreconcilable differences.” While a separation is useful for many couples, it is not necessary if the goal is simply divorce.
Can my spouse remain on my health insurance during separation?
A spouse is allowed to stay on your health insurance during the course of your separation, although the state discourages couples remaining married if solely for this reason.
What are some important details to place in my separation agreement?
It is useful to be as detailed as possible about financial agreements between both parties. Include who will pay the mortgage on the house, who will make the car payment, who will pay for the health insurance. If you have children, the more detailed and exact you can be about your shared custody, the better, and setting an exact and agreeable amount for child support or spousal support is crucial.
If you or someone you know is contemplating a separation in New Jersey, be sure you are agreeing to the best possible arrangement for you and your children. Having a lawyer’s assistance can make all the difference between a fair and freeing separation and a regrettable one.
Do not delay. Find out more about your rights and your legal options. Contact the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. today at (732) 898-2378 or use our live chat function to make an appointment and speak with experienced attorneys who know everything about New Jersey family law and can make sure you are protected every step of the way.