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What is “divorce from bed and board”?

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Divorce from Bed and Board: An Option in New Jersey Divorce

If you’re in New Jersey and contemplating separation but are not yet ready for a full-blown divorce, you may find “divorce from bed and board” to be a valuable legal remedy. At Petrelli Previtera, we work closely with a diverse range of clients, providing a wide array of solutions and options. One such tool available in NJ is the option for a divorce “from bed to board”. We are here to shed light on this often-overlooked alternative and guide you through the intricacies of this process.

What is “Divorce from Bed and Board”?

“Divorce from bed and board” is a legal remedy available in New Jersey that offers separated couples a means to address crucial issues such as child support, alimony, property division, and more without needing a formal divorce decree. While New Jersey does not have a specific “legal separation” provision, this option allows couples to take steps to ensure the well-being of their children and protect their financial interests during the separation.

Who Can Benefit from “Divorce from Bed and Board”?

Couples who wish to separate but are not prepared for a full divorce can find value in “divorce from bed and board.” This option is particularly beneficial for those who have religious objections to divorce or are concerned about the economic repercussions of ending their marriage. It’s essential to consult with legal professionals who can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation.

Understanding the Bed and Board Process in New Jersey

To initiate a divorce from bed and board in New Jersey, one spouse must file a complaint in family court. This process can involve both fault and no-fault grounds, similar to an absolute divorce. However, there are distinct differences between these two procedures.

Differences between “Divorce from Bed and Board” and Absolute Divorce

One significant difference is that both spouses must agree to seek a judgment of divorce from bed and board, whereas an absolute divorce can be granted even if one spouse objects. Additionally, after a divorce from bed and board, the couple remains legally married unless they apply in court to convert it into a final divorce. This means neither party can remarry until the divorce is finalized.

Differences between “Divorce from Bed and Board” and New Jersey Legal Separation

In New Jersey, there is no formal court process for legal separation among married couples. Legal separation often involves living apart and creating a formal separation agreement to address property, finances, and parenting arrangements during the separation period. “Divorce from bed and board,” on the other hand, is a specific court process. For civil union couples, legal separation serves as the equivalent of “divorce from bed and board.”

Pros and Cons of “Divorce from Bed and Board”

While a legal separation agreement can give couples more control over the separation process without involving the court, it is essential to note that such agreements are enforceable as contracts between spouses, not court orders. Therefore, they may not carry the same legal weight.

Financial Consequences of “Divorce from Bed and Board”

This type of divorce can have specific financial implications, making it a viable option for some couples. For instance, it often allows a dependent spouse to maintain health insurance through the working spouse’s employment, providing a crucial lifeline for those facing challenges in securing affordable individual coverage.

Other benefit rights, such as survivor benefits and federal benefits like Social Security retirement benefits, can remain intact in divorce from bed and board. However, updating estate planning documents is crucial to account for the change in marital status.

Additionally, this process can have property and tax effects. Couples undergoing divorce from bed and board may find beneficial tax implications and should consult a tax professional for guidance on filing tax forms during and after the judgment.

If you are considering divorce from bed and board or legal separation, our New Jersey divorce attorneys can help you navigate your options and make informed decisions for your future. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. Schedule a consultation with Petrelli Previtera today to protect your rights and ensure your family’s well-being.

Contact us now to discuss your situation and take the first step towards a more stable future.

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