Divorce from Bed and Board: New Jersey’s Version of Legal Separation
The decision to file for divorce is never easy. There are many factors an individual has to consider when filing for divorce. The main consideration the parties must make is to determine whether they wish to have a standard divorce which provides them with a Final Judgment of Divorce or a Divorce from Bed and Board because of their particular circumstances.
Unlike many states that have what is called “legal separation,” New Jersey does not. New Jersey’s version of legal separation is often referred to as a “Divorce from Bed and Board” or a “Limited Divorce.”
While a Divorce from Bed and Board and a Final Judgment of Divorce share similarities, they also differ. For example, both parties must consent to a Divorce from Bed and Board, whereas only one party needs to file a Complaint in Divorce that will provide the parties with a Final Judgment of Divorce at the end of the litigation process.
The typical divorce litigation has advantages and disadvantages, but a Divorce from Bed and Board can offer parties several advantages a standard divorce cannot. For example, a Divorce from Bed and Board does not terminate or break the matrimonial bond between couples, whereas a Final Judgment of Divorce does. A Divorce from Bed and Board can be converted at any time and converted into a Final Judgment of Divorce, but for certain persons wishing to remain married for personal reasons, a Divorce from Bed and Board could be a suitable alternative. Thus, if a couple divorced from Bed and Board decides they wish to give their marriage another try, the couple can make an application to have the divorce terminated. On the other hand, if they want to go forward with a Final Judgment of Divorce, they can make an application to have the divorce converted from limited to final.
Much like a Final Judgment of Divorce, when a couple gets divorced through Bed and Board the couple can decide how they want to distribute the marital property and debts. If however, the couple cannot agree on how to distribute the property and debts, the Court will distribute the property and debts according to Equitable Distribution rules but the marriage continues.
In today’s economy, the costs associated with health care are rising and becoming unaffordable. A significant advantage to getting divorced from Bed and Board is that a couple is still married. Divorce from Bed and Board in most cases allows the dependent spouse to continue to receive health insurance through the employed spouse so long as the employed spouse’s health care provider permits it. In comparison, when the Final Judgment of Divorce is entered by the Court, the dependent spouse is immediately cutoff from the employed spouse’s health insurance plan. In this case, the non-insured spouse can either obtain C.O.B.R.A.. or their own health insurance policy. Either way, this could cost thousands of dollars every month
The Divorce process can be confusing, troublesome, overwhelming and emotionally draining for most people. The Attorneys at The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC, are available to help guide and provide appropriate solutions and aggressive representation to every client on an individual basis.