Divorce From Bed and Board (“Limited Divorce”)
Generally, when a married couple in New Jersey want a court to divide their assets and determine custody and visitation issues, they seek a divorce. In some cases, however, a married couple may want the legal protections of a divorce while remaining legally married, whether for religious, economic, or other reasons such as hope for reconciliation in the marriage. In New Jersey, this procedure is called a “divorce from bed and board” or “limited divorce.” Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro can help you determine whether a divorce from bed and board is right for your family and economic needs, and work to make sure your best interests are protected in obtaining a divorce from bed and board.
Divorce from Bed and Board in New Jersey
In a number of states, a party who does not want to divorce but wants the economic protections of a divorce may be granted what is called a legal separation. New Jersey, however, does not offer a legal separation. When a married couple decides to live apart, they may be considered “separated,” but this is different from a court-ordered legal separation which includes divisions of property and orders for custody and support. Instead of allowing for a legal separation, the New Jersey family law rules instead allow a divorce from bed and board or limited divorce, which provides the benefits of a divorce while allowing the parties to remain married.
Under New Jersey law, a divorce from bed and board may be sought for any of the reasons that a typical divorce may be sought. One key difference from a typical divorce is that, for a divorce from bed and board, both parties must voluntarily agree to the divorce from bed and board. Because the parties technically remain married following the judgment, neither party is free to remarry, and the court will not impose such a restraint without the couple’s voluntary agreement. A traditional divorce can be sought even if one of the parties does not consent to the divorce.
A divorce from bed and board still requires that a New Jersey court approve the divorce on the grounds that there is sufficient proof of the reasons for the order and that the division of assets and other matters is fair to both parties under the New Jersey divorce laws. If the parties themselves cannot negotiate a division of assets and alimony issues on their own, the court will make such determinations of property and support.
After a Divorce from Bed and Board is Granted
After a court grants a divorce from bed and board, the parties will generally be economically independent from one another, although one party may be required to pay alimony to the other party. They will remain technically married. This may allow the parties to continue to have access to certain benefits such as their spouse’s health insurance, but not all benefits of being married will continue to accrue to the spouses, for example tax benefits, and so it is important to consult with an attorney about the full ramifications of a divorce from bed and board. Should the parties wish to reconcile and return to the full status of marriage, they may ask the court to reinstate the marriage as it was. The parties may also have the divorce from bed and board converted into a complete divorce, which will be required should either party wish to remarry.
Experienced Union Family Law Attorney for Your New Jersey Divorce From Bed and Board Needs
At the law offices of John B. D’Alessandro, we represent men and women at all stages of a complete divorce or divorce from bed and board. For help with a New Jersey divorce from bed and board in communities throughout Middlesex, Essex, and Union counties, contact the law offices of John B. D’Alessandro for assistance. We look forward to working with you and helping you reach your goals.