New Jersey Divorce Attorneys are often asked to prepare a Separation Agreement by a client who has not yet decided whether to divorce but wants to resolve all of the issues that would need to be addressed in their divorce case, such as alimony, child support, custody and parenting time, and division of assets/debts.
As long as each spouse has his or her own lawyer, New Jersey Separation Agreements will usually be enforced whenever the parties do decide to divorce—unless the Separation Agreement provided for alimony and/or child support and in the interim there has been a substantial “change of circumstances.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyers are frequently asked how to file for a “legal separation” in New Jersey. There is no formal proceeding in New Jersey called a “legal separation.”
The closest thing to it is an action for what is called a “divorce from bed and board,” which can be filed if either or both spouses don’t want to be divorced but do want to have a court resolve all of the issues that would normally be resolved in a divorce case, such as child custody and parenting time, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Upon the entry of a Judgment for a divorce from bed and board, the parties will remain legally married but they will be economically divorced, just as though a Judgment of absolute divorce had been entered. This vehicle is often used by a party whose religious beliefs frown on divorce, or who must maintain the right to remain covered by his/her spouse’s health insurance.
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achi...Read More
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achieved. They were always better prepared and more knowledgeable than the other side's attorney. They also showed me how I could save time and legal fees by doing a lot of the documentation work myself. All of my calls and e-mails to Salvaggio Law Group were promptly addressed, and their interactions with me were always very professional and courteous.Read Less
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achi...
Frequently Asked Questions on Separation Agreements
From a legal standpoint, there is no real difference.
A Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) is simply the name of the document which is used when the parties choose not to separate at the time when they enter into the Agreement.
An MSA is subject to the same rules for enforceability as Separation Agreements. As long as each spouse has his/her own lawyer, an MSA will usually be enforced when the parties divorce unless the MSA provided for alimony and/or child support and in the interim there has been a substantial “change of circumstances.”
There is actually no legal requirement that either party to an MSA have a lawyer-as long as you can show that each party entered into the MSA freely and voluntarily, and that each party had the chance to get legal advice but chose not to do so.
However, that’s a risky proposition, because if an unrepresented party later challenges Separation Agreements, New Jersey courts will look very closely at the circumstances under which the Agreement was entered into, and are more likely to overturn the Agreement.
One thing is for certain: When possible, it is much better to enter into a written Agreement on all of the issues related to a divorce, than to go to trial and force a Judge to decide. The ideal situation is when divorcing spouses are able to come to an agreement before they even file for divorce and get the court involved. That’s what called an “uncontested” divorce, and everyone certainly benefits by that.
A well-drafted Separation Agreement/Marital Settlement Agreement should address and resolve as many of the following issues as are applicable:
- Parties’ Health Care Insurance and Unreimbursed Health Care Expenses.
- Life Insurance or Other Security for Payment of Alimony.
- Child Support and Payment of Daycare/Education Expenses.
- Children’s Health Care Insurance and Unreimbursed Health Care Expenses.
- Life Insurance or Other Security for Payment of Child Support.
- Income Tax Deductions for Children.
- Custody/ Parenting Time.
- Division of Assets/Debts.
- Joint/Separate Filing of Income Tax Returns and Allocation of Taxes/Refunds.
- Payment of Counsel Fees and Costs.
An experienced New Jersey Divorce Law Firm will be able to explain and evaluate each of those issues, as well as to identify any other issues that may be relevant in a particular case.
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