For a litany of practical and personal reasons, some New Jersey married couples choose to separate but are not ready to file for divorce. While separation is not required in order to file for a divorce, signing a formal separation agreement can offer some distinct legal and financial benefits if you and your spouse choose to eventually seek a divorce, or instead if you are able to reconcile your differences and give your marriage a second chance.
The separation and divorce attorneys of Jacobs Berger take pride in offering personalized and dynamic legal services to our clients. Our firm is built on the attorney-client relationship first and foremost, and we believe in being accessible to our clients during and after business hours. Lean on the experience we have cultivated through successfully serving local clients with their divorce and separation needs.
Call our office today for a confidential and comprehensive Strategic Planning Session with one of our qualified divorce attorneys regarding your separation agreement and to learn more about how we can best serve your needs.
Separation and Divorce Lawyers Define Separation Agreements
Separation agreements are similar to divorce agreements in many ways. They are both legal agreements between spouses which can cover a litany of legal issues including child custody, alimony, division of assets, and more. This leads many clients to ask our Denville separation and divorce lawyers: why bother with a separation agreement at all?
Time does not stand still during divorce proceedings. Even the fastest turnarounds involve approximately two (2) months between initial divorce filing and finalization. In many cases, the divorce timeline can extend well beyond a year. For some individuals who are separated but not legally divorced, waiting for the financial assistance of child support and/or alimony simply isn’t a viable option.
Along those lines, there are some couples who may willfully separate for an extended period of time. Legal separation in New Jersey is also an oft-cited grounds for no-fault divorce. Spouses may file for an easier and simpler no-fault divorce if they have been residing in different homes for a minimum of 18 consecutive months. No matter the underlying reasons, if you and your spouse are separated but not yet divorced, separation agreements can be an enormous help.
What Can be Resolved as Part of a Separation Agreement?
Our Morris County separation and divorce attorneys have helped clients write separation agreements covering all of the following issues and more:
- Alimony – temporary alimony during divorce proceedings and spousal support during separation are both legal and enforceable within a separation agreement
- Child Support – similar to alimony, temporary child support accommodations are common during divorce proceedings. The amount to which you are owed or which you must pay is dependent on a number of factors including the gross income of both co-parents and terms of your child custody agreement
- Child Custody – spouses generally choose sole custody, shared custody, or joint custody arrangement for physical custody of children
- Equitable Division of Assets – separation includes no longer living under the same roof, and therefore your separation agreement will often resolve the division of your marital property
Separation Attorneys Discuss the Impact of Separation Agreements on Divorce
As may be apparent from previous sections, many of the same issues generally addressed in divorce agreements are included in separation agreements. However, it is not necessarily the case that the terms of your separation agreement will become the terms of your eventual divorce agreement.
For most separated couples, their separation agreement will be revisited as they navigate the divorce process. For some divorcing spouses, the terms of their separation agreement have been going well during the separation and they may wish to continue without much change. Neither spouse is bound to the terms of a separation agreement going into divorce, and the terms may be re-negotiated as part of your divorce via litigation, mediation, or arbitration.
It is also possible that your separation agreement may be set aside before a divorce or reconciliation. In other words, it is possible to legally modify or even terminate your separation agreement. Arguments that may be used to set modify or terminate a separation agreement include:
- Failure to equitably divide marital assets
- Terms of the agreement are unconscionable (fundamentally unfair and unreasonable)
- Agreement was entered into under threat or coercion
- A mutual misunderstanding led to an unenforceable agreement
Contact our Separation Agreement Attorneys Today
At Jacobs Berger, our separation agreement attorneys see each case we take as an opportunity to help our clients build a solid foundation for themselves and for their family. Our firm does not believe in the cookie-cutter legal solutions offered by some other firms. Our dedication to providing flexible and effective legal services has allowed us to help clients draft successful separation agreements across New Jersey.
To learn more about legal separations, divorce, or any other family law concerns, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 710-4366 today for a comprehensive and confidential Strategic Planning Session with one of our qualified separation and divorce attorneys.