Reality TV stars, Kris and Bruce Jenner, have recently announced their separation after 22 years of marriage. In an interview for People Magazine, Bruce Jenner stated that no one is filing for divorce. Many couples struggle with the decision of whether or not there should be a period of separation before moving forward with formally filing for divorce. There are important considerations to keep in mind if you are considering a separation. Not all states recognize legal separation. The State of New Jersey, unlike other states such as California, does not have a formal law authorizing legal separation. Therefore, during the period of separation, if a divorce complaint is not filed, you will not have a pending court matter that will permit you to file an application seeking a court order for alimony, child support, distribution of property and parenting time.

Couples may separate at any time. However, while there is no legal separation in New Jersey, an individual is not excused from his or her financial and other family obligations upon a separation. Of course, upon separation, significant issues such as parenting time and support must be addressed. It is possible to negotiate an agreement with your spouse to address important issues during a period of separation. Also, if a spouse decides to abandon his or her financial responsibilities following a separation, the other spouse may file a complaint with the court requesting an order for support, without also filing for divorce. It is also possible to file for a parenting time order without filing for divorce in the event parenting time becomes an issue during a period of separation.

However, it is important to keep in mind that since there is no legal separation in New Jersey, there is no restriction on dissipating marital assets as there would be once a divorce complaint is filed. For example, if you and your spouse decide to separate and the next day your spouse withdraws all the money from a joint bank account, you cannot obtain a court order directing that the funds be returned unless a divorce matter is pending. Also, once a divorce complaint has been filed, neither spouse can cancel or modify any insurance policy without prior consent of the other spouse or court order. No similar protection exists during a separation prior to the filing of a divorce complaint. Contact an experienced attorney at Iandoli & Edens, LLC today at 908-879-9499 to assist you in determining the best option for your needs. We are here to protect your rights.