If your marriage hits a rough patch, or there have been years of unhappiness, you may decide it is time to move forward. And if you are not ready or willing to start the divorce process, a formal separation may be a good option. Here in NJ, we do not have a legal separation process for separation. Still, we can certainly put formal agreements and place.
As a couple, you may pursue a legal separation for various reasons that make it a favorable option over immediately proceeding with a divorce. Legal separation allows spouses to live apart and assess their compatibility, offering a trial period to evaluate the potential for reconciliation. It allows couples to establish agreements on how childcare and finances will be handled without ending the marriage. Some couples may choose legal separation due to personal or religious beliefs discouraging divorce. Moreover, legal separation can provide financial benefits such as continued access to healthcare or tax benefits. Ultimately, it grants couples time and space to navigate their relationship before making a final decision about divorce.
Your best option is to negotiate these terms as you and your spouse move forward. Remember, the goal is a commitment to continue to manage your financial situation and take care of your children. The process may foster greater communication between you and your spouse.
Taking the time to separate rather than divorce legally can lead to clarity. You step away from the fighting and see how you both feel leading more independently. You might seek the support of a marriage counselor together as a couple or independently seek professional help to manage the emotions so you can make good decisions for both of you and your family in the future.