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What is a Limited Divorce in New Jersey?

If you have considered divorce, but have wondered about its benefits for you, you should know that the Garden State does offer you additional options. Unlike some states, New Jersey does not have a “legal separation” for married couples, but it does offer something similar: “divorce from bed and board,” also known as limited divorce. To learn more about divorce from bed and board, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Morris County, NJ divorce lawyers immediately. Some questions you may have include:

What constitutes a limited divorce in New Jersey?

Married couples in the Garden State may obtain a divorce from bed and board on the same grounds as a full divorce, but, no matter the grounds, both parties must consent to the procedure. When you go through a divorce from bed and board, you and your spouse remain technically married, meaning that neither spouse may remarry without converting the divorce from bed and board into a final judgment of absolute divorce. A final judgment does require filing additional paperwork and paying additional court fees, but it does not usually present great difficulty to obtain.

What happens during a limited divorce in New Jersey?

Much like a complete divorce, those divorcing from bed and board can decide how to divide their marital property and debts and enter into a settlement agreement. Unless the spouses can reach an agreement, the court will divide marital property and debts according to equitable distribution rules and, if appropriate, may even award alimony. Please bear in mind that the accrual of marital property stops while the divorce from bed and board remains in effect. Thus, if either spouse acquires new property, it will remain separate property.

What are the benefits of a divorce from bed and board in New Jersey?

As long as you prepare a written settlement agreement, divorce from bed and board comes with the following benefits:

  • Unlike a complete divorce, spouses who reconcile following a divorce from bed and board can apply to have their divorce judgment revoked or suspended.
  • The spouses achieve economic separation, while survivor spouses still receive benefits under pension plans and spousal social security retirement benefits.
  • The spouses can continue to jointly hold property.
  • The dependent spouse may continue to receive health insurance benefits from the other spouse.

Unfortunately, a divorce from bed and board does not preserve the spouses’ intestate rights, i.e. the right to inherit if the other spouse dies without a will.

If you have any additional questions about a divorce from bed and board, please speak with one of our skilled New Jersey divorce and family law attorneys today.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.