What is Divorce from Bed and Board?

New Jersey does not recognize a formal process for a legal separation.  The equivalent of a legal separation is a divorce from bed and board.  If spouses divorce from bed and board, they become economically separated but remain legally married. When spouses decide to divorce from bed and board, since they are still legally married, they do not have the right to remarry.

What Marital Issues can be Addressed in a Divorce from Bed and Board?

Like a divorce or legal separation, spouses are able to address a number of different items in a divorce from bed and board. Some  marital issues spouses may wish to include in their separation agreement can include:

  • Marital assets
  • Marital property
  • Separate property
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Debts and Liabilities
  • Pensions/401ks/annuities/profit sharing plans
  • Health insurance
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony)

When the divorce from bed and board process is complete, the couple receives a judgment that equitably distributes the assets and also ensures that all the marital debts are apportioned.

Health Insurance & Divorce from Bed and Board

When couples divorce from bed and board, the dependent spouse may be able to remain on the covered spouse’s insurance policy.  Since a divorce from bed and board is not a complete and absolute divorce, it may not be a qualifying event that would require removing the spouse from the health insurance policy.  However, prior to making any decisions on health insurance, the couple should confirm with their insurer on what constitutes a qualifying event. No one insurance policy is the same, and some may state that a form of legal separation can constitute a qualified event.

If you are considering a divorce from bed and board, you should contact an attorney.  An experienced divorce attorney can let you know your rights and advise you of all your options under a divorce from bed and board.

Paone Zaleski & Murphy is an experienced family law and divorce firm with offices in Woodbridge and Red Bank, NJ. Contact our firm to discuss your legal matter.