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5 things you need to know about separation

People always talk about how wonderful it is to be married: the nostalgia of your first date, the love felt on your wedding day. But it’s less popular to talk about the realities of marriage. Most marriages take an unexpected amount of work. Marriage is not often a fairy tale.

Sometimes, taking a break is what’s needed to remind yourself why you got married in the first place. During that break, you can time to understand how you’re feeling about your marriage, which can take a lot of the stress out of having to explain your feelings to your loved ones.

Here are 5 things you need to know when considering a separation.

  1. Making it official. You should strongly consider negotiating the terms of the separation through a legal separation agreement, or a marital settlement agreement. This document will put you in a protected position if your spouse acts unpredictably. This document would outline custody of any children or pets, time spent with children, housing arrangements. Failing to follow the agreement will result in a breach of contract.
  2. Nesting. Consider nesting if you have children. Just like it sounds, nesting is the separation or divorce strategy where the children stay in place and the parents come and go. Nesting is a popular separation and divorce strategy, supported by research, that gives parents an alternative to sending children back and forth between two communities. This approach aims to create residential stability, allowing children to focus their attention.
  3. Stay off of social media. While it may be tempting to reach out to your network of friends and family on social media, you would benefit by consulting with close friends or family in person or privately. The need to share your feelings is certainly understandable, but there are alternatives that are more effective, and less damaging, than social media group therapy.
  4. Separation is optional. Separation prior to divorce is not required in some states, including New Jersey. If you and your spouse are certain that divorce is imminent, you may proceed immediately with divorce proceedings.
  5. Reconciliation is possible. Separation does not always lead to divorce. While it’s statistically unlikely, reconciliation is possible if both parties are willing to work hard. With a great parenting plan and clear guidance, you and your partner can use this trial to gain new appreciation for each other, and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

Separation happens to good people and it’s exceedingly common. Having said that, it’s worth very careful consideration. How you and your partner handle separation can have a lot of bearing on your future happiness. Give this decision the time and attention that it deserves.