27 Years of Family
Law Experience

From child custody battles to seeking fair alimony payments - all we do is family law

Family Law

Achieve a Fair &
Equitable Divorce

You don’t want to be stuck in an endless court battle. Let us try to ease the process for you.


Keep Your Children
in Your Life!

Don’t let a divorce rip your children away from you. We can help fight for fair custody and parenting time.

Child Custody

Don’t Be a Victim
of Domestic Abuse!

If you are struggling with domestic violence in your home, we can help provide legal protection.

Domestic Violence
  • Are You Thinking About Getting Divorced?

    Know what you can expect during the divorce process and find out how our firm can help.

    The Divorce Process
  • Are You in the Middle of Your Divorce Right Now?

    We offer a "second opinion service".

    Want a Second Opinion?
  • Are You Divorced Yet You Still Have Problems?

    We help divorced people who are still having divorce-related problems.

    How We Can Help You
  • Free Case Evaluation

    Get advice from an experienced family lawyer who can help find a long-term solution for you.

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"Did You Know That There Is No Legal Separation in New Jersey?"

"Many people contact my firm because they are considering separating from their spouse and they want to know about how to obtain a “legal separation.” I tell them that there is no such thing as a legal separation in NJ; they can simply move out tonight if they wish to (of course, I also make it clear that they cannot simply abandon their responsibilities, both financial and otherwise, for a spouse and children.)

The fact of the matter is that unlike some other states, New Jersey does not have a formal law authorizing legal separation.

Other states, such as California, do offer a formal legal separation as an option for couples wishing to stop living as husband and wife. For example, a legal separation in California is for couples not wishing to get divorced, but who want to live apart and decide on money, property, and parenting issues. In a California legal separation case, a person can ask the judge for orders such as child support, spousal support, custody and visitation, or any other orders a person can get with a divorce case.

Here in New Jersey, though, if people simply separate there is no judge to ask for assistance because there is no concept of legal separation.

This may be a meaningless distinction though, because in New Jersey it is possible to negotiate all issues of support, children, and property distribution, and have an agreement reached with your spouse that has been drawn up into a formal “Marital Settlement Agreement,” or “Interspousal Agreement,” or “Property Settlement Agreement,” without ever obtaining a divorce.

One can also file a Complaint with the Superior Court of New Jersey seeking child custody, child support, alimony (or all three) without also filing for divorce.

It is also possible to obtain a divorce from bed and board in New Jersey, which is a formal legal court order that resolves issues of child support, alimony, property distribution, etc. without granting a formal divorce to the parties. Some people find this more acceptable than a traditional divorce for religious reasons and other practical reasons, like the possibility of continuing on a family health insurance policy without additional premium cost. I call this a "99% divorce".

The decision to separate or divorce is a serious one. Notwithstanding the fact that there is no concept of “legal separation” in New Jersey, there are still difficult issues of child support, alimony, property distribution, debts, insurance, and many other issues that need to be worked out.

If you are considering separating from your spouse, feel free to contact me to discuss the particular facts of your situation and how they relate to the issue of separating from your spouse."


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Contact Us

Law Offices of Steven J. Kaplan
Monmouth County Divorce Attorney
Located at: 5 Professional Circle,
Suite 204,

Colts Neck, NJ 07722
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Phone: (732) 845-9010
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.