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Divorce after a Long Separation

Divorce after a Long Separation

Divorce after a Long Separation

Couples separate. Will they get back together or end the marriage? Separation means living under separate roofs. Divorce after a long separation in Ocean County.

What happens in Divorce after a Long Separation?

Let’s start with the law.

What is the importance of the filing date?

 Assets and debts are divided based upon the filing date of the Divorce. Even after a Divorce after a Long Separation, the court uses the filing date as the official end of the marriage.


Lots of things can happen between Separation and Divorce. Children can grow up. Some separated couples have children with other people before initiating a Divorce after a Long Separation in Ocean County.


Other Ocean County couples keep everything the same even, paying bills and filing taxes throughout a Long Separation. 

Divorce and family law is tricky.

The facts of your Divorce in ocean County always matter. One simple rule is use the Divorce filing date to signify the end of the marriage even after a Long Separation?


Divorce after a Long Separation – what are the issues?

Whether you separate for one day or 15 years, you are entitled to litigate the same claims in your Divorce. A leading case on this topic is named Brandenburg. Mr. and Mrs. Brandenberg were separated for @16 years. However, Mr. Brandenberg supported the family throughout the period of Separation. He started off wealthy, went broke and became wealthy again over the Separation. 

He argued, his new wealth should be his due to the Separation.

The Court did not buy it.

 Even after a 16 year Separation, the Divorce filing date was the critical date for evaluating debts and assets.

Rights of children a Long Separation.

The children are always entitled to the support of both parents. Child support is commonly ordered in Divorce. Even in a Divorce after a Long Separation where no child support was requested, the rights of the children are always paramount. Similarly, the best interest of the children will always apply in questions of child custody and parenting time.


After a Long Separation, a parent may want to re engage in the lives of the children. The courts will always attempt to reunify parents and children if the policy of the state of New Jersey. Always has been and is always will be. Obviously older children will have more to say about parenting time then will younger children.


Many clients over the years have stayed separated and not filed for Divorce because of potential child custody litigation. They would rather protect the children then move on with their lives.

This strategy of protecting the children can backfire.

The best interests of the children test will apply even after a Long Separation. The children might be missing out on two parents and a whole lot of child support.

Is there alimony in Divorce after a Long Separation?

An alimony claim is not barred by a Long Separation. Alimony is decided based upon Statutory Factors.


The mere passage of time will not automatically terminate an alimony claim. The court must follow all of the statutory factors and case law to determine whether there will be an award of alimony. Likewise, the duration and amount of alimony are decided based upon statutory factors.


Marital lifestyle – in a Divorce after a Long Separation

After a Long Separation, the question of marital lifestyle becomes very important. Clearly a family that goes from intact directly to Divorce shares a marital lifestyle. The lead up to the Divorce is the married couple under one roof. A study of how they lived and spent money will shape the marital lifestyle announced.


After a long Separation, waters are muddied.


The conduct of the couple during the Separation is very important to analyzing the marital lifestyle. For example, if the separated couple maintains common bank accounts, paid bills and except for sleeping under a separate roof remains an intact economic unit, the marital lifestyle is shared in joints. Household bills in common help paint the picture of the marital lifestyle. Spending on children’s well-being, activities and education is part of the marital lifestyle.

A Long Separation with few economic ties changes the game.

If you Divorce after a Long Separation and neither spouse has paid a dime to the other, that becomes the marital lifestyle. For instance, a couple is separated for five years. They file joint income tax returns but otherwise never exchange a dollar. The couple has separate residences. Normally, each has car insurance, car payments – the usual bills of an individual. No money trades hands. Five years go by without a penny being paid from one to the other. 

What is the marital lifestyle?

I would argue that the marital lifestyle is that neither party pays the other anything. Hence, an alimony claim that might have been pretty good is looking pretty distant.


Facts matter after a Long Separation

One spouse earns $120,000 per year and the other spouse $60,000 per year. I have changed my mind? Certainly, there can be a point where passage of time impact inherent fairness. The goal of matrimonial law is to be fair to house.


If you were the spouse earning $60,000, you would say “Hey, I deserve some alimony.  If we had stayed together for a long time, I would have benefited from that extra income.” If you are the spouse earning $120,000 per year you would argue that you have already established a new life. No support was requested. You built your budget around paying no support. I suppose there is a point where that income spreads can be so vast that the court will require the payment of alimony even if the marital lifestyle is a mere distant memory.


Food for thought on a Long Separation.

If you are thinking you have a good alimony claim, do not let years pass before asking for alimony from your spouse through negotiations or through going to court.


Other common issues in Divorce after a Long Separation


What about legal fees? Courts have the power to award legal fees in between parties. Equitable distribution of assets and debts is pretty clear and Long Separation has little impact. Conversely, Separation can have a huge impact on alimony based upon the marital lifestyle. Paying the other person’s legal fees, clever, fixed in between. If there is a huge income and assets courts regularly level the playing field by ordering legal fees to be paid. The risk of a Long preparation on legal fees was back to marital lifestyle. If you are expecting your spouse to pay your legal fees, aLong Separation may hurt your chances of collecting. Again, the court is trying to be fair to both spouses at every step of the way. Once the children are cared for, the court with few exceptions, Divorce after a Long Separation is almost therapeutic for the couple. 

By and large, Divorces after a Long Separation take on a business like approach. The heat of the breakup is usually in the past. The parties are older. The triggering events are forgotten.


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Photo by Muhammad Murtaza Ghani on Unsplash