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Divorce From Bed and Board Hot Tips (Part 2)

The following are the next 5 of my 20 major Hot Tips to keep in mind when considering advising your client to enter into a Divorce from Bed & Board (“DBB”):

  1. When agreeing to a DBB, make sure that you specifically state that no new plenary action is necessary to be instituted, but rather conversion can be done by way of post-judgment motion under the initial docket number (see DeAngelis, 122 N.J. Super at 50).
  2. Additionally (referring again to the DeAngelis case), counsel should specifically include in any agreement for the entry of a DBB that the issues resolved at the time of the entry of the DBB cannot be revisited.
  3. As far as equitable distribution of property, the entry of a DBB shall be no different than if a judgment of absolute divorce or dissolution has been entered. Accordingly, equitable distribution of property pursuant to a DBB shall be legally recognized to the same extent as equitable distribution of property pursuant to a full divorce.  Therefore, each party may accumulate separate property free of any claims of the other party to the same extent as if the parties were divorced.
  4. A pension may be equitably distributed after a DBB pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”).
  5. Beware, a DBB may not terminate survivorship benefits in a retirement asset like a full divorce.

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