Filing for Divorce in New Jersey
Here is a short run down of completing a divorce in New Jersey courts, from beginning to end.
The Start: Filing The Complaint
Firstly, to be eligible for a divorce in New Jersey courts, you or your spouse needs to live in the state for at least one year prior to filing. This is known as a residency requirement. The first step in the divorce process is to file the complaint, which lets the court know that you are starting the divorce process and under what grounds. New Jersey has both fault and no-fault options when it comes to naming a reason for the divorce. This document, along with others, must be submitted to the county clerk where you or your spouse live or work.
Notice of Divorce
Next, you are required to provide legal notice to your spouse that you have filed for divorce and give them a chance to respond. You must provide the spouse with “service” (copies of the legal documents you filed) and they must sign for these documents to prove that they received them. There are a number of valid ways to serve someone in New Jersey, including certified or registered mail, process server, delivery through your attorney, and personal service.
Answering the “Service”
Once properly served, the other spouse has 35 days to respond through a legal answer. In their answer they can object to any or all of the points asserted in the original divorce complaint, challenging claims on property division or alimony, for example. They can also assert their own grounds for divorce.
Contestation and Negotiation
The two spouses then move into the part of the process where the details of the split are decided. Decisions on child custody and child support, spousal support, and property division become front and center. The length of the process depends on whether the divorce will be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that both parties will need to attend a trial, present evidence, and wait for a judge’s decision to determine the outcome of each of the issues. This can be a long and expensive process.
On the other hand, the spouses can engage in negotiations or mediation to come up with a workable solution for both sides. This is the less costly and often quicker method. Once a settlement is reached, all the judge needs to do is sign off on it.
The End: Signing The Decree
If the divorce is contested, the judge will make a decision on all the issues once the trial is done and formalize it in a divorce decree. If uncontested, the parties will present a document marriage agreement, which is the negotiated divorce document, to the judge at a brief hearing to sign it. After that, the divorce is final.
Issue To Consider: Attorney vs. Self-Representation
Every case is different. Some people don’t think they have the money for an attorney. Some couples split amicably. There are resources online for people who are looking to represent themselves in the divorce process. But if there disagreements on any of the issues, an experienced family law attorney may be the best way to get the outcome you want.
Contact A New Jersey Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Your Divorce Today!
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Cordry Hartman, LLC represent clients throughout southern New Jersey. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 856-452-4474 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 505 S Lenola Rd Ste 224, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.