A divorce can be a trying time in your life, both financially and emotionally. But what most people assume is an incredibly painful process doesn’t have to be. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse are on reasonably good terms and can work together, you can make your divorce a lot less painful. If you can negotiate with your spouse and their attorney in good faith, you might even be able to get an uncontested divorce, which will save you a lot of time and money. Here is a short guide to uncontested divorces in New Jersey.
What Is It?
An uncontested divorce is defined as a divorce where the spouses agree on all the key terms of the divorce. These key terms include:
- Child custody and visitation, including where your children will live
- Child support, health and dental insurance, and medical expenses for the children
- Tax deductions and exemptions
- Division of the marital assets and debts
- Any other disputes involving the marriage.
Like many other states, New Jersey has a law that says that uncontested divorces can be placed on an expedited track (moved along more quickly) if all of the following statements are true:
- Very few or no pretrial proceedings (for example, discovery, where you exchange information with your spouse) are necessary
- There is no dispute about each spouse’s income, the value of their assets, or the custody and visitation (known as “parenting time” in New Jersey) of their children
- The marriage has only lasted for 5 years or less
- The spouses have written and signed a property settlement agreement that memorializes their total agreement
- The case is uncontested (meaning, both parties are in full agreement)
- If you or your spouse disagree about any of these terms, the divorce goes from uncontested divorce to a contested divorce, and then the two of you will need to go to trial to decide those matters
The first thing to note is that to file for divorce in New Jersey, either one or both spouses need to be living in New Jersey for one year prior to filing. This establishes jurisdiction, which is the court’s legal power to decide the case. Then you and your attorney will begin to draw up the initial divorce document, known as the complaint. This is where you notify the state that you would like to dissolve the marriage, under what grounds, and how you would like marital property to be divided. New Jersey has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault divorces allege that one spouse has committed adultery, is in prison, addicted to drugs, or any other number of reasons allowed by New Jersey law. An assertion of fault in a divorce usually means that a spouse is looking for a larger portion of the marital property, child custody, or both. However, the more commonly chosen option is a no-fault divorce, which is another way of saying that the spouses have irreconcilable differences that make saving the marriage impossible.
Once you’ve discussed all this with your attorney, they will fill out the appropriate paperwork and send copies to your spouse to begin the formal divorce process. As long as come to an agreement on all the relevant terms, the divorce can move ahead quickly. Once all the paperwork is signed and your attorneys have agreed on a final divorce decree, you will schedule a short hearing at the appropriate New Jersey courthouse to have a family law judge review the final order and ask both parties a few questions to make sure all the legal requirements have been met.
An uncontested divorce is one of the more painless methods of ending a marriage, as long as both parties can agree on the important details.
Contact a Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Your Divorce Case in New Jersey 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. Cordry Hartman, LLC represents clients throughout the NJ, including Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Evesham Township and Mount Laurel. 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 513 S Lenola Rd Ste 212, 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.