Divorce Process

Shrewsbury Divorce Attorneys

shutterstock_166929554Guiding New Jersey clients through the divorce process

When a couple can no longer stay married, divorce may be in their future, Divorce is a reality for over 50% of couples in the United States. Knowing what is to come can relieve some of the stress and help you prepare for the future. In some unfortunate cases, the process can become emotional and heated, leading to a complicated and lengthy ordeal in court, at great cost to everyone involved. In some fortunate cases, both parties want to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and will file for an uncontested divorce or use mediation to come to an amicable conclusion. All divorce cases must address issues relevant to their specific circumstances. These may include:

  • Spousal support
  • Division of assets
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support

To limit the impact of divorces on the family, New Jersey courts would like to resolve divorce cases within a year, but many can last much longer. For uncontested or mediated cases, a divorce may be resolved within months.  If you need more information about the process, contact The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC. Our experienced firm has over 35 years of experience with divorce law and the compassion to guide you through your options and the process.

New Jersey’s residency requirement and grounds for divorce

In the state of New Jersey, two requirements must be fulfilled in order to start the divorce process. A residency requirement must be satisfied in order for a New Jersey court to establish jurisdiction over a case. One or both spouses must be a bona fide resident of the state or have lived in New Jersey for at least a year to fulfill the requirement. Most cases will be heard by the Superior Court Family Division in your county.

Once the residency requirement is complete, one must cite grounds for the divorce. New Jersey follows many other states that allow for “no-fault” divorces, meaning that one does not need “fault” grounds for divorce and citing irreconcilable differences or separation for at least 18 months will allow for the procedure to continue. Though New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, one may cite “fault” grounds. It is important to note that most fault grounds will have little or no impact on the divorce. Some appropriate fault grounds for divorce may include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Desertion
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Incarceration
  • Institutionalization

The divorce process begins

Once a New Jersey court established jurisdiction over a case through the residency requirement and applicable grounds, the divorce process can begin by drafting a Complaint for Divorce and serving it to the local court. Once the Complaint is filed, the defendant must be served within 4 months. The other party may answer the Complaint when facing “fault” grounds. If you cite no-fault grounds, the Complaint for Divorce is filed, and legally served to the other party. No one can stop you from getting a divorce.

Case Management Conference

Once the Complaint is filed and parties are served the correct papers, parties will discuss applicable factors to the divorce through a Case Management Conference. In the conference, the parties will discuss:

  • Any contested issues of the case
  • Pre-trial discovery
  • A trial date
  • Possibility of alternative dispute resolution

The Case Management Conference introduces the judge to the case. At this juncture, the judge will work to expedite the process. He or she may suggest alternative dispute resolution to resolve the issue as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The judge uses their discretion in their recommendation. It may not work for everyone. If it works, a couple and their attorney may be sent to the Early Settlement Panel.

Early Settlement Panel

Once a Complaint is filed, a judge will review the case and see if it is appropriate to recommend alternative dispute resolution to save the court and couple time and money through the Early Settlement Panel. If the case is sent to the program, it will involve the parties’ attorneys and a panel of lawyers. If the couple cannot agree to use alternative dispute resolution, the case will start the litigation process.  

Discovery

Discovery is the longest part of a divorce proceeding. Parties must take the time to collect financial information related to the marriage. During Discovery, parties will disclose net worth statements and assign monetary value to assets and debt. Discovery allows the presiding judge to see a clear picture of how the marriage functions financially which will be the basis for most decisions in the case.

Final Judgment of Divorce

The divorce process comes to an end with the drafting and filing of the Final Judgement of Divorce. Your divorce is finalized. The document will include all orders from the court related to relevant topics that may include:

  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Division of Assets

Contact a compassionate Monmouth County firm to protect your interests

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC has served New Jersey with quality legal services for over 35 years. Our compassionate firm is ready to ease you through the divorce process. Our attorneys will assess your case, guide you through your option, and lead you towards a better, brighter future. You deserve committed counsel to protect your interests, rights, and family. Divorce can be an emotional ordeal. If you are in need of legal advice or passionate, effective representation, contact The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC today.