Guiding You Through The Divorce Process
Divorce is a reality for more than 50% of married couples in the United States. If you are considering divorce in New Jersey, knowing what to expect can relieve some of the stress and help you prepare for the future.
To discuss your concerns with an experienced and caring divorce attorney, please call us at 732-582-5061 or complete our contact form. With offices in Red Bank, we represent clients throughout the greater New Jersey area.
Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce
In some cases, the process can become very emotional and heated, leading to a complicated and lengthy ordeal in court, at great cost to everyone involved. This is generally known as “contested divorce.”
In more fortunate cases, both parties want to resolve the issues as quickly as possible and will file for an uncontested divorce. If your divorce is uncontested, you and your attorney can negotiate with the other party outside of court to reach a divorce settlement.
All divorce cases must address issues relevant to their specific circumstances. These may include:
To limit the impact of divorce 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.
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 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, you must cite grounds for the divorce. New Jersey, like many other states, allows for “no-fault” divorce. That means you do not need to prove “fault” for the divorce. Instead, citing irreconcilable differences or separation for at least 18 months will allow for the divorce procedure to continue.
Note: Although New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, you can still cite “fault” grounds. It is important to understand, though, that most fault grounds will have little or no impact on the divorce. Some appropriate fault grounds for divorce may include:
- Extreme cruelty
The Divorce Process Begins
Once a New Jersey court has 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 (other spouse) 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 (mediation) to resolve the issue as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The judge uses his or her discretion in this 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 is the longest part of a divorce proceeding. Parties must take the time to collect financial information related to the marriage. During Discovery, the 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, and this 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 An Experienced Monmouth County Firm To Protect Your Interests
The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC, has provided compassionate, effective legal counsel for more than 35 years. Our highly experienced legal team is ready to ease you through the divorce process. We will assess your case, guide you through your options, and lead you towards a better, brighter future.
You deserve committed counsel to protect your interests, rights and family. Divorce can be an extremely emotional ordeal. If you are in need of legal advice or clear-sighted, effective representation, contact The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC, today: 732-582-5061. We can help.