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Divorce Process

Divorce Process in New Jersey

Young couple sittin back to back on the sofa,having relationshipRepresenting Bergen County and NJ clients through divorce

The divorce process can be a complicated and emotional undertaking. In some cases, depending on the situation, a divorce can take quite some time to complete. Though New Jersey hopes that the divorce process lasts no longer than a year, there are always exceptions. If you are facing a contested divorce, you should consider your options. In some fortunate cases, couples can agree to terms outside of court and file for an uncontested divorce that may last only a few months. Whether a couple is involved in a contested or uncontested divorce, they will have to address topics relevant to their situation, including:

If you are inquiring about getting a divorce and need legal advice or effective representation, contact Debra F. Schneider, Esq. Our firm is ready to guide you through the process and passionately advocated on your behalf in and out of court. If you need our legal services, don’t hesitate to set up an initial consultation.  

Residency requirements

In order for a New Jersey court to establish jurisdiction over your divorce case, you have to satisfy the state’s residency requirements. In New Jersey, either party must be a bona fide resident of the state or lived in the state for at least a year.

Grounds for divorce

New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, though not a pure one. This means that no one can stop you from getting a divorce. You have the right to cite “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for the no-fault divorce. It also means that “fault” grounds may be cited as the reason for the split and can possibly impact some contested issues. Some fault grounds for divorce can include:

  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Substance abuse
  • Imprisonment
  • Institutionalization
  • Deviant sexual conduct

Beginning the process

Once New Jersey establishes jurisdiction and appropriate grounds for the divorce, you can serve the court with a Divorce Compliant. Once the court accepts the Complaint, you have 4 months to serve the other party. Though the other party can answer the claim, once your file the Divorce Complaint and legally serve the other party, no one can stop you from getting a divorce.

Case management conference

Once the process begins, the presiding court will schedule a case management conference. The parties come together to discuss the contested issues, time frame and application of pre-trial discovery, a trial date, and the possibility of mediation. The purpose of the case management conference is to introduce the case to the judge and see if there is any way to expedite the process and save the state and couple money and time. Often, if applicable, a court will recommend alternative dispute resolution. It is a great way for the couple to come to terms outside of the court and avoid airing their personal matters in a public forum. When a judge finds this to be a good option, they will provide information on mediation and push the couple to consider their options.

Discovery and motions

Discovery is the lengthiest part of the process in most cases. Both parties will take the time to collect financial information that would relate to the case. Each party will offer a net worth statement and other relevant information that will help the court paint a clear picture of the divorce case.

During the process, motions may be requested to help a dependent spouse continue the process through financial relief. Motions can help a dependent party with spousal support, child support, and other needs so that he or she can maintain a continuing quality of life and see the divorce through.

Final Judgment of Divorce

Once all relevant issues are addressed, the court will hand down an order that resolves contested topics, explain each party’s obligation and what will happen if the order is not followed. The Final Judgment of divorce is legally binding. If circumstances change and either party believe that they have grounds for a modification, he or she may request one from the court. Though New Jersey is open to modifying issues resolved in the Final Judgment, one must show an unforeseen, overwhelming, and continuing change in circumstance to meet the court’s legal standard.

Contact a Hackensack divorce lawyer

The divorce process can be a complicated matter. If you are facing a contested divorce, you need to contact an experienced and effective attorney to represent your interests. If you are considering the process of divorce, need legal advice or skilled representation, contact Debra F. Schneider for a consultation. Our firm is ready to guide you through your legal options and passionately advocate for you in and out of court.

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