Are you considering filing a divorce in NJ? Or did you unexpectedly get served divorce papers?
Divorce is not an easy step to take, nor is the process fast and painless. Unfortunately, if you are here then there is a good possibility that your life is not matching up to your expectations, or you’re on the receiving end of your spouse’s unhappiness.
In either event, divorce proceedings can be complex and stressful. It may feel like a door is closing or a massive chapter is ending, and to some extent that is true. But there is good news: if a chapter is ending than a new one is ready to begin. How you begin that chapter, and with what resources, is largely in the hands of your legal representation.
Here at Fabrikant Law, we strongly believe that our role is to ensure your future has the best possible start.
We also believe in our clients educating themselves on the topic of divorce in NJ and have provided a substantial number of resources below.
How does a divorce in NJ work?
NJ Divorces can follow a standard 7-step process:
- File a divorce complaint
- Appearance/Answer and Counterclaim
- Filing a Case Information Statement
- Settlement Agreement or Early Settlement Panel
- Economic Mediation
- Intensive Settlement Conference
It’s important to know that your divorce does not have to complete all seven steps; if both parties reach an agreement in step four, they can be divorced that day.
Read more: The Seven Steps in a NJ Divorce
How does an Uncontested NJ Divorce differ from a Contested Divorce?
An uncontested NJ divorce is where both of the parties agree to terms settling the issues in their case and have signed a settlement agreement. This includes all issues ranging from custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution (division of property, assets, debts).
On the other hand, a contested divorce is one where the parties cannot settle (agree) and usually end up having to go to trial to be divorced. A contested divorce becomes uncontested as soon as the parties reach a settlement.
How Do You File For a Divorce in NJ?
This is a process that begins with filing a document called a “Complaint For Divorce” with the Family Court clerk located in your county. You’ll need to specify the grounds for divorce. The basis for a divorce most often used is “irreconcilable differences.” The Complaint for Divorce must be personally served on your spouse, unless they agree to sign an Acknowledgement of Service.
Can I Bring Someone With Me to Meetings with the Attorney?
You are allowed to bring a third party with you (whether it be a friend, family member, or a neighbor) to your meetings with your attorney, but it can break any attorney-client privilege that you have. This is because the discussions with your lawyer no longer remain confidential if a third party is there. Normally people bring someone to the initial consultation, before the attorney is retained, to ask questions or give moral support. There is no attorney-client privilege yet because the attorney has not been retained.
Should I go to mediation and should I bring a lawyer to mediation?
It is always recommended to be represented by your own attorney even when attending mediation because the mediator is a neutral third party and does not represent you or your spouse. Mediation may save money and time overall if an agreement can be reached between the two parties.
Most divorces in New Jersey are no fault divorces. In these cases, the Court will end a marriage when the parties have either suffered from irreconcilable differences for at least six months, or have been living separate and apart for at least 18 months. There are many advantages to a no-fault divorce. One such advantage is that you do not need to prove that your spouse caused the marriage to end due to adultery, desertion or extreme cruelty, which is necessary in fault divorces.
A no-fault divorce may sound like a divorce where there are no disagreements, however, that is not the case. Unless the parties resolve issues such as custody, support, property distribution and the like, and enter into a settlement agreement, those issues eventually will be litigated.
No matter the situation, we zealously represent our clients and fight hard to protect their legal rights and interests as well as the legal rights and interests of their children.
Divorce can be a highly emotional time. Plans and a relationship that were central to your life at one point simply no longer exist. We understand the roller coaster of emotions that a divorce can cause and we support our clients every way we can.
Ann Fabrikant helps spouses with preparing for a divorce, going through the divorce process, post-divorce legal disputes and appeals of legal decisions. If you are considering getting a divorce and need advice or the process has already started and you need legal help, contact our office today.
Fabrikant Law, LLC prides itself on providing exceptional professional and personalized service. For assistance with your family law matter, please contact us today.