The divorce process in New Jersey can be complex and overwhelming. At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law we take great pride in delivering personal service with large firm experience to help New Jersey residents achieve the best possible result in their divorce. We provide expert guidance and help on the divorce process and all family law related matters like child custody, legal separation, divorce mediation, alimony and the equitable distribution of assets.
This list of frequently asked questions about the divorce process will give you some quick answers. For a deeper understanding of the divorce process, see our free guide to the divorce process at the bottom of this page.
How long does it take to get a divorce in New Jersey?
It all depends on how difficult the case is. If it is uncontested and agreements are made very quickly then a divorce may only take a month to a month and a half. If the case is contested it could take over a year.
If I file the initial complaint or summons do I have an advantage?
In most cases it does not make any difference as far as who will get more support or assets. It does make a difference in some cases because the one who files may have a tendency to have a greater desire for the divorce. The individual who has a greater desire is often times more willing to let things slide by, so he or she will end up giving up more in order to have the process happen quicker.
If a spouse leaves town in order to flee the summons there are measures that can be taken to get the divorce proceedings rolling.
Are there advantages to a no-fault divorce in New Jersey?
The one benefit to this type of divorce is the victory does not go to the spouse with the greatest number of complaints. Each spouse is seen as contributing the same amount to the death of the marriage, so a more equitable agreement is possible.
Can you get a divorce if you do not know where your spouse is?
Only if you have made a very good effort to locate the missing spouse and are willing to testify in court under oath that a good effort has been made, then service of process may be made through a publication typically the local newspaper. This is known as Constructive Service.
How are debts obtained during a marriage divided in divorce in the State of New Jersey?
Debts are not uncommon at a time of divorce. Often times this is what may instigate the problems that lead a couple down the road to separation. Debts are usually divided in a manner that approximates the parties’ respective earnings ability and ability to pay.
What is an uncontested case?
An uncontested case is a divorce proceeding in which there are no disputes as to any legal issues. Both parties tend to agree on all matters and are typically just ready for the whole process to be over with. Sometimes an uncontested case is caused by a missing spouse or one’s refusal to participate.
What is a contested case?
The minute the complaint or summons is filed the case becomes contested, and is contested until all disputes are resolved, such as support, custody, visitation, and division of assets. Many divorces start out with the intent of being uncontested under claims of no-fault, but greed often propels a case into being contested.
If spouses agree on everything do they need an attorney?
If you are going to have an uncontested divorce and you both agree on everything it is still recommended that you hire an attorney to review the papers and make sure everything seems fair. You may be surprised what happens if you do not. A lot of people end up signing what they thought was discussed but actually was not. The state of New Jersey will not allow one attorney to represent both parties due to the conflict of interest present in such representation.
Can I get more money if the divorce was not my fault?
Most likely not, because Courts in New Jersey do not weigh marital behavior when making asset distribution decisions or awarding alimony.
What does a mediator do?
A mediator may be used if the spouses do not wish to fight in the courtroom. They choose this alternative to sit down with a mediator that does not make decisions, but instead helps bring the not so clear into reality. The mediator helps the spouses to understand and express their objectives with the intent to be able to achieve them through negotiation.
What is an arbitration?
It is less formal than a regular court hearing. Parties must consent to have their cases decided through arbitration. An arbitrator (normally another experienced attorney) will hear both sides of the story. Each spouse will have the opportunity to disclose all information necessary to prove his or her claims. Each side must be represented by legal counsel, and the decision reached by the panel is final. The decision is then attached to the divorce complaint to become part of the final divorce decree.
What are pleadings?
The initial formal written complaint or summons that is filed with the court and delivered to the spouse is the first pleading, and the response of your spouse is the second. The response will either admit or deny the allegations made in the complaint. Basically they are the papers filed to formally put a case before the court.
How are temporary orders obtained?
It starts with a proceeding in which one side will request some kind of relief, such as custody and support, before the final judgment on the divorce has been made. Since the divorce process can be quite lengthy at times, many disputes must be resolved on a temporary basis. Without temporary orders it is very difficult to have somewhat of a normal life during the process. These orders are obtained through Motions for Pendente Lite Relief.
What if a spouse does not follow temporary orders?
A petition for contempt will need to be filed and if the delinquent spouse cannot show good reason for disregarding the order, then a fine or imprisonment may take place.