Considering a divorce? Regardless of whether you to expect the dissolution of the marriage to be amicable or highly contentious, you can benefit from the guidance and support of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney.
At Carl Taylor Law, LLC, our adept divorce and family law attorneys Carl Taylor and Lisa Stein-Browning have helped hundreds of clients make it through the often-grueling divorce process and emerge ready to seize their “happily even after.” How? We take a solutions-oriented approach to divorce: helping clients understand their rights, options, and how New Jersey law may affect their case—empowering them with the information they need to set clear, reasonable goals for ending their marriage. We can do the same for you. Keep reading to learn more.
New Jersey Divorce Basics
Not only are divorce laws complex, but they can vary from state to state. If this is your first time divorcing in the Garden State, here are a few things you need to know:
- Residency requirements. In order to file divorce papers with a local court, you or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least one full year. However, if the grounds for divorce is adultery, the residency requirement is shortened to six months.
- Case length. The average New Jersey divorce takes approximately one year to complete, from initial filing to settlement agreement. Finalizing your divorce may take more—or less—time depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
- Asset division. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that, if you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement, the court will assess all your assets and divide them in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. Some of the factors the court considers when distributing assets include each spouse's educational background, income and earning capacity, and contributions to the marriage.
- Types of divorce. In New Jersey, divorce can be uncontested, meaning that you and your spouse agree on key issues such as alimony, child support, child custody and parenting time, and property, asset, and debt division, while contested divorces often involve a drawn-out battle over these and other matters. As a result, contested divorces often take longer and cost more than their uncontested counterparts.
- Grounds for divorce. New Jersey divorce grounds can be no-fault or fault-based. Irreconcilable differences and separation are no-fault grounds for divorce, while fault grounds include adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, alcohol or drug abuse, imprisonment, institutionalization, and deviant sexual behavior.
Understanding the New Jersey Divorce Process
Divorce can be a long and complicated process. Though the exact steps you (and your attorney) will take to obtain a divorce can vary based on your individual situation and legal goals, here's a brief overview of what's involved:
- One spouse (the plaintiff) files a divorce complaint.
- The other spouse (the defendant) files a general appearance, respond to their spouse's complaint, and brings any desired counterclaims.
- Both the plaintiff and defendant file a Case Information Statement, which includes relevant financial information.
- The plaintiff and defendant, along with their attorneys, negotiate to reach a settlement agreement. If an agreement isn't reached, both spouses participate in an Early Settlement Panel to discuss their divorce issues and receive recommendations for how to resolve them.
- The case proceeds to economic mediation if participation in the Early Settlement Panel failed to result in an agreement.
- If the plaintiff and defendant couldn't reach a settlement agreement during economic mediation, the next step is for them to attend an intensive settlement conference at the courthouse.
- If both parties are still unable to reach an agreement, the case proceeds to trial.
We Can Handle All Aspects of Your New Jersey Divorce
Don't leave your “happily even after” to chance. Let Carl Taylor Law, LLC’s compassionate and accomplished attorneys protect your rights and interests throughout the divorce process. We know this may be a difficult time and we're here to help. Have questions? Contact our Flemington, NJ Divorce Attorneys today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation.