In the state of New Jersey, if one spouse files a complaint for divorce, the court can grant the divorce even if the other spouse does answer the complaint or appear in court. This is known as a “default” judgment of divorce. What does the process entail and what does it mean for the plaintiff? If your spouse has not responded to your divorce complaint, please read on, then contact an experienced Ocean County contested divorce attorney to learn what you should know about default divorce in New Jersey.
What does the default divorce process entail in New Jersey?
When the plaintiff serves the defendant with divorce papers, the defendant has 35 days to reply. If he or she has not responded within those 35 days, the plaintiff can ask the court for a default divorce within 60 days. Since members of the United States military are protected from default divorces, the plaintiff will have to verify that the defendant is not a servicemember.
What takes place during a default divorce in New Jersey?
That will vary based on the circumstances of your case and which of New Jersey’s 21 counties you live in. However, you may or may not have to go to court, even if the defendant fails to respond. If you and your spouse did not previously work out an agreement and only one of you filed to save the other time and money, then you will likely have to attend a default hearing. A judge will render decisions on the following at a default hearing:
- The equitable distribution of marital property, including both assets and debts
- Alimony or spousal maintenance
- Child custody
- Child support
- Any other relief requested by the plaintiff
Of course, before rendering judgment, a court will provide the defendant with more than ample opportunity to make his or her voice heard. Even if the plaintiff and defendant have not previously worked out an agreement and the defendant ignored earlier court hearings, if he or she appears at the default hearing, he or she will have a chance to speak and provide a reasonable explanation for his or her conduct. The judge may prolong the process to grant the defendant more time.
Those who believe that the defendant has had more than enough time and opportunity to voice his or her concerns should reach out to a skilled Ocean County divorce attorney to discuss their next steps.
What can an Ocean County family law attorney do for you?
A seasoned family law attorney will help you collate and present the evidence needed to move your divorce along to a swifter conclusion by helping the court see through the defendant’s excuses. This process has dragged on long enough and it is time everyone got on their lives. Our firm will help see to that, so please give us a call today.
Contact our experienced Ocean County firm
Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. Not only is your financial well-being at stake, but in a divorce, both you and your children’s emotional well-being are at risk as well. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.