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divorce process new jersey

What You Should Know About Starting the Divorce Process in NJ

Divorce is rough, which is why you should have some idea of what it entails. Please read on, then contact an experienced Ocean County contested divorce attorney to learn what you should know about starting the divorce process in NJ.

How do you initiate the divorce process in NJ?

To initiate divorce proceedings in the Garden State, the spouse starting the divorce, i.e. the plaintiff spouse, must have lived in New Jersey for at least twelve consecutive months, unless the responding, or defendant, spouse is alleged to have committed adultery. Next, the plaintiff must file the complaint with the Superior Court. A complaint is a document that includes the following information:

  • The names and addresses of the parties
  • The place and date of the marriage
  • The grounds for divorce

The latter refers to the legally acceptable reason for terminating the marriage. New Jersey allows both “fault” and “no-fault” divorce grounds. If the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of adultery, mental or physical cruelty, desertion or other wrongdoing, he or she is citing fault grounds. If the grounds are the spouses living separate and apart for at least the last eighteen consecutive months or “irreconcilable differences,” no-fault grounds apply.

How does the defendant affect the divorce process in NJ?

Once he or she has been served with the divorce complaint, the respondent party can do any of the following:

  • File an answer
  • File a counterclaim
  • Seek a default judgment

How the defendant responds will affect how the divorce will proceed. By answering, the defendant may contribute to the resolution of the marital issues and enter into a marital settlement agreement. If he or she does not respond within a given period of time or in the manner prescribed by state law, the judge may issue a default divorce settlement, meaning the marital issues are settled without the defendant’s input. Lastly, the defendant may contest the terms of the divorce, including:

  • Child custody
  • Parenting time and visitation
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Distribution of property

Disagreement on any of these issues may lead to a protracted divorce process.

What should you do before filing for divorce?

Whatever route you suspect your spouse will choose, you should strongly consider reaching out to a skilled Ocean County divorce attorney before making a move. Having a qualified legal representative on your side can help cut down on mistakes made in the formative days of the divorce process. Our firm will fight to achieve the most equitable outcome for all parties, 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.