New Jersey Divorce
The process of getting a divorce can be confusing. And it may be further complicated if you and your spouse have young children, own property, have substantial assets or debts, or can't agree on fundamental issues such as child custody, division of property or whether one person should receive alimony. Even in the simplest divorces, you should familiarize yourself with New Jersey divorce laws before getting started. And if you think your divorce may be complicated, you should hire a New Jersey divorce attorney to guide you through the process.
New Jersey Divorce Basics
Residency requirement: You must have been a New Jersey resident for at least a year before filing for divorce.
Filing requirements: To begin the divorce proceedings, you or your New Jersey divorce attorneys will file a Divorce Complaint with the appropriate court. In your complaint, you'll also have the opportunity to ask for alimony. If you have minor children, your complaint should also ask the court to make a child custody, visitation and child support order.
Fault or no-fault divorce: New Jersey allows you to file for a no-fault divorce, meaning neither party is to blame for the end of the marriage, or a fault-based divorce, meaning one party is responsible for the marriage's demise. Acceptable reasons for a fault-based divorce include desertion, extreme cruelty, adultery, drug or alcohol addiction and incarceration.
Waiting period: In certain circumstances, couples must have lived apart for a specific time period before a New Jersey divorce is granted. For example, if you're filing for divorce on the grounds of desertion, your spouse must have deserted you against your will for at least 12 months before you file for divorce. Your New Jersey divorce lawyer can explain the waiting period requirements for other types of divorce in more detail.
Do You Need to Hire a New Jersey Divorce Attorney?
Legally, you're not required to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce, but there are a number of reasons to consider doing so. According to the New Jersey courts:
"You are strongly advised to have an attorney represent you. This is particularly true if you must make decisions as to property, custody, visitation and support. You do not have to have an attorney if you choose not to, however, it is then your responsibility to prepare the necessary papers. Court staff will file your prepared documents but they are not allowed to prepare them for you or instruct you in how they should be prepared."
Divorce is a complex legal proceeding, and when you hire a New Jersey divorce lawyer, you're hiring a professional who has detailed knowledge of the divorce laws and significant experience with the divorce process. That expertise works to your advantage because it helps ensure that the appropriate paperwork is filed, deadlines are met and you receive a fair divorce settlement.
Find & Hire a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
If you haven't already hired a New Jersey divorce lawyer, then Attorneys.com has a free service that can quickly connect you with a lawyer in your area. Call us at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page to get started. We'll ask you a few simple questions, then match you to a New Jersey family law attorney in your area.