Filing For Divorce In New Jersey
Divorce is called “Dissolution” in New Jersey. The process for getting a divorce is the same as dissolving a civil union or a domestic partnership. Either partner in a marriage, civil union or domestic partnership can file for divorce in New Jersey as long as at least one member of the couple lives in the state.
The legal process of getting a divorce in New Jersey is started by filing a Complaint for Divorce with the County Clerk of the State Court where you or your spouse resides in New Jersey
In addition to the Complaint for Divorce, you will need to include the following forms when you file for divorce or dissolution of a civil union or domestic partnership:
- Confidential Litigant Information Sheet
- Certification of Self-Represented Litigant and Dispute Resolution Alternatives
- Certification Regarding Redaction of Personal Identifiers
- Certification Verification and Non-collusion
- Certification of Insurance Coverage
Whether you and your spouse agree on most of the terms of your divorce or not, you must follow these steps concerning your divorce complaint:
Provide Basic Information About You and Your Spouse
You will need to provide basic information about you and your spouse, including your:
• Legal names
• Current addresses
• Date and place of marriage
• New Jersey residency status
Grounds for Divorce
Your divorce complaint must also state the grounds, or legal reason, for divorce. Your grounds can be either no-fault or fault-based.
Most people in New Jersey get a divorce based on irreconcilable differences. To file on this ground, you must show that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, your marriage should end based on these differences, and you acknowledge that there is no chance for reconciliation.
The other no-fault ground in New Jersey is separation, which requires that you and your spouse have been physically separated for at least 18 consecutive months.
You can also file for fault-based grounds, such as adultery or extreme cruelty, but you will have to be able to prove these grounds to the court before you can ask for a divorce.
Ask the Court for What You Want
Your divorce complaint should also request what you want. Along with asking the court to grant you a divorce, you might also ask the court to:
- Divide your property – You and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding the property of your assets and debts, or you can ask the court to fairly divide the property between you. The property may have to be valued and then the judge can determine what share of property to give to you and your spouse, based on a number of factors. If an asset cannot be divided, the court may order that it be sold and the proceeds be split between you and your spouse.
- Make a child custody decision – You and your spouse may agree on custody, or you might ask the court to decide. The court will do what it finds to be in the best interest of the child. It determines this by considering various factors, such as any history of domestic violence, the current arrangements, the child’s relationship with parents and siblings, and more.
- Order child support – Child support may be awarded to ensure the child’s financial needs are met.
- Order spousal support – You and your spouse might agree on the issue of spousal support. If you don’t, you can ask the court to make the decision. It will consider factors like the length of your marriage, the standard of living established during your marriage, and your and your spouse’s earning capacity.
Steps in the New Jersey Divorce Process
The steps involved in getting a divorce in New Jersey depend on your circumstances. If you and your spouse agree on most of the terms of your divorce, you may be able to bypass a lot of these steps.
However, if you do not agree, the process may involve these steps:
1. You Serve the Divorce Complaint
Once you file the divorce complaint, you are responsible for legally serving the complaint and Summons on your spouse.
This can be achieved in a few different ways, depending on the circumstance, such as:
- Having your spouse sign a form acknowledging receipt of it
- Service through a private process server
- Service by law enforcement
- Service by certified mail
- Service by publication (in limited circumstances where you cannot locate your spouse and with court approval)
Once service is effectuated, Proof of Service must be filed with the Court by the Plaintiff.
2. Your Spouse Files an Answer
Your spouse has 35 days to file an answer or an appearance from the date they are served with the divorce complaint. They can also file a counterclaim stating their own grounds for divorce and request for relief. If a counterclaim is filed, you will file an Answer to the counterclaim.
3. Both Spouses File a Case Information Sheet
The case information sheet provides vital financial information about each party that the court will use to help make decisions about property division and support issues.
4. Case Management Conference
6. Parent Education Program
7. Requests for Relief Before the Divorce is Final: Pendente Lite Motions
8. The Spouses Try to Resolve Their Issues
New Jersey courts give spouses multiple opportunities to resolve their legal issues and avoid trial, including, but not limited to:
- Early settlement panel
- Economic mediation
- Intensive settlement conference
The spouses are encouraged to reach a settlement agreement together, with or without the assistance of their attorneys. If they reach a settlement agreement, they can present it to the court for approval.
9. The Spouses Go to Trial
If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, they take their case to trial. The judge hears testimony and reviews the presented evidence to make decisions in the case.
Send Us A Message
Submit the form below to let us know how we can help.
We help New Jersey families with all aspects of family law, including, but not limited to:
- Divorce Litigation
- Child Support
- Civil Unions and
- Domestic Partnerships
- DYFS Matters
- Mediation (Qualified NJ Supreme Court)
- Child Custody Actions
- Domestic Violence
- Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements
Pontoriero Family Law, LLC
2597 Hooper Avenue
Brick, NJ 08723