Opposing a Divorce: Options in New Jersey
What can Happen if You or Your Spouse Doesn’t Want to Divorce in Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ
When a spouse files for divorce, there are many responses, emotional or practical, that can arise.
If the desire to divorce exists only with one partner, this can open up a difficult path forward, as the other spouse may contest the divorce. While it is often a less-conflict-ridden move to sign the divorce papers and work together with your ex to determine the fairest separation of assets and other terms of the divorce such as child custody, it is your legal right to contest a divorce. Read on to learn about options for contesting a divorce.
Can you fight a divorce?
A divorce can be contested on several grounds. When one spouse files for divorce, if the other is not in full agreement of any number of aspects of the case – which could include the separation of assets such as properties and automobiles, the proposed child custody agreement, proposed alimony, or even the divorce itself – they can contest the divorce.
The other side of this coin is an uncontested divorce. When one spouse files for divorce and expects that their spouse will not contest any element of the divorce, they file for an uncontested divorce with or without the help of a family law team. Unless specific elements of the divorce cannot be resolved, generally there is no need for the separating spouses to appear in court.
Because a contested divorce opens the pathway for more conflict or at least a more extensive need for professional legal support to rectify differences, it is essential to have an experienced family law attorney on your side.
When can you get a default divorce?
A default divorce is a type of uncontested divorce in which the spouse receiving the divorce paperwork of the filing spouse does not submit the required paperwork in response.
When one spouse files for divorce by submitting a Complaint about Divorce, the other spouse must sign paperwork agreeing to it. This paperwork needs to be signed by the receiving spouse to move forward with the divorce proceedings. If the receiving spouse does not sign the agreement within 35 days of receipt, the filing spouse can file for a default divorce.
In a default divorce, the filing spouse completes the return paperwork with proof that the divorce papers were provided to the receiving spouse. In some cases, additional paperwork must be submitted as well. We remember that a default divorce is uncontested; the divorce becomes a contested divorce if the receiving spouse files a Notice of Appearance to disagree with any of the paperwork originally submitted.
Opposing a Divorce
A divorce may be opposed for a number of reasons.
In some cases, a divorce will be contested because each of the parties wishes to attempt to reconcile differences. In this case, the couple moves through a facilitated reconciliation. (Note that ‘mediation’ is not the same thing as reconciliation – the purpose of reconciliation is to move beyond irreconcilable differences to continue in the marriage, while mediation is a facilitated process of an amicable divorce.) If the reconciliation is successful, the filing spouse may reconsider and withdraw the divorce filing.
To oppose terms of the divorce
When the receiving spouse does not agree with the terms of the divorce submitted in the original papers, they can contest the divorce by filing a Notice of Appearance. This Notice of Appearance must be filed with the Superior Court: Family Part within 20 days of having received the divorce papers.
Disagreement to terms could include any element of the divorce case, including asset division, alimony, or even child custody.
To file a counterclaim
One potential possibility in the case that the receiving spouse does not agree with the terms of the divorce is that, in addition to filing a Notice of Appearance, they file a counterclaim with the Superior Court: Family Part. This counterclaim offers amended terms to the divorce that reflect the receiving partner’s required terms to agree to the divorce. Because this type of back-and-forth can lead to conflict that can ultimately end up in litigation, it is essential to have the support of a skilled family law attorney on your side.
Contact our Divorce Attorney for a free consultation at our Brick Office
If you have been served divorce papers and disagree with the divorce or its terms, you must have the support of a legal professional. If you are navigating a messy divorce, we are on your side.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we serve clients in Jackson, Lanoka Harbor, Toms River, and Point Pleasant, as well as many other communities throughout the Ocean and Monmouth County region.
Contact us online or our Brick or Sea Girt, NJ office at (732) 812-3102 to discuss your current situation in a free, personal and confidential consultation. You do not have to worry about having doubts about even how the start the process. It is not only our job, but it is overall our pleasure to provide you with the knowledge and support you need to face these tough times.