What Should I know Before Starting a Divorce Process?
Starting the Divorce Process Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Wanting a divorce and being ready for a divorce are two very different things.
Your marriage is in question and you are facing a real dilemma. You may be the one who is deciding you should stay or go, or you may have been surprised by an announcement by your spouse that the marriage is over. Of course, some couples make a mutual decision to divorce.
One of the most crucial decisions you need to make before filing for divorce is to choose your attorney. You need to know that they are experienced and able to answer all of your questions. You want someone who is intelligent and strategic. You want a lawyer who will negotiate, mediate, and when necessary, argue your position to make sure the result is fair. At Bronzino Law Firm, we have the expertise to help you through this difficult time. Here are some things to consider when choosing your lawyer as you begin divorce.
Most couples who begin a divorce are unprepared and are often not even on the same page when they begin. It is this lack of preparedness that can cause a divorce to deteriorate into a competitive contest. The decision to obtain a divorce is one of the most crucial decisions a person can make with consequences that last for years or a lifetime. Once a couple is prepared and ready, they will sooner be able to begin their divorce by both being on the same page thusly eliminating most of the emotional and financial struggles that cause divorces to become adversarial and ruthless.
What Are the Divorce Requirements in New Jersey?
There are a couple of preliminary requirements you will have to meet before you can get divorced in New Jersey. Keep these in mind before you get started. The most common is that one of the spouses must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year before the first divorce papers are filed with the court, except if the divorce is based on adultery.
Second, you must have a reason or “grounds” (legal cause) for the divorce. Most people will select “irreconcilable differences,” which means that for the last six months you and your spouse have experienced a breakdown in your relationship, and the marriage cannot be saved. This is considered a no-fault divorce because the spouse filing for divorce isn’t accusing the other of anything such as infidelity or abuse. Another no-fault ground for divorce is when the couple has lived apart in different residences for at least 18 consecutive months, and there is no possibility of them reconciling.
A spouse also has the option of basing the divorce on “fault” grounds. These include adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, voluntarily induced narcotic addiction or habitual drunkenness, institutionalization for mental illness, deviant sexual conduct, and imprisonment.
Typically, there isn’t much—if anything—to be gained by filing for divorce on fault-based grounds. And the use of those grounds would likely antagonize the other spouse and prolong the divorce process. To discuss this with an attorney before deciding which route to take.
How long does it take to get a divorce in New Jersey?
The most likely answer is, from the date of the filing of a complaint for divorce, to the time that you get your final judgment of divorce, we are talking a year. Many people panic when they hear that particular time frame because they think that it is just too long. But the short answer is, if you and your spouse are willing to make decisions quickly and concisely, it can take as little as three months. But the reality is that if you do have complex issues that need to be addressed such as business valuations that need to be addressed, alimony, or disagreements about child custody as far as parenting time and visitation and such then certainly that expands the overall lifetime of a particular case, and it could, in fact, exceed a year.
Every family is different, the duration of time required to finalize a divorce settlement will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, there are a few guidelines established by the State of New Jersey that will directly affect the timeline of your divorce.
1. Residency Requirements
In the State of New Jersey, at least one spouse must be a NJ resident for a minimum of one year before filing for divorce. In cases of adultery, the residency requirement is waived if one spouse currently resides in the state.
2. Separation Requirements
New Jersey residents must be voluntarily separated without interruption for 18 months, with no opportunity for reconciliation before filing for a “no-fault” divorce. It is important to highlight that the 18-month separation is rarely used these days. It has largely been replaced by filing on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” which has a much shorter waiting period of six months.“.
3. Crime Convictions
In the State of New Jersey, an individual can file for divorce if his/her spouse was convicted of a crime requiring at least 18 months of served time. The couple must not resume cohabitation following the spouse’s imprisonment.
4. Other Requirements
Some states may require marriage counseling, mediation, or a parent education class on divorce’s effects on children before allowing a couple to file for divorce. The State of New Jersey requires a parent education class, which may be waived if both parties have agreed to a Parenting Plan or settled all issues of the divorce (in writing) before they are scheduled to attend the class.
New Jersey does not require marriage counseling, but it does require mediation. This process usually occurs after filing the Divorce Complaint, but before the early settlement panel (a mandatory court appearance following the discovery stage).
In addition to legal requirements, other factors may affect the time required to finalize a divorce settlement, such as:
- How long it takes to have your spouse served with divorce papers
- The extent to which your case is contested
- The court’s docket backlog
In addition to the above considerations, topics such as child custody, alimony, visitation, child support, and equitable distribution of assets require serious consideration and mediation in order to process your divorce as expeditiously as possible. Our legal team specializes in family law and is ready to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
Wall Township Divorce Lawyer Helps You Understand the Divorce Process and what you should be aware of
At Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys serve clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all family law matters.