When you’re considering divorce, the legal process can seem overwhelming. You may not even know where to begin or what your options are. If your spouse is seeking a divorce, or you are considering one yourself, it’s important that you enlist the help of a practiced Ocean County divorce lawyers who can represent you throughout the process.
There are many issues a couple must resolve before a judge will make a divorce decree. Our divorce lawyer in Ocean County can help you with them all. From child custody and support deliberations to the equitable distribution of property, we are well-versed in solving these legal matters. In addition, we can advocate for our clients with the following family law matters:
Contact New Jersey Family Law Group at (732) 240-9555 to schedule your consultation with our divorce lawyers in Ocean County.
Our Office Locations
We serve clients throughout Ocean, Monmouth & Burlington counties and have two convenient New Jersey offices located in:
NJ Divorce Laws
In order to file for divorce in New Jersey, at least one spouse must be a state resident and you must file specifically in the county where the actions that lead to the divorce occurred.
Grounds for Divorce
You can file for divorce based on fault or no-fault, as both are valid. For a no-fault divorce, the only requirements are that you and your spouse have not been been a couple and have been living separately for at least 18 months consecutively. Your case must show to the courts that there is no chance for the two of you to reconcile.
For a fault-based divorce, you must provide a valid grounds for the marriage’s breakdown. Some of these might include the following:
- sexual deviance;
- substance abuse;
- marital abandonment;
- extreme mental or physical cruelty; or
- irreconcilable differences.
Fault is not typically considered when deciding on how to appropriately divide property. It can, however, be used in deciding alimony—determining what would be considered reasonable and what would not be. A spouse who has had an affair, as an example, may be awarded a low amount of spousal support. On the other hand, the spouse who suffered due to adultery may be given a higher amount.
When it comes to child custody, adultery cannot usually act as a deciding factor. It is only in rare situations that it can be a determinant. An example of this would be if the cheating spouse was involved with a sex offender and the child would ultimately be in the proximity of him or her. Due to the dangers of that situation, a judge may order that the custody arrangements be modified.
Like custody, affairs generally don’t play a significant role in asset division. However, if the affair hurt the couple’s finances (ex: going on expensive trips), then the victim in the marriage may be rewarded property that is equivalent to the money spent.
How to File for Divorce in NJ
When filing for divorce, you will need to include a:
- “Filing Letter to the Court—Complaint Form,” which states that you are filing for divorce and have enclosed the filing fee or that you want a waiver for the fee;
- “Certification of Insurance,” which should list all insurance coverage (life, auto, health and homeowners);
- “Certification of Notification of Complementary Dispute Resolution,” which states that you are aware that mediation is an option;
- Family Part Case Information Statement,” which is filed if there are issues regarding custody, support, alimony, or the division of debt/assets. This form also requires you to list your income, assets and debts.
- “Confidential Litigant Information Sheet”
You will need to make at least three copies of all divorce paperwork, since the court requires that you provide one original for filing and two copies. You should also provide the court with a self-addressed stamped envelope so the court can give you a copy of what you filed. The copy will be marked “filed.”
Once you receive a copy of the filed complaint, you will need to fill out the summons and the attached proof of service and prepare to serve your spouse. Under NJ law, the defendant needs to be personally served a copy of the divorce paperwork via hand delivery. The defendant will then have 35 days to respond.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in New Jersey?
The length of your divorce will largely depend on whether the case is contested or uncontested. Contested divorces occur when spouses cannot agree on the terms, resulting in conflict over issues such as child custody and property division. Uncontested divorces are filed when both spouses agree to those terms, resulting in easier negotiation. Uncontested divorce is a more popular option as it can save both time and money. However, regardless of the type of divorce, the state of New Jersey requires that the courts disallow the process to exceed 12 months. When you turn to an Ocean County divorce lawyer from New Jersey Family Law Group, you’ll receive the attentive, personalized legal guidance you deserve.
We offer support before, during, and after your divorce, working tirelessly to find a solution that’s right for you and your family. Additionally, if you are facing a high-net-worth divorce, our Ocean County divorce attorneys are prepared to help you fight and keep your assets.
Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First in NJ?
If you are pondering the thought of divorce in New Jersey, you may have asked yourself if filing first will yield certain advantages. While filing as the petitioner won’t have a direct impact on your case, it can produce indirect benefits that lean in your favor.
One of the biggest reasons to file for divorce in NJ first is that it can save you money. If your divorce is contested, your case may last a couple years which can result in higher fees. The petitioner has the advantage of planning ahead and allocating expenses more strategically. In addition, the petitioner can place an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO) on their spouse which acts as a hold on joint bank accounts.
Most divorces are decided by the court within the jurisdiction of the county you filed in. In other words, if your estranged spouse is living in a new state, and you filed within your local court, the hearing will take place in your county. This can bring legal advantages that you will want to discuss with our divorce attorneys in Ocean County.
By filing first, you limit the chances your spouse will be able to hide assets. Our Ocean County divorce lawyers can help you identify what marital assets exist and how to protect what is rightfully yours.
While we encourage clients to explore divorce mediation initially, sometimes a marriage is beyond repair. That is where we come in. Contact us today so that we can help you take advantage of filing first.
Obtaining Favorable Outcomes in Complex Cases
With backgrounds in both divorce litigation and family law mediation, our Ocean County divorce attorney is ready to help you find the solution that works for your unique situation. We understand that every family is different, which is why we take the time to understand every detail of your circumstances. Serving clients throughout Ocean, Monmouth & Burlington Counties.