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Do I have to be separated from my spouse for a certain period of time to file for a divorce in New Jersey?

No. New Jersey in 2007 enacted a no-fault divorce statute. Under said statue you do not need cause or to be separated to file for a divorce in New Jersey.

What is a New Jersey no-fault divorce is based on?

New Jersey no-fault divorce is based on irreconcilable differences. The requirements for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences are as follows:

-Irreconcilable differences existed for at least six months (you do not have to be separated for six months) which caused a breakdown of the marriage.

-No reasonable chance of reconciliation exists and it appears the marriage should be dissolved.divorce

How is a New Jersey divorce started?

A spouse files a complaint in New Jersey Superior Court for . The filing spouse is called the plaintiff. The plaintiff then has the complaint with a summons served upon the other spouse who is called the defendant. The defendant has 35 days to file an Answer, Answer with Counterclaim or Notice of Appearance.

What happens if I do not answer the NJ divorce complaint after service?

The plaintiff then can file to put you in default. Once you are in default your participation in the divorce process is very limited. Your spouse might get everything they want and your rights might not be protected.

How long do I have to live in New Jersey before I can file for divorce?

Either spouse must be a bona fide resident of New Jersey for one year prior to filing for an action for divorce. An exception to the one year residency requirement is when an act of adultery has been committed. Then one can file right after the act of adultery was committed.

What is a Case Information Statement?

It is a nine page statement which states your income, assets, liabilities, and monthly expenses. A Case Information Statement is one of the most important documents in a divorce proceeding. The statement is used by judges, attorneys and mediators to determine child support, alimony and the division of assets and liabilities. All parties are required to file the same.

 What is a Case Management Conference and Discovery in a New Jersey Divorce?

A Case Management Conference is a scheduling hearing where the Judge will establish a discovery schedule. Discovery is when the parties exchange information required to settle the divorce.  Discovery can include interrogatories (questions) notice to produce (requests for documents), depositions (sworn testimony of parties and witnesses) appraisals of property, custody evaluations and retention of experts. Also, if custody and visitation are issues the Judge will set a date for the parties to attend custody and parenting time mediation.

What is an Early Settlement Panel in a NJ Divorce?

It is a panel made up of two- to -three experienced matrimonial attorneys who donate their time to hear unsettled cases. The panel issues a nonbinding suggestion of how to settle the case after the parties submit their proposals in regard to settlement. The panel only hears financial issues.  The panel does not hear custody and parenting time issues.

What is a motion for Pendente Lite Relief in a New Jersey Divorce?

It is a motion filed by a party requesting a court to issue a temporary Order in regard to support, custody/parenting time, and other issues. One of the purposes of Pendente Lite Motions is to enable a party and children to maintain the status quo during the divorce litigation that can take over a year to resolve if the parties do not settle earlier. Pendente Lite Orders end when the final divorce is granted.

Do I have to appear in court to receive a NJ divorce or can I just send in the papers.

The parties must appear in front of a Judge to be granted a divorce in New Jersey. However, if all of the issues have been settled and incorporated in a Property Settlement or Martial Settlement Agreement than the amount of time you are in front of the Judge is a few minutes.

If you have any questions regarding a divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation


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Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney.

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