You can save time and money with an uncontested divorce or default divorce. We encourage you to ask us about our FLAT FEES FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE. If the parties can come to agreement on the terms of their divorce then an uncontested divorce may be right for you. A default divorce may be the alternative you are looking for where the other spouse is unwilling to participate, unavailable or their whereabouts are unknown. We can help you in those situations as well. We have divorced individuals where their spouses were in India, Asia, Africa, the Phillipines, Canada and elsewhere.
If you have issues that you cannot agree upon, you may have to litigate the issues of a divorce. We always fight for our client's rights, if you have to litigate, we will aggressively fight to protect your rights as a parent and your assets in any equitable distribution of the property of the marriage. We are available nights and weekends so that you know you can count on us when the going gets tough.
Often parties wish to seek mediation to determine the terms of their divorce. We can represent you after you have mediated your issues and file your divorce for you or we can work with you after you mediate . Either way, we will assist you in reducing your costs in proceeding towards a resolution of the issues of a divorce.
If you live outside of New Jersey and your spouse lives in New Jersey and has done so for over a year, jurisdiction for the divorce may be in New Jersey. We can help you go forward in New Jersey with a divorce and can communicate with you via phone, email and fax to get the job done. We have assisted clients living in California, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and elsewhere, including those that are in the military and stationed in another state or overseas.
If you have issues after you have been divorced, we can help you. They may include modification of alimony, child support or payment of college expenses. We have handled all of these post-judgment issues in court and will fight for you to adjudicate your rights in court. Changes in your circumstances or the enforcement of marital settlement agreements may require the filing of motions and plenary hearings to make sure you get your day in court as to these issues.
•You save thousands of dollars in legal fees
•Fast Turnaround (preparing, filing, serving Court documents)
•Toll-free and online support for all of your questions
•Representation in all 21 New Jersey counties (Statewide Representation)
•You can use our services and get a divorce even if your spouse doesn't agree to sign the divorce papers (Default Divorce)
•Free online and telephone consultations
•No office visits required
•All paperwork prepared and filed by our office
•Child support calculations performed as part of divorce at no extra cost
•Custody and property settlement agreements prepared
•Over 20 years of legal experience
•Credit and debit cards accepted
•Installment payment plans available
In this procedure, all necessary forms are served upon the spouse, who may or may not file an Appearance and his or her own Case Information Statement. If he or she does not file an Appearance or his or her own Case Information Statement, the Plaintiff may move for and receive a default judgment 35 days after the Defendant is served. This would be a Default Divorce.
A divorce case can have no issues to resolve (no assets to divide, no children, no alimony) or on the other extreme the case can involve 10 or more major issues to resolve (assets to divide - house, cars, bank accounts, retirement savings, child custody, child support, relocation of children, alimony, division of debt, etc.).
If you have no issues to resolve, and you want nothing from your spouse except a divorce, and your spouse wants nothing from you, except a divorce, then our office can prepare and file the necessary court paperwork to get your divorce finalized in months at a flat fee. If you and your spouse have some issues to resolve, our office can represent you in resolving those issues, and draft a " property settlement agreement" which resolves all of the issues in your divorce. Once that document is signed, our office can prepare and file the necessary paperwork to put through an uncontested divorce.
Even if your spouse does not want to discuss your case with you, you can still get a divorce, if you serve them the papers, and they do not respond.We can serve them a Notice of Proposed Judgment of Divorce.
Any of the following grounds may be used for divorce in New Jersey:
•No-fault: irreconcilable differences for at least six months or separation for 18 consecutive months (must be living in separate residences);
•Institutionalization for mental illness for at least 24 consecutive months;
•Deviant sexual conduct;
•Imprisonment for at least 18 months;
•Adultery (no time limit)
•Willful and continued desertion for at least 12 months;
•Habitual drunkenness or voluntary addiction;
•Extreme cruelty, either bodily or mental.
In an uncontested divorce or no-fault divorce frequently the grounds that will be used are irreconcilable differences. If there are irreconcilable differences for a period of at least six months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation then this no-fault ground may be used for an uncontested divorce.
In New Jersey, No-Fault grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences for at least six months or living separate and apart for 18 months with "no reasonable prospect of reconciliation." Fault grounds are 1) adultery, 2) willful and continued desertion for one year, 3) extreme cruelty, 4) deviant sexual conduct, 5) addiction, 6) institutionalization, and 7) imprisonment for 18 or more consecutive months.
Separation means living separate and apart and having separate lives. Usually, this means living in separate places, not merely in different rooms in the same house. As a rule, the 18-month period begins when the couple agree it begins, but one spouse may contest that date and thus delay the divorce.
If you want an uncontested divorce in New Jersey, you must meet specific requirements according to New Jersey divorce law. One of the spouses must be a resident of New Jersey for at least a year unless you are pleading adultery. You must meet one of the nine necessary grounds to file for divorce. Once grounds for divorce have been determined, you and your spouse must divide all assets and debts. If children are involved, you must determine child custody and support. New Jersey does not require the use of a lawyer to file for divorce, but the necessary paperwork must be filed at one of the parties' local Superior Court.
To file for divorce in New Jersey, 1) a person must be a resident of the state for at least one year, or 2) when the ground is adultery that took place in New Jersey, one of the spouses must be a resident (there is no time limit).
The spouse filing the action is called the Plaintiff; the spouse responding is called the Defendant. Divorce actions are filed in the Chancery Division, Family Part, of the Superior Court, which is the county court.
Unlike some states, New Jersey does not have a summary divorce. However, the simplest divorce action has five steps, which the Plaintiff does the following:
•Files a Verified Complaint for Divorce, which identifies the parties in the action and stipulates the action: divorce.
•Serves the Defendant, which means delivering a copy of the Verified Complaint with a Summons that gives the Defendant 35 days to file an Answer. The Summons is normally served by a sheriff's officer in the county in which the Defendant resides.
•Negotiates with the Defendant or his or her attorney about the division of the marital estate, spousal and child support. In New Jersey, the parties may expedite these negotiations with the use of Early Settlement Panels (ESPs).
•Reaches a settlement with the Defendant dividing the assets and liabilities of the marital estate.
•Asks the court to schedule a final hearing, provided the statutory time guidelines are met.
•To file on an uncontested basis, four threshold requirements must be met.
They are as follows:
1.Unless alimony is sought, either or both spouses must have resided in New Jersey for at least the past year.
2.Both spouses agree on custody and child support.
3.Both agree on property division and distribution.
If the parties meet these requirements and if they are not seeking divorce on grounds of separation, a divorce may be completed in a short time.
Going this route requires that these forms be completed:
•A Civil Case Information Statement, which describes the type of case before the court.
•A Verified Complaint for Divorce, which starts the action.
•Certification of Insurance Coverage, which certifies the continuation of medical insurance for the parties, i.e., the Defendant, Plaintiff and children.
•A Case Information Statement, which profiles the assets and liabilities of the parties.
•A Cover letter, which is sent to the Clerk of the Superior Court where the action is filed.
•A filing fee of $300 or $325 if there are unemancipated children. The additional $25 is for a parenting class that is generally mandatory. A filing fee of $175 or $200 if there are unemancipated children is necessary for filing an answer to the complaint.
At some point, the couples must agree on everything at issue, including the division of the marital estate, child custody and visitation, and this is incorporated into the Property Settlement Agreement (PSA). This may be accomplished by the parties themselves, their counsel and/or at the ESPs. At the final hearing, the PSA is incorporated by reference into the Final Judgment of Divorce, which is generally prepared by the Plaintiff.
A contested divorce requires that the Plaintiff file all the forms required in an uncontested action. The trajectory of a contested divorce, however, from filing to final judgment, is impossible to predict because each side jockeys for its own advantage. Normally, the Defendant files an Answer with Counterclaims. Normally, the Defendant has 35 days to answer the Complaint by filing a Counterclaim. The Plaintiff then has 20 days to file a response to the Counterclaim. The divorce may begin contested but end uncontested because even as the parties are maneuvering for battle they sometimes continue to negotiate.
Both spouses must file a Matrimonial Case Information Statement (CIS) within 20 days after the Defendant has answered the complaint. The CIS is each party's statement of contested issues, assets and liabilities, property owned by the spouses, spousal income and important financial issues. It may be updated and amended up to 20 days before the final hearing on the divorce.
After filing the Complaint, the Plaintiff may seek motions to settle, on a temporary basis, such issues as temporary spousal support and child support and custody.
Generally service of a complaint for divorce must be made in person by a process server or through an Acknowledgement of Service, a form that the spouse signs in the presence of a notary acknowledging that they have been served with the Summons and Complaint for Divorce.
When a spouse cannot or will not be found, the Plaintiff must make what is called "diligent inquiries" to locate him or her. If these fail, the Plaintiff may ask the court for permission to use an alternative method of service. This is done in one of two ways: 1) serving the Defendant by what is called "substituted service" on a special agent, which means serving another person who is able to give the Summons and Complaint to the Defendant; or 2) Service by Publication, which mean publishing the divorce complaint in a newspaper.
A Plaintiff may file a Request for Order Permitting Service by Publication, an Order Permitting Service by Publication, and the Supporting Certification of the copies of letters of inquiry. The court then designates a newspaper in which the Plaintiff must publish the notice.
Regardless of the method of service, the Defendant must generally be served within four months of filing the Complaint. If the Defendant is not served within four months, the court may dismiss the action.