No one becomes engaged, picks out fine china, has a wedding, and starts a family because they want to end up getting divorced down the road. People often have the best of intentions and enter into a marriage because they want to make a life-long commitment.
Unfortunately, happily ever after is not always the case. Ending a marriage is one of the most difficult decisions one may have to make in their adult life, and the decision can be a substantial emotional burden. Choosing the right family law attorney can help take this burden off your shoulders. Remember, that while we never promote divorce, we are there for our clients who ultimately determine that a divorce is the best course of action for their future.
Divorce Law in New Jersey
In order for New Jersey to have jurisdiction (where the case is filed) over the divorce, at least one spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 months prior to the filing of the divorce. A divorce lawyer from New Jersey will file a Complaint for Divorce stating the basis for divorce and what that party is seeking. This is the first step in the process and starts the proceeding with the Court. The defendant will then be served with the Complaint and they will have 35 days to file an Answer. The Court will then set the case down for a conference in order to establish a timeline for the case and will instruct the parties of the next steps.
The Superior Court of the county that the case is it will also help the parties resolve any custody or parenting time issues that may arise. Of course, when children are involved the Court will address what is in the children’s best interests prior to making any determinations. Assets and debts will also need to be divided during the divorce process and oftentimes the case may become contentious when the parties have different points of view on who is entitled to what.
New Jersey is a state that believes in justice and equality. Make sure you hire the right attorneys to represent your rights.
Grounds for Divorce
New Jersey has established certain grounds for divorce for those that wish to end their marriage. Keep in mind that while you may have a valid reason for filing a divorce, your attorney will help guide you with regard to what grounds are appropriate for your case.
The state of New Jersey is technically considered a “no-fault” state when filing for divorce. This means that blame does not need to be placed on either party for a divorce to be finalized. When filing for a “no-fault” divorce, the grounds will be “irreconcilable differences” which has become the most popular ground for divorce since becoming an option in 2007.
There is a common misconception that parties need to be separated for a certain period of time prior to filing for divorce. This is not true. In order to file a divorce under irreconcilable difference, the parties simply must have experienced the irreconcilable difference for at least six months prior to filing and these differences must be the cause of the breakdown of the marriage. The reason most people file for divorce under irreconcilable difference is because neither party is required to divulge the details regarding the demise of their relationship which avoids people pointing the finger at one another and in turn can avoid hostility during the process.
While the state of New Jersey is technically considered a “no-fault” state, people do still have an option of filing for divorce under one of the fault-based grounds that existed prior to the enactment of irreconcilable differences.
A fault-based divorce requires that your divorce begins for one of the legally-accepted reasons and requires proof or testimony that the reason is present. The advantage to this is that the conduct of the spouse deemed at fault is considered admissible evidence during proceedings and can influence the judge’s decisions in awards and provisions. It is strongly advised that you retain an attorney if you are considering filing a fault-based divorce in order to ensure your testimony and evidence is all filed properly. Fault-based grounds that are recognized in New Jersey are:
If a spouse has been cheating, we can file divorce on the grounds of adultery. However, you will be required to prove the adultery and name the person your spouse has had the affair with. Keep in mind that just because adultery has taken place, does not mean you will automatically be entitled to more.
If a spouse has left home for at least 12 months, it is possible to file a divorce based on grounds of abandonment.
3. Addiction or habitual drunkenness
Evidence must be shown that the spouse has habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs for at least 12 months or longer.
4. Deviant Sexual Conduct
This includes deviant sexual conduct that is performed voluntarily without the consent of the plaintiff.
5. Extreme Cruelty
Physical abuse and mental cruelty are grounds for divorce if the spouse has been threatening and abusing physically or verbally.
If a spouse was sentenced to jail for 18 months or more after the beginning of a marriage, the plaintiff can file for divorce based on grounds of imprisonment.
In New Jersey, institutionalization is a ground for divorce. The plaintiff must show that the spouse was institutionalized for mental illness for 24 consecutive months after the beginning of marriage before filing.
Family Law Mediation
Divorce mediation tends to avoid the conflict, time, and expense of litigation.
A mediator acts as a guide and assistant throughout the negotiation process and finds ways to ensure that both spouses have all of the information needed to settle the case. A mediator is trained in helping the parties reach a resolution that is best for them and for their children.
Mediation is used when parties believe they can work together in reaching an amicable resolution in their divorce. All outstanding issues in a case can be addressed in mediation and resolved without Court intervention. Rozin | Golinder Law has a skilled and certified mediator at the firm to help those who believe mediation is best for them.
Family Law Litigation
When parties are simply worlds apart, they may need to litigate their differences in Court. If your case needs to be taken to Court make sure you have someone fighting for your rights.
While divorce litigation is considered an expensive form of dispute resolution, there are times when it is the only option. This is especially the case when action needs to be taken quickly. It is important to hire an attorney who feels comfortable in this type of forum and who is ready to stand up for you in front of the Judge.
Family Law Arbitration
Divorce arbitration means hiring a private judge instead of resolving the case in a public courtroom. The arbitrator will make decisions regarding the case and their decisions are often binding, like a Judge in Court.
Because an arbitrator acts as the Judge in a case, it is important to know the background, education, and tendencies of the arbitrator you choose. Further, it is important to have your attorney thoroughly read the arbitration agreement before signing it. This agreement specifically explains the authority of the arbitrator and what happens if you disagree with their decision.
How an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney Can Help
Deciding to get a divorce can leave you feeling overwhelmed and like you have no options. However, with the help of an attorney who specializes in family law, you don’t have to go through the decision-making process alone.
Speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in New Jersey now to understand what rights and options you have. The reputable family law attorneys at Rozin | Golinder Law are ready to represent you and your family.
Rozin | Golinder Law is an investment in your future.
Contact our firm at (732) 810-0034 for compassionate counsel.