While a divorce is technically a dissolution of a contract, to our clients, it is a life-changing event that is rarely ever contemplated at the time of marriage.
Divorce can be a very emotional, stressful, and uncertain process.
While a client may not be happy in their marriage, the unknown is often more terrifying than staying in an unhappy relationship.
Deciding to end a marriage is not an easy decision and is constantly surrounded by many questions and “what ifs.”
That is why choosing an attorney in East Brunswick, NJ, who can effectively answer questions and is willing to explain the divorce process is essential patiently.
Use our online form to request your free & confidential consultation!
At Rozin | Golinder Law, East Brunswick divorce lawyers treat our clients like family because we know they need moral support and zealous advocates standing behind them during this challenge.
We do our very best to remove our clients from the emotional aspect of the divorce to provide them with a stable environment and move them toward a more favorable resolution.
Our NJ/NY attorneys will:
- Tailor a legal approach to your unique case
- Offer the insight and skill of nationally-recognized legal counsel
- Negotiate a swift and fair resolution or aggressively litigate your divorce
- Provide the one-on-one legal support you deserve to secure your future
We will always be honest with you, explain matters upfront, and never make promises that cannot be kept.
You can also count on working directly with your attorney at every single step of the process.
Our legal team in East Brunswick exclusively practices family and divorce law and has negotiated, settled, and litigated countless divorces in NJ and NY.
Our law firm is active in the legal community, has litigated cases in front of Judges throughout the state, and we pride ourselves on our reputation among our peers.
You should always feel at ease with your attorney.
Our East Brunswick lawyers are real people and understand what is at stake during a divorce.
That is why we never hand off our clients to a paralegal or an associate.
We handle your case from start to finish.
When you need trusted legal representation during this challenging time, you can depend on Rozin | Golinder Law.
Rozin | Golinder Law is here to help you resolve issues in your divorce involving:
- Business Divisions
- Child Custody
- Child Relocation
- Child Support
- Division of Assets & Debts
- Domestic Violence
Whatever challenges your divorce may bring, we are ready with practical advice and advocacy.
As we handle family law and divorce cases exclusively, we provide exceptional insight and focus to help you successfully move forward with your life.
While 99% of divorce cases in NJ settle before trial, everyone should know what to expect during the NJ divorce process.
Call (732) 810-0034or use our online form to request your free & confidential consultation!
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Steps You Can Expect when Navigating Your Divorce in NJ
1. Complaint for Divorce
So you have decided that you want to file for divorce. Now what? You must now file a Complaint for Divorce, a document that lets the Court know that you exist and want a divorce. NJ is a no-fault state, which party files for divorce first makes no difference.
The Complaint for Divorce contains basic information that will give the Court an idea of what you are looking for, including:
- The names of the parties
- The date of the marriage
- Where the parties live
- How long the parties have lived in New Jersey
- The names and ages of any children born during the marriage
- The grounds for the divorce (“irreconcilable differences”)
- Requests certain relief from the Court (child support, alimony, and attorney fees)
Often, individuals still determine what type of relief they should seek or what they ultimately want.
My advice is to include everything you want because if it is not requested in the initial Complaint, it cannot be requested later.
Once the Complaint is prepared, the client signs off on it and it is sent to the Court for filing. The Court then stamps the Complaint “filed” with the date it was received and assigns what is called a docket number.
This number identifies your case and will be on every document that is submitted to the Court in relation to your matter.
Once the Complaint is filed and we received the filed copy from the Court, the other party is ready to be served.
In New Jersey, personal service is required.
If the other party already has an attorney then the attorney can be served instead of the party directly.
Once the Complaint is served, the other party has 35 days to file an Answer and Counterclaim.
If they do not file an Answer and Counterclaim, you may file for “default” which means that you served the other party, they ignored it, and now you are asking the Judge to enter the relief requested in the Complaint.
More often than not, an Answer and Counterclaim are filed and the process moves on.
2. Answer and Counterclaim
An Answer and most of the time a Counterclaim is filed by the other party in response to the Complaint for Divorce.
The Answer either admits or denies the allegations that are made in the Complaint for Divorce. Often times the other spouse files a Counterclaim for Divorce with their Answer.
This is similar in nature to the original Complaint for Divorce filed wherein your spouse also requests relief from the Court.
In addition, if you decide that you do not want to go through with the divorce and you withdraw your Complaint for Divorce, the litigation will continue if your spouse filed a Counterclaim.
The Answer and Counterclaim lets the Court know that your spouse has received the Complaint and that he or she is engaged in the process.
3. Answer to Counterclaim
Just as your spouse responded to your Complaint for Divorce, you will need to respond to the Counterclaim for Divorce.
Your Answer to Counterclaim will admit or deny the allegations made in your spouse’s Counterclaim and will preserve your rights.
4. Parent’s Education Program (if children are named)
Once a Complaint and Answer are filed with the Court, parties with children will automatically receive notice from the Court that they have been scheduled for the Parent’s Education Program.
This program provides information to the parties and encourages cooperation between the parents, giving them an understanding of the impact of divorce on children.
5. Case Management Conference / Case Management Order
Once a Complaint and Answer have been filed, the Court will also schedule an initial meeting with the Judge.
This is called a Case Management Conference.
The main purpose of this conference is for the Judge to set out a timeline of when certain things must happen in the case.
This is done differently throughout the State.
Some counties require that the clients be present for the Case Management Conference while others allow the attorneys to submit a Consent Case Management Order that the Judge signs.
This alleviates the need to appear in Court for this basic initial step.
The Order will set out what issues there are between the parties, a time by which the Case Information Statement needs to be filed, as well as when Discovery and any appraisals need to be completed.
This is a Court Order so the due dates prescribed by the Order are to be taken seriously.
6. Case Information Statement
Both parties in a divorce action are required to submit a Case Information Statement (CIS) with the Court.
This allows the Court and the other side an opportunity to review the finances of the parties.
The CIS includes information regarding a party’s job, salary, insurance, monthly finances, assets, bank accounts, credit cards and outstanding debts.
It is important that this document be prepared carefully and accurately as the Court will rely on it to determine the finances of each party.
Attached to the CIS must be a party’s last three pay stubs, most recent W-2, and tax return.
The term “discovery” refers to the ability of both parties to get information from the other side.
During this stage of your proceedings, both sides try to collect all the information necessary for settlement discussions and/or trial.
The most common form of discovery during a Divorce is what is called a “Notice to Produce Documents” and “Interrogatories”.
The Notice to Produce Documents requests a party to supply certain documentation to the other side most often bank account statements, credit card statements, and things of that nature.
Interrogatories are the chance for the other side to ask certain questions of the other party.
Both parties are required to answer discovery demands and to provide the documentation requested within reason.
A complete picture of the assets and income of both spouses is critical and necessary to discuss settlement in your matter.
Very often, parties own various assets such as real estate, art collections, or an antique car for example.
In order to determine what these assets are worth, they must be appraised, especially if one party is seeking to buy out the other’s interest in the asset.
Unless an appraisal is done, the Court has no way to ascertain what the asset is actually worth.
This is an important component when negotiating a financial settlement.
If after discovery and appraisals have been completed, more information or clarification of the information provided is needed, depositions may be scheduled.
A deposition is the testimony of a party or witness under oath. Often a deposition is taken in an attorney’s office.
At this time, your lawyer will be with you along with your spouse and his/her attorney.
A court reporter will administer the oath and record the questions and answers.
A judge will not be present but may read or hear your answers later. During your deposition, the opposing attorney will ask the questions.
Depositions are taken for at least three reasons:
- To find out what facts you / your spouse have in your actual knowledge and possession regarding the issues in the case. In other words, to determine what your story is now, not what it is going to be at trial.
- To pin you / your spouse down to a specific story so that you will have to tell the same story at trial.
- To catch you / your spouse in a lie to show at trial that you are not a truthful person and therefore, that your testimony should not be believed particularly on crucial points.
If your deposition is scheduled, it should be taken very seriously as it can be used against you in Court at a later date.
10. Early Settlement Panel
The Court favors settlement during a Divorce and attempts to help parties settle if at all possible. If after discovery and depositions your matter is not settled, the Court will order you to attend Early Settlement Panel.
During the Early Settlement Panel the parties and their attorneys will meet with two – three experienced volunteer attorneys that will hear the positions of both parties and give their recommendations as to how the matter should settle.
This process is extremely valuable because it gives the parties the opportunity to hear the opinions of several experienced matrimonial attorneys who do not have an interest in the case but who have been practicing long enough to know how a Judge may view certain issues.
If you are unable to come to a resolution of the matter after Early Settlement Panel, the Court will give you one more chance to settle the case before Trial.
11. Economic Mediation
If there is no settlement after Early Settlement Panel, the parties are ordered to attend economic mediation with a neutral Court appointed mediator.
Mediation is often successful in having the parties reach agreements on various issues as the mediator goes back and forth between the parties in an attempt to reach a compromise and balance between both parties’ positions.
Mediation is much less costly than trial and the mediator will be an experienced attorney who has dealt with the issues presented to them many times.
If mediation is successful, one of the parties will prepare a Settlement Agreement based upon the agreed upon terms and the parties will attend one final Court appearance to finalize the Divorce. If Mediation is unsuccessful then the matter will be scheduled for trial.
It is very rare that a divorce matter will go to trial.
In fact only about 1% of cases go to trial. It is always more cost effective to settle before trial because the cost of preparing for trial and trial itself are extremely high.
An attorney is required to prepare a legal brief before trial and to submit all exhibits to be used. In addition, testimony questions must be prepared and several meetings will probably occur to prepare for the trial. At trial the parties and other witnesses, if necessary, will testify and evidence will be introduced for the Judge to review.
At the conclusion of the trial the Judge will determine how all of the remaining issues will be resolved and the parties will have to live with the Judge’s decision. I always recommend that the parties attempt to work together to settle their matter as they know their circumstances much better than a Judge.
If you are ready to discuss your divorce with an attorney who cares, contact us today.
Our NJ divorce attorneys serves clients throughout Middlesex, Monmouth, Union, and Somerset Counties.