Sometimes, spouses have irreconcilable differences and can no longer stay in a marriage. The process of divorce can be a complicated and lengthy procedure based on how contested the separation may be. Divorce can be a quick procedure or a long, emotionally painful event. In New Jersey, courts have mandated that divorce proceedings should not take longer than 12 months from the Complaint of Divorce. Of course, there are exceptions. One must consider many factors when going through the process of divorce, including, but not limited to the grounds for divorce, property distribution, spousal support, child custody, and child support.
First and foremost, one must consider the filing requirements for a divorce in New Jersey. Residency requirements are the first factor to consider when applying for a divorce in New Jersey. Courts must have jurisdiction over the case before they can proceed. To be considered in the court’s jurisdiction, either party must have been a bona fide resident for at least a year before filing for divorce.
Once jurisdiction and residency are established, grounds for filing is the next consideration when filing for divorce. Even though New Jersey allows for “no-fault” divorces, grounds must be stated by one of the spouses. If the plaintiff wants a divorce, they will get one. New Jersey courts will require the plaintiff to state grounds.
Some no-fault grounds for filing include:
- irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months
- Separation for at least 18 consecutive months
Some grounds for filing include but are not limited to:
- Desertion and Separation- the parties have willfully been separated for at least 12 months or the parties have held other residences for 18 months or more, with no prospect of reconciliation.
- Physical or mental cruelty- abuse that endangers the health or safety of the plaintiff and it is not reasonable for them to continue cohabitating.
- Narcotic drug addiction or habituation- one party’s life is negatively impacted by cohabitation with a drug addict or habitual alcoholic for more than 12 months.
Once the plaintiff establishes one or more of these grounds and jurisdiction falls with New Jersey, a Complaint for Divorce can start the proceedings. The Complaint for Divorce will state the grounds on which the plaintiff is filing divorce. It will also state the plaintiff’s request for any support or relief. This is when many documents will be required to continue, including, but not limited to: Cover Letter to Clerk, Case Information Sheet, Summons, Appearances, Financial Statement for Summary Support Actions, and Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. The divorce will be finalized by a document called Judgment of Divorce. This document will include all orders from the judge, including property distribution, spousal support, child custody, and child support.
Sometimes, a divorcing couple will be able to resolve the issue outside of the court through mediation. Mediation helps keep court costs down by avoiding a trial and both parties are more likely to agree on a less emotional outcome. It is important to note that, even though you want a quick and easy divorce, acquiring the right representation protects both parties.
Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C. to discuss your divorce case.