Bergen County Divorce Process

Obtaining a divorce can be a long and complex legal process. As much as a person may wish to immediately end their relationship, the law says that both parties have rights and obligations. It is necessary to deal with those rights and obligations while laying out a plan for the future in every divorce.

Of course, if the two divorcing parties are able to come to a settlement concerning their rights, the process will go much quicker. However, it is wise for all people to consider what may happen if the case goes all the way to a trial. When going through the Bergen County divorce process, it may be necessary to work with an experienced family attorney.

Filing for a Divorce

While one or both members of a marriage may consider the possibility of divorce for months or even years, the case does not truly begin until one party files a complaint in a Bergen County family court. According to New Jersey Revised Statute §2A:34-10, at least one person must have been a resident of the State for at least one year prior to filing for divorce in most situations. The filing party will also need to cite a specific grounds for divorce, the most common of which is irreconcilable differences.

Pre-Trial Hearings and Negotiations in Bergen County

Once the court receives a copy of the complaint for divorce, the acting party must serve this complaint on their spouse. That spouse will then have the opportunity to file an official answer with the court and request specific relief.

At the same time, parties should be acting to measure their assets, list their goals, and work to discover evidence that can have a profound impact on the case. In the meantime, sessions will occur in court to answer questions concerning evidence, to give the parties a chance to exchange information, and to work out a potential settlement. Courts have the power to require parties to participate in mandatory mediation sessions in an attempt to keep the case from progressing to a final trial. In fact, the court’s main goal is to avoid trials at all costs. However, if a trial is necessary, the Bergen County divorce process will move to this final stage.

Taking a Divorce to Trial

Family courts in Bergen County have the power to hold trials to determine the final outcome of divorce cases. This only occurs when the two parties are unable to come to a settlement concerning any part of their cases. In fact, it is not uncommon for a trial to take place to answer questions concerning only limited portions of a divorce.

The parties may be able to agree on a child custody plan that has the approval of the court, but still be at an impasse concerning the distribution of marital property. Here, the court could consider documentary evidence, take testimony from witnesses, and issue a final, binding ruling on all topics still in dispute.

Bergen County’s Divorce Process Follows a Strict Timeline

If you are looking to obtain a divorce in Bergen County, or need to respond after your spouse has filed a complaint in court, it is necessary to understand the State’s procedures. Every divorce starts with one party filing a complaint that specifies a specific reason for wanting a divorce. This is key to setting the stage to handle contentious topics during the case and to meet the State’s jurisdictional court rules.

Finalizing a divorce takes multiple trips to court. If the case appears that it will be contested, the parties must attend pre-trial sessions, court-ordered mediation, and meet in private to discuss possible settlements. It is only when all this fails that the court will hold a final trial to create a divorce decree. Contact an attorney today to learn more about the Bergen County divorce process.

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