Differences Between Uncontested and Contested Divorce in New Jersey

Individuals who are considering getting a divorce should understand the differences between uncontested and contested divorce in New Jersey. Each type of divorce is pursued differently and a person should speak with a seasoned attorney who is knowledgeable with both. Reach out to a hard-working divorce attorney immediately to get started on your divorce case.

Issues That May Lead to a Contested Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot come up with an agreement. If the divorce is contested, it ultimately goes to a trial. When contesting their divorce, people tend to take issue with:

  • How the finances are going to be distributed
  • How much support they are going to pay or receive
  • What the custody arrangement is going to be
  • How their assets are going to be distributed

The main issues that concern most people are custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, equitable distribution of property, spousal support, and distribution of debt.

Protecting the Interests of the Children in a Contested Divorce

The interests of the children are protected in a contested divorce in that if the judge feels that the parties are not looking out for the interests of the children, the judge may appoint a guardian ad litem. While this refers to an attorney whose job is to set forth what they believe is in the best interests of the children, this does not occur in all cases.

If the parties cannot agree as to custody and parenting time, the parties may be able to retain mental health professionals for a custody evaluation. In some instances, the court appoints an evaluator to meet with the parties, the kids, and any collateral consequences that are necessary. Courts may do so to get an opinion from the mental health professional as to what is in the best interests of the kids. Consequently, there are many different ways that the children’s best interests are protected.

How New Jersey Judges Tend to Treat Contested Divorce Situations

While there are differences between a contested and uncontested divorce in New Jersey, local judges tend to treat contested divorce situations the same as any other case. It should be noted that judges are happier if the cases are not contested since it frees up their calendars quicker. The ruling also depends on the judge, their temperament, and their experience. There is no rule of thumb on the verdict.

Regarding child custody in contested divorces, the statute starts with a presumption of 50-50 custody. It also very much varies from county to county and judge to judge since it also depends on how they are interpreting the situation.

Since judges are human beings, who come to the bench with their own set of experiences, the way they interpret certain situations may be different. They are going to look at the status quo, who was the one who was doing the caretaking, and who was the one who was more involved in the child’s life. If a custody decision is going to trial, then the judge has the final say on custody unless the parents come to an agreement.

Understanding the Process of an Uncontested Divorce

The process in New Jersey is different for an uncontested divorce than a contested divorce in that the parties come in with the entire agreement resolved. The parties need to negotiate the terms of the divorce, draft the agreement, go back and forth, and then come to court once so that they are able to get divorced.

About 98 percent of divorces are uncontested since they end with a marital settlement agreement and go into an uncontested hearing. It should be noted that this does not mean that they were not highly contested along the way. For an uncontested divorce to become a contested divorce, the parties cannot come to a resolution. The complaint for a divorce needs to be filed in court and go through the regular court process. For a better grasp on the differences between a contested divorce and an uncontested in divorce New Jersey, consult a dedicated defense attorney.

Hire an Accomplished Attorney For Uncontested or Contested Divorce Cases in New Jersey

In many uncontested divorces, the attorney serves to formulate and negotiate a marital settlement agreement and its terms. There certainly could be fewer court appearances, which includes usually going to court the one time for the uncontested divorce hearing. In a contested divorce, there are often several court appearances. Since it is litigated through the court system, it will go through the ordinary course of the proceedings. This would be the case management conferences, exchange of discovery, the early settlement panel, the economic mediation, settlement conferences that occur at the courthouse, and ultimately, trial.

An attorney familiar with the differences between uncontested and contested divorce in New Jersey could help a person seeking to get a divorce to understand the various options at their disposal. While one type of divorce may better suit each’s case better than the other, a meticulous could explain which may be more suitable for you. Call today to let a divorce attorney champion your case.

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