Initial Steps for Divorce in New Jersey
Divorce is never easy, and starting the process can be very confusing and emotionally heavy. If you are initiating a divorce, you must file a complaint with the Superior Court of New Jersey. When this is done, you will wait until they receive a docket number, at which point the other party will be served notification. Working with an experienced divorce attorney could make the process easier and help you take the initial steps for divorce in New Jersey.
Documents for the Filing Spouse
A divorce petition requires general information such as the filing spouse’s name and where they reside. They must have been a resident of New Jersey for a year preceding the filing of the complaint for divorce unless they are filing under the reason of adultery. They must list the names of their children as well as dates of birth, the name of their spouse, and where their spouse resides. The filing spouse must indicate the cause of action during the initial steps for divorce in New Jersey.
In the complaint for divorce, the spouse must also indicate what it is they are seeking. This could be the distribution of a property or debts acquired during the marriage, custody or child support, spousal support, contributions for college, or any other elements that must be addressed. Additionally, they must fill out a form called a Confidential Litigant Sheet going through some basic personal information such as their driver’s license number, social security numbers of both parties, and their children’s dates of birth. Another form that they must submit with the complaint is called the certification of insurance coverage outlining all the different insurances they may have. They will sign the form to certify that nothing has been changed within the last 90 days.
Basics for the Spouse Receiving a Divorce Complaint
The party receiving the divorce complaint should immediately consult with an attorney because they have 35 days to respond, starting from the time they receive the complaint for divorce. A spouse on the receiving end of a divorce petition can procedurally contest the divorce but the spouse seeking the divorce will nonetheless get the divorce. If one party files and says that there have been irreconcilable differences and the other party denies it, the courts would still grant the divorce. If one party says that there has been an irreconcilable difference lasting six months or more, the divorce could be granted because New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state.
Initiating a No-Fault Mutually Agreed Divorce
To begin a mutually agreeable divorce, one party could go to an attorney and ask to draft a marital settlement agreement and send it to the other party. As soon as that other party gets an attorney, the communication would be back and forth between the attorneys, potentially leading to a settlement conference.
When they have agreed on most of the items but some are outstanding, they could have a settlement conference and negotiate the terms of the entire agreement. Once they agree, everyone signs the document and the case is filed as quickly as possible. To prepare for the divorce process after the case has been filed, a person should gather financial information. They should collect information about their income, their assets, their debts and liabilities, mortgage information, deeds to their home, any loans, bank statements, and credit card statements as one of the initial steps for divorce in New Jersey.
An Attorney Could Help
The role of a New Jersey attorney in a divorce proceeding is to discuss with the spouses about the filing process, grounds for filing, and the requested relief. They should discuss the entirety of the case, various aspects of the case, potential outcomes, and strategies. An attorney will navigate and direct the client through the divorce process. The attorney comes to the case with the knowledge of the law and relevant procedures as well as experience. Once the client shares information with the attorney, they can develop strategies and come up with a plan of action.
If you are trying to file a divorce and are unsure of what to do, an attorney could help. Call an experienced team of legal professionals today to learn more about the initial steps for divorce in New Jersey.