Somerset County Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering or pursuing a divorce, it is important to start thinking strategically about how you want your life to look after your marriage ends. There are several factors you may have to consider, including who will care for children, where you are going to live, how you will continue to support yourself with a single income, and what property now belongs to which spouse.
All of this may be overwhelming, especially while also dealing with the emotional aspects of such a major life change. That is why it may be beneficial to speak with a qualified Somerset County divorce lawyer. A hard-working family attorney could help you work towards your best interests and ensure your needs are met.
Legal Grounds for a New Jersey Divorce
There are several reasons why one or both parties to a marriage may decide that it would be best to end their union. When the decision to file for divorce is not mutual—and specifically, when one spouse is to blame for the breakdown of the union—a “fault” divorce is typically filed.
The main difference between a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce in New Jersey is that fault divorces require individuals to show that the other party is to blame for the dissolution of the marriage. In Somerset County, fault grounds for divorce include:
- Willful desertion/abandonment for one year or more
- Extreme cruelty
- Drug addiction or alcoholism for one year or more
- Mental illness for which one spouse has been institutionalized for two years or more
- Imprisonment for at least 18 months
- Rape/sexual misconduct
Alternatively, spouses may file for no-fault divorce if irreconcilable differences led to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or if they have been legally separated and living apart for at least 18 months. A divorce attorney in Somerset County could help individuals identify the specific reason for their divorce and proceed accordingly.
Property Division in Somerset County
Since New Jersey is an “equitable division” state, all marital property involved in a Somerset County divorce should be divided fairly and equitably, in lieu of simply splitting everything in half. This is unlike “community property” states where property, money, and even debts are equally owned by both spouses—regardless of employment, income, who purchased the property, etc.
Consequently, Somerset County courts may consider factors such as both spouses’ income, earning potential, age, and physical/emotional health when deciding on what type of division would meet these criteria. Other key factors may include any written agreements such as prenups or postnups, as well as the duration of the marriage. Individuals seeking a divorce should reach out to a seasoned lawyer who could fight for what is fair.
How to File for Divorce in Somerset County
To file for divorce in Somerset County, one spouse must have been a New Jersey resident for one year or more. The spouse who initiates the divorce is known as the plaintiff and would be required to file the correct paperwork with their local county courthouse.
Once papers are served to the defendant, they have 35 days to respond. They could do so by:
- Requesting a court appearance to object to what the plaintiff is asking for
- Agreeing or disagreeing with the divorce paperwork
- Filing a counterclaim to state different grounds for divorce
Individuals seeking to file for a legal separation are advised to speak to a knowledgeable Somerset County divorce lawyer to learn their rights and take appropriate action to protect them.
Seek Support from a Somerset County Divorce Attorney
Working with legal counsel could help you determine the grounds for your divorce, what documents and accompanying paperwork must be filed with the complaint, and how to protect your property and children during tough legal proceedings. Reach out to a Somerset County divorce lawyer today to find out more about the assistance available to you throughout the legal process.