Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in New Jersey
Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law in Somerville represents divorcing spouses in Somerset County and other New Jersey locations. When you decide to end your marriage, Ms. Wagner draws on more than 25 years of experience to safeguard your interests and guide you through a difficult time, answering each question along the way, including common queries like:
- What is a divorce in New Jersey going to cost? Can I afford it?
- How long does the divorce process take in New Jersey?
- What happens if my spouse does not want a divorce?
- Do I have to go to court?
- How long do you have to be separated in New Jersey before you can file for divorce?
Each divorce is different, and countless factors affect how much yours will cost. There are ways to reduce expenses, though. Making an honest effort to reach a compromise before going to court could save you a substantial amount of money. As an experienced family attorney, Ms. Wagner can often find creative ways to bridge the gap between spouses who are having trouble reaching an agreement. It’s also important to remember that the outcome of your divorce proceeding could affect your financial well-being for years to come, so in some cases, using additional resources gives spouses the chance to achieve a result that benefits them in the long run.
A settlement agreement in an uncontested divorce, where both spouses agree on parenting and financial terms, might be wrapped up in six to eight weeks. Finalizing the dissolution could take longer depending on the court’s schedule. When sharp disagreements exist and mediation fails, it could take a year or more to finally terminate the legal union. People sometimes assume that the length of the divorce process is necessarily tied to the acrimony that exists between the parties. This is not always true. Matrimonial litigation isn’t about settling old scores or determining who’s to blame. With the right guidance, you might be able to complete a quick, straightforward divorce even after an emotional breakup.
The ability to decide if you want to be married or not is a fundamental right, and your spouse cannot force you to remain married. However, a hostile husband or wife can make your marriage dissolution more difficult by refusing to negotiate a divorce settlement. Clear, firm communication can help a recalcitrant spouse realize that the relationship is over and that it is best for both parties to focus on the future.
Due to changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, certain divorces are now being granted “on the papers” in New Jersey. If your dissolution is uncontested or subject to a default because your spouse has not responded to the complaint, you might not be required to make a court appearance.
Whether your New Jersey marriage dissolution requires a separation period depends on the grounds you use when filing. Most divorcing spouses in the state file for a “no fault” divorce where they do not have to allege that their partner committed any specific misconduct. You can initiate a no fault divorce by claiming that you and your spouse have had irreconcilable differences for at least six months. If you wish to seek a no fault divorce based on the fact that you and your spouse have lived separately, the period of separation must be at least 18 months at the time of filing. Fault-based divorces, such as cases based on alleged adultery, desertion and extreme cruelty, do not require any waiting period.