Ultimate Guide to Filing For Divorce in Union County, New Jersey
When you want to file for divorce in New Jersey, you need to know which County to file in and for those living in Union County it is the Union County Family Court. Whether you live in Cranford, Westfield, Elizabeth, Union, Plainfield or elsewhere in Union County, the place to file is in the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth, NJ. As a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Attorney, I will go over the basic steps and important information regarding filing for divorce in New Jersey. Today I will specifically go over filing in the New Jersey Superior Court-Union County Vicinage in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
The divorce process in New Jersey can be long and stressful. So Before you file or seek to file with or without a Divorce Lawyer in New Jersey, write down what you are seeking or if you do not know, ask your lawyer or a lawyer what you should seek based on your specifics. For Example, You May Seek Some or All of the Following:
- Child Custody (Legal and Residential)
- Child Support
- Equitable Distribution of Assets and Debts
- Counsel (Lawyer) Fees
- Other relief specific to your case
Once you do that, you will then be ready to file your divorce complaint in the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth, NJ. The divorce process can be as short as 60 days or as long as one year or more. If you settle and reach or sign a marital settlement agreement, a Judge may divorce you very quickly. Judges in New Jersey, whether from the New Jersey Superior Court Union Vicinage or other County, get judged by how fast they can complete cases. For that and many other reasons, the Court wants you to resolve your case as soon as you possible. Trials in the family court are very time consuming and in my opinion, a waste of time if you have two experienced and reasonable divorce attorneys working on the case. I say experienced and reasonable because they should have an excellent idea what a Judge may or may not do. If they know that, they would know to try and resolve the case without trial.
Filling Out the Divorce Complaint and Related Divorce Documents
In New Jersey, you need to draft a divorce complaint alleging the cause of action (reason for divorce), against whom, and what legal relief you demand. So aside from the complaint for divorce, you need the Confidential Litigant Sheet, Certification of Insurance Coverage, Certification of Non-Collusion, Document as to Rule 4 5:4-2(h).
The Cause of Action/Reason For Divorce-Cause of Action, Why Are You Seeking A Dissolution of Marriage? Not getting along? Irreconcilable Differences is the easiest way. If you want to expose what may have occurred such as extreme cruelty or adultery, that can also be alleged in the divorce complaint.
Paying the Filing Fee
If you go at it alone, you pay the $300 filing fee for divorce in NJ or $325 (with minor children) to the State of New Jersey.
Serving Your Spouse the Divorce Papers
Next will be serving your spouse the divorce papers and summons. Once served, your spouse has 35 days to respond. If he or she does not, they have defaulted. You can then seek a final judgment of divorce. However, many cases do not end here and litigation ensues.
What Efforts Are Made to Avoid Trial and Complete the Case Sooner Rather Than Later
The court sets a strict deadline schedule for the discovery process in New Jersey where parties can demand and exchange relevant information. Usually during that time and after, the parties attend the Early Settlement Panel (ESP). At ESP, 2-3 lawyers volunteer to help the parties try to resolve all financial issues. For parenting and mediation, the litigants go to custody mediation without attorneys. If that fails, the parties attend economic mediation at a lawyers office where the parties must pay that mediator for his or her time and effort. The first two hours or preparation, file review, etc are free. Those mediators leave it up to the parties as to whether to accept the recommendations or not. The mediation is not binding and is confidential.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
It really depends on if all issues or there are no issues are agreed to without a settlement agreement, it can be as little as $2000. However, if a divorce case is taking a lot of time and court dates, discovery, motions, motions to enforce, motions to suppress, etc., child custody battles, the case can cost well over $150,000.
What are the typical hourly rates for divorce lawyers working in Union County?
The hourly rates that I have seen range from $275 per hour to $625 per hour. My rate is $400 per hour. (Don't worry no charge for this post. Joke). ****** Advice Tidbit. Do not overly concern yourself with the hourly rate as a lower hourly rate lawyer may not be that efficient and almost charge you the same in the end as a highly rated and experienced lawyer at $400-$450 per hour. Not only that but the mistakes a inexperienced or simply bad attorney will cost you will cost more than you could ever imagine.
So while this article is brief, it is free. I hope it is useful to you. If you are seeking to file for divorce in Union County, NJ or have been served, contact our New Jersey Divorce Lawyers on 973-337-9643.