First Steps for Filing for Divorce in New Jersey When You Know Its Over
You may have had the talk, your spouse or you may have left the marital home but either way you know the marriage is over and it has been for quite some time. As a divorce lawyer in New Jersey with offices in Hudson County and Passaic County, NJ, I help clients with every stage of their divorce matters in New Jersey. Once you are ready, we will ask you to provide the information needed in order to create a divorce complaint. Once you provide that information and sign the retainer agreement with retainer fee and filing fee, we will commence the legal action in the New Jersey Superior Court Family Division. Depending on which county do you reside in or your spouse will determine where we file. Once filed, we will have your spouse served with the summons and complaint or he or she can come into the office and sign for the papers.
So in order to draft a complaint for divorce, we need you to fill out a confidential litigant sheet. On that sheet you will list your address and if your spouse's address is different, you would list in on that sheet as well. You will also add your social security number (if applicable), date of birth, driver's license, height and weight, race information and if you have any children that are still cared for by the parties. Aside from that, we will need to know the date and place of marriage and whether the marriage was civil or religious.
The complaint will list a cause of action/grounds for divorce. A cause of action is essentially why are you filing for divorce without having to get into specifics (irreconcilable differences) unless you want to (adultery, extreme cruelty). The complaint will also go into the relief that you are seeking so for example aside from seeking a dissolution of marriage, you may also be seeking relief about children and custody or monetary relief such as alimony and child support. It is important to get these details correct the first so that you do not need to refile an amended complaint. If you do you still reside together, you may seek relief as to when your spouse must leave the marital home or apartment.
Once that has been filed, you will need or your divorce attorney will have your spouse served with he papers in order to move the divorce process along. Your spouse will have up to 35 days to respond to the legal papers in writing to the court and pay a filing fee.
From that point, whether there is an answer submitted or there is not, the case will move along different paths. If an answer is filed, the case is a contested divorce. If an answer is not filed, the case is a default divorce and you would move on to the final steps of entering default and request for final default hearing.
So while this is a a very brief explanation of the initial steps in fling for a divorce, I hope it helps you. If you have more questions or specific concerns about your potential case and seek an attorney, contact my team on (201) 228-9815.