The divorce process in Monmouth County, New Jersey, can be complex. For some couples, getting a divorce is a complicated process. Even if your divorce is simple, there are still a lot of questions you may have.
The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC is here to help. Our Monmouth County divorce lawyers answer some of the most common New Jersey divorce FAQs our clients ask in this article. If you have additional questions about divorce proceedings in New Jersey, contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation at (732) 747-1882.
How The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC Can Help You as You Go Through the New Jersey Divorce Process
When you are dealing with a divorce case or family law matter, you need trusted legal counsel. At The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC, our attorneys are top-rated New Jersey family law and divorce lawyers. We have helped thousands of families during our 20 years of experience.
Our attorneys are known for their dedication to clients and exceptional legal services. As a result, we have been honored and recognized by national organizations, including Super Lawyers and Avvo.
When you hire The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC, you can expect us to:
- Listen to you to learn what you need and your goals for the case
- Explain your legal options and how New Jersey family laws apply in your case
- Develop a strategy to achieve a favorable outcome in your case
- Fiercely represent your best interest during settlement negotiations and at trial
- Keep you informed throughout your case and provide guidance and support
- Use our extensive resources to benefit your case
Our Monmouth County family law attorneys handle all types of family law matters. Contact our law office to schedule a time for a free case evaluation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ.
What Is the Process for Getting Divorced in the State of New Jersey?
Filing for divorce in New Jersey is referred to as a dissolution of marriage. Either spouse can file for divorce. The spouse filing for divorce is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent.
The petitioner serves a copy of the Complaint for Divorce on the respondent. The respondent has 35 days to file an answer or other response to the complaint.
Before the court schedules a hearing, the parties can engage in discovery. Discovery is the process of exchanging documents and information relevant to the case.
The parties also engage in settlement negotiations. Most divorce cases settle before trial. The spouses present a divorce settlement agreement to the court for the judge’s approval.
However, if the spouses do not agree on all terms of the divorce, the case is placed on the court docket for a trial. The judge hears evidence from both spouses. Then, the judge enters a final divorce judgment dissolving the marriage and giving their ruling on the issues before the court.
Is There a Residency Requirement To File for Divorce in New Jersey?
Yes. According to New Jersey law, one spouse must have been an actual or bona fide resident of the state for one year or longer before the divorce action is filed with the court. However, there is one exception to the residency rule.
If the grounds for the divorce are adultery, the residency requirement does not apply. One spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state, but they can be a resident for less than a year and petition the court for a divorce.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey allows for a “no-fault” divorce. However, the law also lists several fault-based grounds a spouse might use to obtain a divorce. Overall, the grounds for divorce are:
- Irreconcilable difference (no-fault divorce)
- Extreme cruelty
- Deviant sexual conduct
- Being in an institution for a mental illness for 24 or more consecutive months
- Living separate and apart for 18 or more months
- Willful and continued desertion for 12 or more months
- Imprisonment for 18 or more consecutive months
- Habitual drunkenness
- Voluntary addition to a narcotic drug
Claiming irreconcilable differences is the easiest and quickest way to obtain an uncontested divorce. Unless your spouse contests the divorce terms, all you need to do is swear under oath that the differences have existed for at least six months and the marriage cannot be saved.
If parties want to be legally separated in New Jersey, they must petition for a Divorce from Bed and Board. They can also enter into a legally binding separation agreement. Otherwise, New Jersey does not recognize legal separation.
How Do Judges Decide Child Custody Cases in Monmouth County?
All child custody cases are decided based on the best interest of the child. The New Jersey statutes list factors that a judge must consider when determining the best interest of the child.
Courts encourage parents to work together to develop a Parenting Plan and time-sharing schedule that works best for the family. Joint custody is the starting point for custody cases because it is presumed that a child benefits from maintaining a close relationship with both parents.
However, a judge can grant sole custody if a parent proves joint custody is not in the child’s best interest.
Does New Jersey Have Child Support Guidelines?
New Jersey has standard child support guidelines that Monmouth County family court judges use to calculate child support obligations. Parents pay child support based on their proportion of the combined income of the parents.
Factors used to determine the amount of the child support obligation include:
- The number of children being supported
- The parent’s income
- The cost of childcare
- The time spent with each parent
- Other sources of income
- Whether alimony is being paid
- The liabilities and debts of each parent
Judges have the discretion to deviate from the child support guidelines. For example, the judge may consider a child’s special needs when ordering child support payments.
How Is Spousal Support Determined for a Monmouth County Divorce Case?
The judge could order permanent alimony payments if your marriage lasted over 20 years. The alimony payments would continue until a spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries or cohabits with another person.
For marriages that lasted less than 20 years, durational alimony may be granted. However, the duration of spousal support cannot exceed the length of the marriage except in rare circumstances.
The court uses numerous factors to determine the amount of spousal support, including the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage. The spouses’ ages, health, and earning potential are also factors. First, however, the court must find a financial need for support and the ability to pay support to order alimony payments.
Can You Modify Child Support or Alimony Payments?
The court does not modify an order for support unless the petitioning party can show a substantial change in circumstances. For example, an ex-spouse receives a promotion that results in a significant increase in their income.
Conversely, if a spouse becomes disabled or cannot work because of an injury, the court could consider that a sufficient reason to modify support payments. For child support, changes in the needs of the children could be sufficient to modify child support as well..
What Is the Standard for Property Division in New Jersey?
Each spouse is entitled to keep their separate property during a divorce. However, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state for marital property. That means the court bases property division on what is fair, which does not necessarily mean an equal division of marital assets.
The court also applies equitable division to marital debts. The judge considers numerous factors to determine what is fair based on the facts of the case. Generally, both spouses are responsible for debt acquired during the marriage unless a spouse can show the funds solely benefited the other spouse.
Can I Get a Divorce in New Jersey Without Going Through the Family Court in Monmouth County?
Only the family court can dissolve a marriage in New Jersey. Therefore, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court and obtain a court order to end the marriage legally.
However, if you and your spouse agree to the divorce terms, it simplifies the divorce process. Instead of a trial, your attorney presents a divorce settlement agreement to the court. The judge can approve the agreement and grant the divorce with one hearing.
How Much Does It Cost To Divorce in Monmouth County, NJ?
The cost of your divorce depends on the facts and circumstances unique to your divorce action. Court filing fees are standard in all divorce cases. The costs of the case depend on the issues.
Monmouth County divorce lawyers usually charge by the hour for their services. Therefore, the attorney’s fees depend on how much time the lawyer spends working on your divorce case.
Uncontested divorces cost less than contested divorces that require litigation to resolve the issues. Complicated property division issues, contested child custody, and disputes regarding alimony can increase attorneys’ fees.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers
The divorce process does not need to be overwhelming. With the right divorce attorney, you can reduce your stress level and get through our divorce proceedings efficiently and quickly. Call us to schedule a free case review with an experienced Monmouth County divorce attorney.