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Understanding the New Jersey Divorce Process

It’s possible you’ve heard plenty of stories from other people about the New Jersey divorce process. And maybe you’re thinking you have a pretty good idea how things are likely to work out for you in a divorce proceeding, too. But there are too many areas where your circumstances may differ from others, and your story may lead to a completely different outcome.

Sometimes couples in New Jersey think that the only issue may be child custody if there are children involved in the divorce. But many other issues become important in the course of a divorce, either in a formal mediation process or eventually in court. Here are some examples you might want to consider now:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • Grandparent rights
  • Private school tuition
  • Medical, dental and eyesight expenses
  • Business assets
  • Vacation property
  • Debt and possible bankruptcy
  • Relocation of either spouse

Once you get into the financial disclosures required as part of the divorce process you will undoubtedly have many questions and you will want good answers in order to maximize your final outcome.

The Family Court system in New Jersey is designed to encourage settlement out of court, to reduce the time and the cost of litigation. And a Collaborative Divorce Team of professionals may be another alternative for couples who are basically in agreement and truly wish to cooperate throughout the process of their divorce.

Legally, since 2007, there is no longer a necessity to prove the other party is at fault in order to file for divorce in New Jersey. While you can state a cause, such as adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, separation, drug addiction, habitual drunkenness, institutionalization, imprisonment or deviant sexual conduct, all you really need to show is a breakdown of the marriage over the last six months due to “irreconcilable differences,” with no prospect of reconciliation.

Changes to court orders, after your divorce is final and then circumstances change financially or for other reasons, you will usually be required to present modified documents to the court for a judge to sign.

Having a trusted family lawyer to help you throughout the divorce process, from beginning to end and even afterwards, can bring you confidence and your best results in or out of court.

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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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