Guiding individuals through the divorce process
Marriage is difficult. Some of these relationships do not work out, leading a couple to divorce. When divorce is a reality, it is important to understand the road ahead. Unfortunately, over 50% of marriages end in divorce. The divorce process is complicated and can easily become emotional and heated. When a couple cannot come to terms over important marital legal issues, it can lead to a lengthy and complicated ordeal, impacting everyone involved. While some can agree to an uncontested divorce or the use of mediation to come to an amicable conclusion, this is not always the case. All divorces must address issues relevant to their situation. Most divorces are centered around disputed issues, including alimony, division of assets, child custody, and child support. It is important to understand the divorce process to ease your stress and prepare for the future. When you need a law firm with the experience and dedication to see you through tough times, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC for a consultation.
For a court to have jurisdiction over a divorce case, the couple must satisfy the residency requirement of New Jersey. In our state, one or both spouses must be a legitimate resident of the state or have lived in New Jersey for at least one year.
Grounds for divorce
New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that a person cannot be denied a divorce based on the contest of fault grounds. No-fault grounds include:
- Irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months
- Separation for at least 18 months
New Jersey is not a pure “no-fault” divorce state. One can provide fault grounds to start the divorce process, including:
- Extreme cruelty
Though a person can go that route and cite fault grounds, it is becoming less popular because these grounds can be answered, leading to legal problems before the process even begins. Furthermore, fault grounds generally have little impact on the divorce itself, so many believe it is best to use “no-fault” grounds to start the divorce.
The Complaint for Divorce
Once the residency requirement and grounds are addressed, the Complaint for Divorce is the document needed to start the process. Once filed, the defendant must be served within 4 months. If fault grounds are provided, the defendant may answer the Complaint. If no fault grounds are used and the party is served within the 4 months, the process can begin.
Case Management Conference
At the beginning of the process, the parties will discuss the applicable factors of the case in the Case Management Conference. The Case Management Conference introduces the judge to the case. During the conference, the parties will discuss contested issues, pre-trial discovery, a trial date, and the possibility of implementing alternative dispute resolution methods. The court will work to expedite the process. Remember, it costs the state a lot of money to hear cases. If litigation can be avoided, alternative dispute resolution benefits everyone. The judge will use their discretion in their recommendation. If applicable, the couple and their attorneys could be sent to the Early Settlement Panel.
Early Settlement Panel
The Early Settlement Panel works to expedite the divorce process, saving the couple and the state time and money. If appropriate, this method is comprised of a panel of attorneys who volunteer their time and get no pay with a unified goal of avoiding the emotional and financial impact of litigation. The panel will develop a well-reasoned, fair and just recommendation. It is up to the parties to reject or accept. It is important to note that the ESP program only addresses matters regarding finances and property. Child-related issues are not discussed. If you reject the recommendation or if the program will not work with your situation, litigation may be the next step.
The trial is where both parties support their position on all contested marital issues. Each party will be able to provide opening statements, share evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, call rebuttal witnesses, and provide closing statements.
The Final Judgment of Divorce
Whether a couple litigates or resolves the matter through alternative dispute resolution, the divorce is finalized through a Final Judgment of Divorce. This document will include orders regarding relevant topics, including, but not limited to spousal support, child custody and visitation, child support, and division of assets. When this document is issued and orders are handed down, the couple is divorced.
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Contact an effective Union County Divorce Attorney
Ross & Calandrillo, LLC is an experienced Union County divorce law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. We understand the impact divorce can have on everyone involved. We will explore every alternative to litigation before effectively representing your needs in the courtroom. If you need a passionate and skillful legal team to guide you through tough times, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC.