Legal advice on No-fault divorce
This guide will overview the eligibility criteria and initial steps of a no-fault divorce process in New Jersey.
DISCLAIMER! Seek a qualified lawyer's advice immediately if you have been injured by your spouse and have a Tevis claim, there is a history of domestic violence against you or a family member, child custody conflicts, you and your spouse own real estate together, you and your spouse have real or personal property of significant value, you are receiving public benefits such as TANF, you will be seeking alimony, your spouse is in the military, your spouse lives in a foreign country, or their whereabouts are unknown, the defendant has likely hired an attorney.
The requirements for a no-fault divorce based on separation are as follows: (1) You or your spouse must live in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months preceding the filing of the divorce. (2) You and your spouse must have lived at separate residences for at least 18 consecutive months before beginning divorce proceedings. (3) There is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. File Form 1A if you are seeking a divorce based on separation.
The requirements for a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences are as follows: (1) You or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months preceding the filing of the divorce complaint. (2) You and your spouse must have experienced irreconcilable differences for a period of six months. (3) The irreconcilable differences make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved. (4) There is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. File Form 1D if you are seeking a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
The first step is to file a complaint. One spouse filing a complaint with the court will begin divorce proceedings. The spouse that files the complaint will be the plaintiff.
The second step is to respond to the above-mentioned complaint. The spouse who receives the complaint (defendant) can either file a general appearance or any counterclaim against the plaintiff as a response. If the defendant does not respond, a different procedure will apply.
The third step is to file a Case Information Statement (CIS). The CIS includes the necessary financial information of both parties relevant to the divorce.
The fourth step is to try to reach a settlement agreement. Both parties, with their respective lawyers, can negotiate an agreement. If a settlement agreement is not reached, both parties will be required to participate in the Early Settlement Panel. The panel discusses the legal issues of divorce and proposes recommendations regarding how to resolve those issues. If both parties agree to the terms, the divorce is granted. If the parties do not reach an agreement, they will be given another attempt to resolve the issues outside the court during the economic mediation process.
The fifth step applies ONLY IF an agreement has not been reached by the economic mediation process. If the mediation fails, the parties will have to resolve the matter in court during a trial. After the trial, the court will issue a final judgment.
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