At Goldstein Law Group, our Monmouth County divorce lawyers hear many of the same questions from people in New Jersey who are going through this process. As a result, we have provided some broad, general answers to common questions concerning divorce. It is always wise to consult an attorney about your specific circumstances, since every case is different and its details likely will play a role in the ultimate resolution.What Are Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey provides grounds for both "fault" and "no fault" divorces. Grounds for a fault divorce include desertion, extreme cruelty, institutionalization, imprisonment, and drug addiction. However, most divorces in New Jersey are no-fault divorces. To get a no-fault divorce, you can cite irreconcilable differences as the basis for the divorce. Alternatively, you can file for a no-fault divorce if you lived apart from your spouse for at least 18 continuous months and have no reasonable prospect of reconciling.Can My Spouse Refuse to Get Divorced?
You do not need your spouse's consent to get a divorce, and you do not need to prove that your spouse has done something wrong to obtain a divorce. However, it can take longer and cost more to get a divorce if your spouse objects to all the terms of the divorce, such as terms related to property division, child custody, or alimony. When a spouse refuses to cooperate, you can still obtain the divorce you want, by applying for a default.Why Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?
In some states, there are formal separation proceedings. In New Jersey, the parties can enter into a legal separation agreement, which can be executed without obtaining a divorce. The parties can agree on issues of support, parenting arrangements, and health insurance. It is helpful to have an attorney's assistance negotiating and executing this agreement, in case at some later date the parties decide to get a divorce.Does Marital Fault Affect Property Division?
No. In New Jersey, it is irrelevant whether there is marital "fault," such as adultery or institutionalization, when you are dividing marital assets. If your husband developed a mental illness and was institutionalized and you got a divorce, the court would not factor the mental illness into the equitable division of property. However, if there has been any sort of economic misconduct like hiding marital assets or dissipating marital assets, the judge may take into account the negative financial consequences of that misconduct. For example, if your wife took marital funds and went on a secret gambling spree with her boyfriend, the court may consider this factor. Is There Always a Trial?
No. Settlement of at least some issues is possible in most cases. Often, the parties are able to agree on most or all terms of a divorce settlement agreement through negotiation at mediation.How Quickly Can I Get Divorced?
The length of a case varies if it is contested. When a case is contested, it means there are issues about which the spouses disagree. However, if a case is uncontested, the spouses agree on all issues, and then it is possible to get a divorce within 3-6 months. The length of a contested case depends partially on whether it is possible for the spouses to reach agreement through mediation and if they cannot, how soon the court can hear the case for trial.
In New Jersey, divorce cases are tracked according to their complexity. The four tracks are priority, complex, expedited, and standard. The priority track is for cases that involve custody and parenting time issues. The complex track is for cases that require more expenditure of judicial resources in preparation for trial, due to the number of claims and the legal difficulty of the issues presented. The expedited track is for cases where it seems a dispute can be promptly tried with minimal pretrial proceedings. Where there are no disputes about marital income or custody, and the spouses have been married less than five years and have no children, it is assigned to the expedited track. The standard track is for all other cases.Explore Your Options with a Monmouth County Lawyer During a Divorce
If you are considering a divorce, it is important to consult a family law attorney about your particular circumstances. Goldstein Law Group maintains a main office in Old Bridge, and a satellite office in Freehold, New Jersey. We also serve clients in Rumson, Red Bank, and communities throughout Middlesex and Ocean Counties. Contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form to set up a free consultation with a Monmouth County attorney.