Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey

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With divorce, there comes a lot of problems. Be it a contested case or uncontested procedure, it is a painful and sensitive topic to deal with. One has to bear tremendous stress for a long span of time while undergoing a marital termination. Comparatively, undisputed case is easy to bear. However, in this type it is mandatory for divorcing parties to reach at a consensus regarding the various aspects of the separation. Once they reach the settlement and it is granted by the court, the experience seems to be a bearable one. Mutual dissolution is a common phenomenon in all the states in the United States. New Jersey has the second lowest marriage rate and the lowest divorce rate in the nation. In 2009, 6 out of every 1000 women and 6.1 out of every 1000 men got separated from their partners. Although the dissolution rate is low, many couples prefer to go for uncontested divorce in New Jersey.

New Jersey has its own statute pertaining to domestic laws. This statute defines the family laws, procedures and requirements for undisputed dissolution of marriage. As stated by the state laws, the venue for filing the complaint is the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Superior Court. The divorcing spouse who files the action is referred to as the Plaintiff. The spouse who responds to the filing action is known as the Defendant.

Whenever you are going to implement a big decision of your life, it is necessary to possess good knowledge about the action, its varied aspects and consequences. This is true in case of permanent separation from the partner also. In order to help you understand the process, some significant information is provided here.

Grounds for divorce

One can file for a case on fault or no-fault basis.

Fault grounds

  • Imprisonment for 18 or more consecutive months
  • Institutionalization
  • Addiction
  • Deviant sexual conduct
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Willful and continued desertion for one year
  • Adultery

No-fault grounds

The divorcing spouses should reside apart and separate for 18 months and there should not be any reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Residency Requirements

In order to file for an uncontested procedure, a spouse must be a resident of New Jersey for a period of minimum 1 year. But if the cause for separation is adultery, one of the partners needs to be a resident of the state and there is no time limit defined for that.

Steps of Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey

  • The Plaintiff is required to file a verified complaint for divorce. This document is used to identify the divorcing parties and indicate the action to be taken.
  • A copy of the verified complaint along with a Summons is served to the Defendant. Further, the Defendant is given 35 days to file an Answer.
  • Generally, the officer of the Sheriff of the county wherein the Defendant resides serves the Complaint.
  • There are negotiations between the Defendant or the Defendant's attorney and the Plaintiff on issues like child support, spousal support and division of marital estate. In the state of New Jersey, such negotiations may be expedited by Early Settlement Panels (ESPs).
  • The Plaintiff must reach a settlement with the Defendant regarding distribution of the liabilities and assets of the marital estate.
  • In case the statutory time guidelines are met with, the Plaintiff may ask the court to decide the time of a final hearing.

Requirements of Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey

Separating spouses, who are not seeking a divorce on grounds of separation, must meet the following criteria so that they can get a quick decision:

  • The divorcing parties must agree with each other regarding property distribution and division.
  • The divorcing parties must accede with each other on the issues of child support and child custody.
  • One or both of the partners must have lived in this state for the previous year, unless alimony is requested.

Forms which must be completed in this procedure

  • A Cover Letter: This letter is forwarded to the Clerk of the Superior Court, where the case is filed.
  • A Case Information Statement: This is a profile of the liabilities and assets of the divorcing parties.
  • Certification of Insurance Coverage: This document is used to certify that the medical insurance of the Plaintiff, Defendant and their children are being continued.
  • A Verified Complaint of Divorce: This form begins the court action.
  • A Civil Case Information Statement: This document is used to describe the type of case in the court.

When you will go for an uncontested divorce in New Jersey, you need to prepare your documents and plan for your course of action in advance. Remember that dissolution will lead you to a new future. Whatever shape you want to give it, depends solely on you. So act judiciously and the results will definitely be in your favor.

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