Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey
The residents of New Jersey are allowed to seek either a contested or uncontested divorce.
- When a couple is unable to settle disputes, such as joint property division and retirement accounts, custody over minor children, New Jersey child support, alimony (spousal support), etc., the result is a contested divorce. This type of divorce is time-consuming and often exhausting.
- In contrast, an uncontested divorce happens when the couple successfully negotiates and settles all existing issues amicably outside of court. If the spouses need help, they can use mediation services. It is best to outline the arrangement in a marital Settlement Agreement so everything is considered and handled.
The litigation process may take much more time if the divorce is contested. Thus, it is best to discuss and resolve issues before filing to save time and money and keep the divorce case simple. For couples who have minor disagreements, divorce mediation can be a good opportunity to resolve divorce-related issues.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
For those who find divorce paperwork too complicated, DivorceOnline helps couples get completed New Jersey divorce forms online. If you aren’t aware of family laws and don’t know which forms you need for your particular case, DivorceOnline will help you sort it out.
Our online divorce service will help you choose the appropriate blank forms and fill them out correctly. For as little as $139, you will find a perfect assistant to complete your divorce papers from the comfort of your home.
You just need to fill out a quick questionnaire with simple questions regarding your marriage and divorce. Then the system will provide clear instructions on how to select and fill out the forms required for your case.
The court-ready divorce forms can be downloaded in just 2 business days. Our service is fast and affordable, which makes it a great alternative to pricey lawyers.
If you are eligible for an uncontested divorce, you can use our online divorce service to prepare your divorce papers successfully. Otherwise, if you have complications with reaching a settlement agreement, you may need legal advice with the assistance of New Jersey legal services.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, an uncontested divorce process takes several consecutive steps.
To file for a divorce in New Jersey, one of the spouses must be a resident of New Jersey for no less than one year prior to the divorce filing. However, there is an exception for couples whose ground for a divorce is adultery.
New Jersey isn’t purely a no-fault state. Thus couples can seek a no-fault or a fault-based divorce.
According to New Jersey family law, no-fault divorce is based on irreconcilable differences ongoing for at least six months with no chance of reconciliation. Сhoosing this option, the plaintiff claims that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Separation is also a ground for their divorce. For this, one of the spouses will need to show the court that both spouses have lived separately for no less than 18 months, and reconciliation is impossible.
A fault-based divorce implies that spouse proves that the misconduct of the other is the reason for the divorce. The fault grounds in New Jersey include:
- Abandonment) for no less than one year
- Physical or mental cruelty
- Continued drug or alcohol abuse for no less than 12 months
- Imprisonment for 18 months or more after marriage
- Deviant sexual behavior
- Institutionalization for Mental Illness
To initiate the divorce process, a plaintiff (a person initiating the case) has to file the completed divorce forms with the Circuit Court. An important requirement is to file the divorce papers in the county where either spouse resides.
Divorce papers in New Jersey
Basic list of New Jersey divorce forms includes:
- Complaint for Divorce
- Confidential Litigant Information Sheet
- Certification of Self-Represented Litigant and Dispute Resolution Alternatives
- Certification Regarding Redaction of Personal Identifiers
- Certification Verification and Non-collusion
- Certification of Insurance Coverage
When filing for divorce, each particular case requires different forms. The easiest way to deal with the paperwork is to use online paperwork preparation services as they help save money and time.
The court charges fees when the plaintiff files divorce forms to open the case. In New Jersey, the filing fee is about $300 if there are no minor children in a marriage and about $325 otherwise. Since the fees may vary from county to county, the plaintiff should check the Clerk of the Circuit Court government website to know the exact filing fee for their county.
In New Jersey, unlike in the other states, there is no universal waiting period. The waiting period requirements vary depending on specific grounds. So, when a plaintiff files the Complaint for Divorce, the waiting period may have already passed.
If the couple has children in their marriage, or there are intense disputes regarding allocation of assets, or even if the blame for a fault-based divorce is arguable, the whole divorce process may take much longer.
After the filing, the plaintiff must serve the other spouse with copies of completed divorce papers. Under New Jersey law, the defendant is supposed to be personally served. The serving spouse may hire either a Sheriff's deputy or a process server to hand the papers to another spouse.
The receiving spouse can accept service personally or through an attorney. If they agree to accept service, the plaintiff must obtain a signed acceptance of service to file with the court. Once proof that the spouse was served with the divorce documents is received, the serving party must mail that proof to the court.
The respondent can also be served by certified mail or alternative means.
The divorce hearings for uncontested divorces in New Jersey are often relatively short and mainly seen as a formality.
During the final hearing, the judge will expect the spouses to confirm the terms of the spouses’ Marital Settlement Agreement and find them fair and just.
After brief testimonies are given and the Settlement Agreement and other required paperwork are reviewed, the final divorce decree is signed and issued.
Getting a Divorce With Children
In New Jersey, there are three types of child custody arrangements:
- Sole custody: when the full-time care of the child is held by one of the parents, while another is awarded parenting time;
- Joint legal custody: only one parent maintains residential custody, but both parents share decision-making responsibilities regarding the health, education, and welfare of a child;
- Joint physical custody: awarded to both parents, and they both will provide homes for a child.
New Jersey laws express a preference for parents to share child custody equally to maintain their relationships with the child. Thus, the judge ensures that a child has a stable healthy environment to fulfil their physical and moral needs.
Considering child custody arrangements, the judge will base their decision on the best interests of the child. Several factors are taken into consideration by the judge:
- Preference and wishes of both parents;
- The needs of the child and whether the parent can provide for those needs;
- The wishes of the child, if a child is mature enough;
- The sensibility of the parents and their ability to cooperate regarding making decisions;
- Each parent’s relationship with the child;
- The parent’s location and employment status;
- The amount of quality time a parent spends with a child;
- Whether one parent served as the primary caregiver;
- History of abuse, violence, neglect and/or substance abuse; and
- Each parent’s mental and physical health.
In addition, according to New Jersey family law, all spouses with minor children have to go through a mandatory parenting class.
As for child support, New Jersey utilizes the "Income Shares Model," considering parents' income, the number of children, child-related expenses, and custody arrangements.
When calculating the payment amount, New Jersey courts provide two Child Support Guidelines worksheets relevant to the sole and shared custody arrangements.
Payments continue until the child reaches the age of 18 but may continue beyond that date in some circumstances.
Filing for Divorce in New Jersey Without a Lawyer
The greatest benefit of an uncontested divorce is that it can be arranged without a lawyer.
- The New Jersey divorce process does not require divorcing couples to use the services of a law firm. If the spouses manage to settle all their disputes, such as marital property division, child custody, child support, retirement accounts, etc., they can proceed without an attorney.
- If you still need assistance with your divorce paperwork, you can use DivorceOnline. We will help you prepare the required divorce paperwork without an attorney and provide you with step-by-step written instructions on how to file with the local court independently.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in New Jersey
- A DIY divorce is a go-to option for couples seeking an uncontested divorce. If they meet the requirements and outline a just marital agreement, they can proceed without any legal help, i.e., do-it-yourself. For simple divorce cases, DIY divorce is the best way to save money and time.
- In a DIY divorce, the spouses act as their own representation filling out New Jersey uncontested divorce forms and finalizing the filing process.
- The divorcees without legal experience may face difficulties with the paperwork stage. DivorceOnline.com is specifically designed to help couples prepare their divorce documents and assist them with filing for a fair price within a short period.
Frequently Asked Questions:
An unspoken rule in New Jersey courts is that no divorce should last longer than 12 months.
If there are no minors in a marriage and the ground for a dissolution of marriage is irreconcilable differences, the process may take a bit longer than a month and a half. Otherwise, in a contested divorce where child custody must be determined, the process may be significantly extended.
Bottom line: A young couple with no minor children and little spousal property may be able to finalize their divorce in New Jersey in a matter of weeks.
The cost of divorce depends on the circumstances of the case. If the spouses resolve all divorce-related issues and settle all their disputes before going to court, the final cost can be reduced.
On average, an uncontested divorce is more affordable than a contested one. And yet, there may be other expenses such as online divorce services fees, parenting classes costs, etc.
In New Jersey, there is no free divorce. To reduce the divorce cost, the couple must settle all their divorce-related issues before going to court so that they won’t need lawyer’s assistance. Online divorce paperwork preparation services may come in handy to save money on legal help from a law firm.
Another way to avoid expenses is to complete the Fee Waiver form and submit the required documents. A judge then considers the applicant's financial situation and may waive the filing fees.
The primary legal forms that the spouses must file with the court include the Divorce Complaint, Summons, and Insurance Coverage Certification. A Marital Settlement Agreement covering divorce issues will shorten the overall divorce process.
The complexity of the case may require other forms to be submitted. Online divorce services, namely, DivorceOnline, may be of great help dealing with all your divorce paperwork.