Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by the clients:
1. What does an Uncontested Divorce mean?
Uncontested divorce requires the agreement of both spouses. Technically, a divorce is automatically granted by a court when the spouse who is served with the legal papers of divorce fails to file a formal response. There are no issues for the court to rule upon and the divorce is granted.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly, be much less complicated, and less of a financial burden.
2. What is the residency requirement to file in NJ?
In order to file for a divorce in New Jersey, either spouse must have been a resident of the State for at least one year prior to the filing of the action. The only exception to the one-year residency requirement is when the grounds for divorce are for adultery. Adultery is a fault ground for divorce.
3. What are the grounds for divorce?
NJ has two (2) no-fault grounds for divorce. No fault simply means that neither party is putting the blame or pointing the finger on the other party for causing the marriage to end. The first is Irreconcilable Differences, which basically means that the parties have their own differences and that they can no longer reconcile those differences which makes it impossible for them to continue to live together. The court does not need to know details with regards to those differences. The second ground is the 18 months separation. Please keep in mind that the court will require proof of living separate if this ground is chosen.
In other words, all the parties have to prove to obtain a divorce in New Jersey is irreconcilable differences for six (6) months or more that led to the breakdown of the marriage. Even if a divorce is a "no fault” divorce it does not necessarily mean that it will be an uncontested divorce. Irreconcilable differences can be anything from lack of communication, different goals and aspirations, arguing, fell out of love or actually anything which makes it impossible to continue.
(1) Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
and (2) Living separate and apart for 18 months and no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. [New Jersey Statutes Annotated; Title 2A, Chapter 34-2].
4. Do I need an attorney to represent me?
You don’t need a lawyer/attorney to get an uncontested divorce in New Jersey. Most Lawyers deal with Contested Divorces, where the two parties are fighting over assets, child custody, spousal support, child support or where one party is hiding or depleting assets. In those instances, you need a good attorney on your side to represent you and fight for your rights. But to save time and money, you are totally capable of handling your own Uncontested Divorce yourself. Especially, if there are no children and property involved or if there are but both of you are in full agreement regarding the assets allocation and the children’s welfare. All you need is to simply obtain reliable information/assistance, in order to ensure that the proper forms and documents have been prepared correctly, and if needed, filed in court within a timely fashion.
5. How long does the Divorce process take?
Our goal is to get you divorced as quickly as possible; unfortunately, we cannot process your divorce any faster than the law allows. Therefore, in NJ there is a waiting period for a minimum of thirty-five (35) days after the defendant is served with the Complaint for Divorce. This allows the Defendant time to file for an Answer or request an appearance if he/she wishes to dispute the relief requested by the Plaintiff, which is contained in the Complaint for Divorce. Altogether the whole process should take anywhere from two (2) to three (3) months depending on two factors. One, how co-operative your spouse is in signing the necessary paperwork and two, depending on how busy the County court schedule is. If your spouse is fully co-operative and decides to waive the 35 days waiting period, it could take as little as 2 weeks or less.
6. Do we have to go to court before we can get divorced?
There is a mandatory final divorce hearing in New Jersey. The Plaintiff is required to attend the final hearing. The defendant is not required to attend, but it is strongly suggested that he/she makes every effort to try to be present.
7. What if I don't know where my spouse is?
We can still help you, but you are looking at a more expensive and more time consuming process. Please call our office for more information.
8. My spouse is incarcerated, is that a problem?
No, that is not a problem. As long as you can get documents to your spouse and can prove that your spouse received copies, it does not matter where they are located. You can prove that your spouse received copies by sending the paperwork to a prison/jail official using the Sheriff department in that county.
9. What if I was married overseas?
As long as you have been a NJ resident for at least One (1) year prior to the filing of the Complaint for Divorce, you can file for divorce in your county of residence. When it comes time to serve your spouse, you can send the paperwork overseas for your spouse to sign. If your spouse is fully co-operative, this should not be a problem at all.
10. What if I have assets and children, do I need an attorney?
As long as the two of you are in total agreement regarding all of the issues of the divorce (assets, debts, child support, spousal support, custody and visitation), and as long as those terms are fair to all parties involved and both parties entered into the agreement voluntarily, the court will not get involved. The two of you can work on a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement which will then get signed and notarized by both parties and the Judge will attach this agreement to the Final Judgment of Divorce. This makes the terms of the agreement enforceable. Some couples choose to have an attorney review the agreement before they sign it.
11. What is a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement and how can I get one?
A Matrimonial Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a contract that you and your spouse may want to negotiate and sign to resolve such issues as child support, parenting time, custody and division of assets and debts. This contract will then get signed, notarized and attached by the Judge to the Final Judgment of Divorce. After it gets attached, its terms become enforceable and both parties must abide by those terms. You might want to negotiate an MSA if you have children entitled to continuing support, if either spouse expects support from the other, if you have significant assets/debts and won't have them all divided before the divorce is final or if you have other understandings you want in writing. If you elect to sign an MSA together, you may do so at any time, but as it should be done before the time comes to appear in court to end the marriage.
As an extra service, we can provide you with a computer-generated MSA that includes in it the specific terms you and your spouse have negotiated. If you're not sure what issues to deal with, we can send you a checklist.
We cannot, however, provide advice as to specific provisions. If you need such assistance, consider obtaining an attorney before having us complete the processing.
12. How can we get started?
Contact us by phone, email or fill out a contact form. We will then forward you a questionnaire and an agreement. After you submit the answers to the questionnaire and the payment (full or partial), we will begin working on the paperwork.
13. How long does it take after we submit our Information to receive our divorce documents? And, do we have to file them with the Court ourselves?
It takes about one (1) business day for us to prepare your actual legal documents for your review and signatures. Once you have both signed the necessary documents, we will provide complete filing instructions. You can choose to mail your paperwork to court or take it in person.
14. What are the typical services not included in a divorce package?
Usually, everything you need to obtain your divorce decree is included in the standard package.
Some of the typical items that are not included are: court fees, written agreements resolving assets and financial affairs, overnight express mail packages, overseas mail packages, additional sets of copies; and most importantly, any type of formal "service" that needs to be made upon defendant= only if spouse is missing or uncooperative. Service includes: certified mail packages, sheriff's service, private servers, and legal notice publications.
15. How is this service different than the other services?
At NJ paralegal Services, we strive to be distinct from any other service offered.
We are not an on-line service; we will not mail you the complete paperwork and send you on your way. We will work with you from the beginning and until the end, one on one personal attention from the beginning and until the end. We will customize the paperwork according to your wishes and will provide step by step filing instructions. We understand that our clients might be going throught the most difficult time in their lives and the last thing they want to worry about is the confusing paperwork. We are always here to answer any questions which you might have. We will treat both spouses with respect and dignity and work with both couples to get the divorce paperwork finalized. We can promise you the most accurate, reliable and professional service. Money back guaranteed. We cater to all budgets. Here at NJ Paralegal Services, you will be working with a live person, who can answer any procedural question that you might have at any time.