New Jersey divorce laws give separating partners a chance to fight for their rights and the property they deserve. And although every marriage is unique, and there are several different ways to get divorced, the general process is as follows:
Filing a divorce petition
To begin the divorce process in New Jersey, you or your spouse must file a divorce petition with the court in the county where you reside. This petition must include the names of both spouses, the date of marriage, and the grounds for divorce.
Grounds for divorce in New Jersey fall into two categories: fault-based and no-fault. The most common type of divorce is no-fault, which can be granted on the grounds of separation or “irreconcilable differences.” To file for a fault-based divorce, one spouse must allege that the other committed adultery, desertion, domestic violence, etc.
The other spouse has 35 days to respond to the divorce petition, after which the discovery process will begin. This is the stage during which both spouses have a chance to collect information and evidence that will be used during your divorce negotiations.
If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on all issues related to your divorce during discovery, you may be able to avoid trial altogether. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement, the next step will be to go to court.
The New Jersey family court will preside over your divorce case, where you’ll be given the opportunity to argue your case before a judge. The court will look at the evidence you presented and the unique circumstances of your marriage when dividing your assets and debts and also when deciding on child custody and support (if you have kids).
Generally, the divorce process in New Jersey can take approximately 3-6 months, that is, if you have no issues slowing down the process. However, if you have a complicated divorce like if you have to prove fault or uncover hidden assets, it could even take a year or more.