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Five Key Elements of a New Jersey Divorce Complaint

Properly preparing a New Jersey divorce complaint requires that certain requires be met and specific elements be included in the document. Among the contents of a New Jersey marriage dissolution complaint are five key elements:

  • Set forth grounds for divorce
  • Set forth specific issues court must address
  • Summons served with complaint
  • Attach other required forms to complaint
  • Mistakes matter and how to best avoid them
Grounds for Divorce

A major element of a New Jersey divorce complaint is a listing of the grounds a marriage dissolution is being sought. In New Jersey, a person can seek a no-fault divorce. What that means is that no allegations of wrongdoing need to be included in the complaint. Rather, a person seeking to end a marriage need only allege that the spouses have irreconcilable differences which makes continuing the marriage impossible

A fault divorce is also possible in the Garden State. If a fault divorce is pursued, the spouse filing for a marriage dissolution must set forth in the complaint the specific grounds for which a divorce is sought. Some grounds for a fault divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Extreme cruelty
Specific Issues Court Must Address

While there are some common elements in all New Jersey marriage dissolution cases, each and every divorce case is unique. As a consequence, a complaint for a divorce needs to contain the specific types of issues that need to be addressed by a court in a particular case. Examples of these types of issues include:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Child custody
  • Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • Division of retirement plans
  • Health insurance for children
  • Life insurance
Other Documents

At the time a complaint for divorce is filed with a New Jersey court, the person seeking to end a marriage must file additional paperwork or documents as well. These include:

  • Confidential litigant information sheet
  • Certification regarding redaction of personal identifiers (if needed)
  • Verification certification
  • Certification of insurance coverage

New Jersey courts provide a person seeking a divorce with standardized forms that can be used when filing for marriage dissolution. While these standard forms are available, they really are no substitute for a well-trained divorce lawyer. For example, with alarming regularity, a person seeking a divorce using standard forms will complete them incorrectly or fail to file everything that is requirement by the court.

This can result in what may prove to be a rather significant delay of a marriage dissolution case. In the worst case, errors in regard to divorce paperwork can result in a marriage dissolution case being dismissed by the court.


A summons is a court pleading (document) that is served on the other spouse together with the complaint and other documents mentioned a moment ago.

A summons officially notifies your spouse in a marriage dissolution case that you have filed a divorce against that individual. A summons includes the name of the court where the case is pending and the address of the courthouse.

The summons sets forth the timeframe within which your spouse must file an answer to your divorce complaint. The legal possibility exists that if your spouse fails to file an answer by the deadline set forth in the summons you will be able to obtain a default judgment in your case. A warning in this regard is included within the summons that is filed with a complaint in a marriage dissolution case.

How to Avoid Damaging Mistakes

The best way you can avoid damaging mistakes in a divorce case is to hire an experienced attorney, like a member of the legal team at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen. You can schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer at our firm by calling 201-845-7400. We look forward to answering any question you might have about filing for divorce and pursuing a marriage dissolution case.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

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