Understanding An Uncontested Divorce In NJ

For the uninitiated, a lot of divorce terms sound pretty much the same. Uncontested divorce in NJ? No-fault divorce in NJ? They often go hand-in-hand, but they're not the same legal process.

A no-fault divorce means that neither spouse is slinging accusations at the other. It removes issues of adultery, desertion and cruelty from the legal equation. You concede that your marriage is over and that no one is to blame. Depending on where you live, you can file for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In New Jersey a no-fault divorce is based on irreconcilable differences. The requirements for a no fault divorce in NJ are that irreconcilable differences exist which caused a breakdown of the marriage for a period of 6 months, it seems that the marriage should be dissolved and there is no reasonable prospect for reconciliation. Some states require that you live separate and apart for a period of time, but all recognize no-fault divorce in some form. New Jersey law does not require a period of separation in order to receive a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

You can have a no-fault divorce without it also being uncontested, but you generally can't have an uncontested divorce in NJ on contested fault grounds. By definition, an uncontested divorce in New Jersey means that you and your spouse agree on all aspects of ending your marriage. If there's even one thing you don't agree on -- like your grounds -- your divorce becomes contested. And for practical purposes, accusing your ex of marital misconduct isn't particularly conducive to negotiating a marital settlement agreement that covers all bases.

The agreement must be sweeping. If you have children, it should address custody, parenting time and child support. All states have guidelines for calculating child support, so you can't pull a number out of thin air. You should also decide who is going to pay for work-related child care, the kids' health insurance premiums, and the costs of extracurricular activities, which child support doesn't always stretch to cover.

Of course, you'll want to divide up your marital property, but you must also address marital debts -- who's going to pay these and in what percentages? Will one of you pay spousal support and, if so, for how long? All these things must be covered clearly and concisely. It's always advisable to enlist the help of an attorney to draft the terms of your agreement.

If you can manage to reach an agreement on everything, either on your own or with the help of lawyers, an uncontested divorce in NJ is unarguably the cheapest, easiest and often quickest way to end your marriage. If you've hired attorneys, you'll generally pay less for representation because, in most cases, they won't have to invest as many hours into getting your divorced as they would if you had to go to trial. Uncontested divorce  hearings in NJ are typically short events taking half an hour or less, whereas trials can take days or even longer in particularly contentious matters. Then there's the stress factor. For the most part, your divorce terms are in your own hands. You can get it done, put it behind you and move on. If you have any questions about an uncontested divorce in NJ or a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, call the Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.

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