There are few family law matters more pressing than those involving divorce, and if you are about to enter the divorce process, you cannot afford to proceed without a knowledgeable Morris County divorce lawyer on your side. Our attorneys have dedicated years of their legal careers to assisting clients in Morristown and throughout New Jersey, and they are ready to put those years of experience to work for you. Our firm serves clients in Chatham, Chester, Harding, Kinnelon, Madison, Mendham, Morris Township, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, and Randolph. Contact Graves Andrews, LLC today to learn more about the divorce process and how our firm can competently guide you through it.
Morris County Divorce Lawyer | Effectively Guiding You Through the Process
For many, going through a divorce is the most significant legal matter of their lifetime. This is why if you are currently going through the divorce process or you are about to, it is imperative that you retain the services of a knowledgeable Morristown family law attorney who has helped their clients through the divorce process countless times before. Fortunately, you’ve just found that attorney right here at Graves Andrews, LLC.
Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
When spouses get divorced, they will either be in a contested or an uncontested divorce. Essentially, an uncontested divorce is when both spouses can agree on all divorce terms, including those regarding alimony, child custody, child support, property distribution, and more. A contested divorce is when both spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce and will have to resolve their divorce either through litigation or another alternate dispute resolution method. In many cases, contested divorces end up going through the litigation process.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in NJ
To initiate the divorce process, you must first satisfy the residency requirements. To do so, either you or your spouse must have either lived in New Jersey for at least one year, or either you or your spouse must be a bona fide resident of the state.
Grounds for Divorce
Once you’ve satisfied the residency requirements for a divorce, you will then have to cite grounds for divorce. New Jersey is a “no-fault” state, which means that you can either cite fault grounds or you can simply cite irreconcilable differences or separation of at least 18 months. In most cases, choosing a no-fault divorce is your best option, however, if you wish to cite fault grounds, meaning you are essentially saying your spouse is the reason for your divorce, you may choose any of the following:
- Deviant sexual conduct
- Extreme cruelty
- Institutionalization for mental illness
As previously stated, in most cases, it is simply best to file a no-fault divorce. This is because when someone cites fault grounds, they give their spouse the opportunity to deny the accusations made against them. This frequently makes for a longer, more costly divorce, and ultimately, courts seldom consider fault grounds such as adultery when determining a couple’s divorce agreement to begin with.
Beginning the Divorce Process in Morris County, New Jersey
Once you’ve fulfilled the residency requirements and chose the grounds for your divorce, your divorce will commence by you serving the court with a Divorce Complaint. Once the document is filed with the courts, you will have to serve your spouse with the Complaint within four months.
Case Management Conference & Early Settlement Panel
Once your divorce has begun, the court will schedule something known as a case management conference, wherein you and your spouse will have to list each contested issue in your divorce, such as if you can’t agree on child custody terms, alimony, or otherwise. You will also have to set the timeframe and application of pre-trial discovery (wherein the court will require full disclosure of each of your assets). You will also have to set a trial date at this time as well.
If you are unable to reach an agreement regarding all contested matters at this time, you will then have to attend an Early Settlement Panel. In most cases, the Panel comprises a group of attorneys who will try to find a way for you to settle any contested issues before taking your case to trial. This is to hopefully expedite the process in an effort to save everyone both time and money.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and if you still cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, you will most likely have to attend a trial and litigate your divorce from there. Should this happen, you can rely on a Morris County divorce lawyer here at Graves Andrews, LLC to tirelessly fight for the outcome you desire.
Reaching a Final Judgment of Divorce in NJ
After litigating your divorce, the court will draft and issue a Final Judgment of Divorce, which essentially finalizes your divorce and includes all orders regarding your divorce agreement, such as alimony and child support to be paid, instructions regarding property distribution, child custody terms, and more.
Contact a Morris County Divorce Lawyer
The bottom line is that divorce is complex–emotionally, financially, and legally, which is why you need an attorney who truly understands the ins and outs of the process and who will answer each of your questions, keep you informed through each step of the process, and ultimately fight, tooth-and-nail, for the outcome you deserve. Our firm is always on your side, from start to finish, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that you and your family are in good standing going forward. Contact Graves Andrews, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.