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The Divorce Process: Where Should I Begin and How Long Will it Take?

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Beginning the Divorce Process with a Morristown Divorce Lawyer

Providing Quality Counsel to Divorce Clients in Morris County Communities such as Morristown, Madison, Randolph, Denville, and across Northern New Jersey.

There are a number of questions that often arise during an initial divorce consultation; some related to the filing of the complaint, or what happens after the divorce complaint is served, and many individuals are just seeking to understand the steps of the divorce process. If you are ready to file or have received a divorce complaint, it is understandable to have questions and concerns. We understand the gravity of divorce and the impact that every decision can have on your future. Most people schedule their initial consultation in search of a trusted advisor; someone who understands the legal issues, who will help them navigate the complicated divorce processsomeone who can help educate them, who will protect their rights, but also someone who cares beyond the resolution of their case, they are looking for an attorney who cares about their future.

Many of our clients are most commonly seeking information and education on the Divorce Process, and the attorneys at Jacobs Berger are here, not only to provide you with an understanding of each step in the process but to walk you through the process every step of the way.

Take a look at our video and the article below to get a better understanding of the rules associated with divorce in New Jersey, including how to begin, the time it can take, and what factors can impact the divorce process.

Building Family Life Plans, Out of Family Law Problems

Come in for a Confidential Case Assessment

So, in order to start a divorce process, you are going to initially contact an attorney. When you contact an attorney the process in our office is that we bring you in for an initial consultation. We sit with you for about an hour and a half. We spend time talking about all of the issues in your divorce, we ask that at that meeting you bring any documents that we could potentially look at in order to help you, some financial information, any prenuptial agreement should you have and anything that can really help the attorney ascertain what the major issues are in your divorce.

Assemble a Detailed Plan Based on Your Goals

Once we do that, we will talk about a plan; we come up with a detailed plan for how we want the case to progress and we try to stick to that plan. That plan is based on what your goals are for the resolution of your divorce and in order to initiate a divorce in the state of New Jersey, the first filing that you have to make is a complaint about divorce which is filed in the county in which you reside and it is a document that you submit to the court with your reasons that you are seeking a divorce and all of the relief that you are asking for the court to grant you ultimately in your divorce.

How long will my Morris County Divorce take to be completed?

One of the most common questions individuals will ask in an initial consultation as it relates to a potential divorce, is how much time will the divorce take? Divorces can be as simple or as complicated as any two individuals can decide for it to be. The length of the process can and will also be impacted by factors such as finances, prenuptial/marital agreements that are in place, the existence of children and potential custody issues, division of assets and/or sale of the family home or business. There is no hard and fast rule for how long a divorce will take. A simple uncontested divorce could be completed in a matter of weeks, whereas a complex custody issue or a difficulty in coming to an agreement on finances of a high asset divorce will likely make the timeline much longer.

In New Jersey, the courts have mandated that no divorce should take longer than 12 months from the date the Complaint for Divorce is first filed at the clerk’s office. While exceptions can be made for complex cases, the majority of New Jersey divorces will be complete in less than twelve months.

What factors can impact the time that it takes to complete the divorce process in New Jersey?

Since every family is different, the duration of time required to finalize a divorce settlement will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, there are a few guidelines established by the State of New Jersey that will directly affect the timeline of your divorce:

  1. Residency Requirements – relates to the length of time one or both parties have lived in New Jersey.
  2. Separation Requirements – relates to how long the parties have been separated. The grounds under which the divorce is filed can impact the term of a separation requirement.
  3. Waiting Period – while there is no specific waiting period, there are defined periods of time as it relates to the grounds for divorce.
  4. Criminal Convictions – an individual in New Jersey can file for divorce if their spouse has been convicted and sentenced to a prison term longer than 18 months.
  5. Reasons of Insanity – an individual must prove that their spouse is mentally insane and have been living in a hospital or care center for at least 2 years.
  6. Mediation and Other Requirements – New Jersey does not require couples to undergo things such as counseling or parent education classes to study the impact of divorce on children. It does, however, require all divorcing parties to go to Mediation before the case is brought to court.

Is there a waiting period prior to filing a divorce in Morristown NJ?

For an individual or couple to schedule a court hearing, file for divorce, or enter a final judgment, some states do have defined minimum amounts of time before the court will allow the case to proceed. These defined waiting periods can range from zero to 90 days.

New Jersey does not have a defined waiting period to file. It does, however, have rules and requirements related to grounds for the divorce:

  • If you are interested in filing for a divorce based on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the State of New Jersey requires you to exhibit the breakdown of the marriage for a period of at least 6 months.
  • If an individual needs to file a claim on the grounds of desertion, there is a burden of proof on the individual filing to demonstrate that their spouse has been out of the picture for at least one year.
  • At least one spouse must be a New Jersey resident for at least 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce.

Contact Our Randolph Family Law Attorneys Today to File or Respond to a Divorce Claim

At Jacobs Berger, our divorce and family law attorneys understand that no two divorces are alike. For some couples, coming to a quick, inexpensive, and amicable agreement outside of court is the best way to go. For others, a long process of litigation may be the best solution to find an equitable and final decision for their divorce disputes. We take pride in offering individualized solutions to fit all our clients’ needs and concerns in Morris County communities such as Morristown, Madison, Randolph, Denville, East Hanover, Florham Park, Dover, Rockaway, and across Northern New Jersey.

Contact us online or call our Morristown offices by dialing (973) 710-4366 today for a strategic planning session regarding your divorce proceedings.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.