An Uncontested Divorce Lawyer Can Provide an Expedited Remedy
At Green & Associates, we pride ourselves in making divorce as painless as possible for those that are seeking a quick and easy resolution to their divorce. And we are well experienced in this area so that we can do it for less as well. We encourage you to ask us about our FLAT FEES FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE and we are available on nights and weekends for your free initial consultation. If you are considering divorce it helps to understand that there are alternatives to a traditional costly in-court divorce. An uncontested divorce offers you a means of keeping the cost of your divorce low while speeding up the process.
Low-Cost, Uncontested No-Fault Divorce Lawyer
If you are searching for a low-cost, time saving form of divorce, an uncontested divorce is your best option to save time, money, and peace of mind. We encourage you to ask us about our FLAT FEES FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE. Green & Associates New Jersey No-Fault Divorce Lawyers, has years of experience helping people use the uncontested divorce process to avoid lengthy and costly courtroom battles. Our office can prepare and file your divorce papers immediately and complete your divorce within months from the date of filing, at a cost that you can afford.
Benefits of Filing an Uncontested Divorce Through Green & Associates, LLC:
- You save thousands of dollars in legal fees
- Fast Turnaround (preparing, filing, serving Court documents)
- Toll-free and online support for all of your questions
- Representation in all 21 New Jersey counties (Statewide Representation)
- You can use our services and get a divorce even if your spouse doesn't agree to sign the divorce papers (Default Divorce)
- Free online and telephone consultations
- No office visits required
- All paperwork prepared and filed by our office
- Child support calculations performed as part of divorce at no extra cost
- Custody and property settlement agreements prepared
- Over 20 years of legal experience
- Credit and debit cards accepted
- Installment payment plans available
What Are the Facts of Your Case?
A divorce case can have no issues to resolve (no assets to divide, no children, no alimony) or on the other extreme the case can involve 10 or more major issues to resolve (assets to divide - house, cars, bank accounts, retirement savings, child custody, child support, relocation of children, alimony, division of debt, etc.).
If you have no issues to resolve, and you want nothing from your spouse except a divorce, and your spouse wants nothing from you, except a divorce, then our office can prepare and file the necessary court paperwork to get your divorce finalized in months at a flat fee. If you and your spouse have some issues to resolve, our office can represent you in resolving those issues, and draft a " property settlement agreement" which resolves all of the issues in your divorce. Once that document is signed, our office can prepare and file the necessary paperwork to put through an uncontested divorce. Even if your spouse does not want to discuss your case with you, you can still get a divorce, if you serve them the papers, and they do not respond. This is called a "default divorce."
Explore the Advantages of a Streamlined Uncontested Divorce
It makes no sense to have a contested divorce when your issues can be settled quickly and inexpensively through an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse just want to separate and divorce, and you want nothing from him or her, and he or she wants nothing from you, our firm can process your uncontested divorce paperwork, saving you time and money. If, however, you have to resolve financial and property issues, or if you have children together and you need to figure out custody, child support, or alimony, after talking to you, we can write up a property settlement proposal. We will then send the proposal to your spouse, and if necessary negotiate the proposal with your spouse or their lawyer. Assuming that we can get to agreement, the settlement proposal is signed by all parties and becomes a part of your final divorce agreement.
Our extensive experience with uncontested divorce allows us to offer exceptional representation to clients. An uncontested divorce is the best process for those that believe they are likely to agree on the terms of their divorce without much negotiation or if the issues are minimal.
For those with little or no property to divide and no children, an uncontested divorce is ideal. At Green & Associates, we will help you quickly identify the issues in your uncontested divorce.
The truth is that most divorces actually are "uncontested." That is, very few cases actually go to trial. Frequently, the people enlist the assistance of attorneys, but over time all of the issues are resolved and they proceed with an uncontested divorce.
With or without an attorney, you and your spouse need to resolve all of the ancillary issues. You need to divide all of the assets (personal property, real estate, automobiles, bank accounts, pensions, 401-k and others) and divide all of the debts (mortgage, credit cards, tax liens, etc.). This is known as "equitable distribution."
Then you need to discuss whether there should be alimony, and if so, how much and for how long. If there are children, you need to decide where the children will live primarily, and where they will call their second home. Make sure you take into account vacations, important religious holidays, and special events such as First Holy Communion or Bar Mitzvah. For the children's sake, it is strongly urged that you adopt a harmonious view on these events, and show the children that you both still love them.
You also need to resolve how much child support will be paid. As to the child support issue, make sure you take into account the sharing of day care expenses and uninsured medical expenses. Also, you may want to discuss, or at least agree to discuss at some future date, the issue of college and related expenses for the children.
Now you know why divorce can be so expensive. Obviously, the more cooperative you and your spouse are, the less expensive and traumatic this experience is for everyone.
Once you have resolved all of those issues, you need to put them in writing. Attorneys call the written agreement by names such as "Property Settlement Agreement."
Well, once you have met the specific criteria for one of the grounds for divorce mentioned below, you can file for divorce. Your divorce should proceed relatively smoothly from this point forward.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Any of the following grounds may be used for divorce in New Jersey:
- No-fault: irreconcilable differences for at least six months or separation for 18 consecutive months (must be living in separate residences);
- Institutionalization for mental illness for at least 24 consecutive months;
- Deviant sexual conduct;
- Imprisonment for at least 18 months;
- Adultery (no time limit)
- Willful and continued desertion for at least 12 months;
- Habitual drunkenness or voluntary addiction;
- Extreme cruelty, either bodily or mental.
In an uncontested divorce or no-fault divorce frequently the grounds that will be used are irreconilable differences. If there are irreconcilable differences for a period of at least six months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation then this no-fault ground may be used for an uncontested divorce.
The below information is an overview of the uncontested New Jersey divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in New Jersey.
REQUIREMENTS FOR A NEW JERSEY DIVORCE
If you want an uncontested divorce in New Jersey, you must meet specific requirements according to New Jersey divorce law. One of the spouses must be a resident of New Jersey for at least a year. You must meet one of the nine necessary grounds to file for divorce. Once grounds for divorce have been determined, you and your spouse must divide all assets and debts. If children are involved, you must determine child custody and support. New Jersey does not require the use of a lawyer to file for divorce, but the necessary paperwork must be filed at one of the parties' local Superior Court.
To file for divorce in New Jersey, 1) a person must be a resident of the state for at least one year, or 2) when the ground is adultery that took place in New Jersey, one of the spouses must be a resident (there is no time limit).
The spouse filing the action is called the Plaintiff; the spouse responding is called the Defendant. Divorce actions are filed in the Chancery Division, Family Part, of the Superior Court, which is the county court.
In New Jersey, No-Fault grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences for at least six months or living separate and apart for 18 months with "no reasonable prospect of reconciliation." Fault grounds are 1) adultery, 2) willful and continued desertion for one year, 3) extreme cruelty, 4) deviant sexual conduct, 5) addiction, 6) institutionalization, and 7) imprisonment for 18 or more consecutive months.
Irreconcilable Differences must be for at least six months. Separation means living separate and apart and having separate lives. Usually, this means living in separate places, not merely in different rooms in the same house. As a rule, the 18-month period begins when the couple agree it begins, but one spouse may contest that date and thus delay the divorce.
STEPS FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
Unlike some states, New Jersey does not have a summary divorce. However, the simplest divorce action has five steps, which the Plaintiff does the following:
- Files a Verified Complaint for Divorce, which identifies the parties in the action and stipulates the action: divorce.
- Serves the Defendant, which means delivering a copy of the Verified Complaint with a Summons that gives the Defendant 35 days to file an Answer. The Summons is normally served by a sheriff’s officer in the county in which the Defendant resides.
- Negotiates with the Defendant or his or her attorney about the division of the marital estate, spousal and child support. In New Jersey, the parties may expedite these negotiations with the use of Early Settlement Panels (ESPs).
- Reaches a settlement with the Defendant dividing the assets and liabilities of the marital estate.
- Asks the court to schedule a final hearing, provided the statutory time guidelines are met.
To file on an uncontested basis, four threshold requirements must be met. They are as follows:
1. Unless alimony is sought, either or both spouses must have resided in New Jersey for at least the past year.
2. Both spouses agree on custody and child support.
3. Both agree on property division and distribution.
If the parties meet these requirements and if they are not seeking divorce on grounds of separation, a divorce may be completed in a short time.
FILING OF THE COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE
Going this route requires that these forms be completed:
- A Civil Case Information Statement, which describes the type of case before the court.
- A Verified Complaint for Divorce, which starts the action.
- Certification of Insurance Coverage, which certifies the continuation of medical insurance for the parties, i.e., the Defendant, Plaintiff and children.
- A Case Information Statement, which profiles the assets and liabilities of the parties.
- A Cover letter, which is sent to the Clerk of the Superior Court where the action is filed.
- A filing fee of $250 or $275 if there are unemancipated children. The additional $25 is for a parenting class that is generally mandatory. A filing fee of $135 or $160 if there are unemancipated children is necessary for filing an answer to the complaint.
At some point, the couples must agree on everything at issue, including the division of the marital estate, child custody and visitation, and this is incorporated into the Property Settlement Agreement (PSA). This may be accomplished by the parties themselves, their counsel and/or at the ESPs. At the final hearing, the PSA is incorporated by reference into the Final Judgment of Divorce, which is generally prepared by the Plaintiff.
In this routine, all necessary forms are served upon the spouse, who may or may not file an Appearance and his or her own Case Information Statement. If he or she does not file an Appearance or his or her own Case Information Statement, the Plaintiff may move for and receive a default judgment 35 days after the Defendant is served. This would be a Default Divorce.
A contested divorce requires that the Plaintiff file all the forms required in an uncontested action. The trajectory of a contested divorce, however, from filing to final judgment, is impossible to predict because each side jockeys for its own advantage. Normally, the Defendant files an Answer with Counterclaims. Normally, the Defendant has 35 days to answer the Complaint by filing a Counterclaim. The Plaintiff then has 20 days to file a response to the Counterclaim. The divorce may begin contested but end uncontested because even as the parties are maneuvering for battle they sometimes continue to negotiate.
Both spouses must file a Matrimonial Case Information Statement (CIS) within 20 days after the Defendant has answered the complaint. The CIS is each party’s statement of contested issues, assets and liabilities, property owned by the spouses, spousal income and important financial issues. It may be updated and amended up to 20 days before the final hearing on the divorce.
PENDENTE LITE MOTIONS
After filing the Complaint, the Plaintiff may seek motions to settle, on a temporary basis, such issues as temporary spousal and child support and custody.
In New Jersey, after the Verified Complaint is filed, the action is assigned to one of four judicial management tracks, which determines how quickly the action moves through the court. They are as follows:
1. Priority Track, which includes those cases involving contested custody and parenting time.
2. Complex Track, which are those requiring substantial court and litigant resources because of the number of parties, claims and defenses raised, the complexity of issues raised and overall difficulty of the case.
3. Expedited Track, which are those cases that can be tried with minimal pre-trial proceedings.
4. Standard Track, which are those actions not assigned to tracks 1, 2 or 3.
EARLY SETTLEMENT PANELS (ESPs)
All counties in New Jersey use Early Settlement Panels (ESPs), which upon referral of the court, sets forth positions as to material issues such as property division, child support and custody. Participation is not voluntary. Spouses who decline to participate may be penalized, either through the award of legal fees to the other spouse, or the dismissal of his or her pleadings.
SERVICE OF THE COMPLAINT
When a spouse cannot or will not be found, the Plaintiff must make what is called "diligent inquiries" to locate him or her. If these fail, the Plaintiff may ask the court for permission to use an alternative method of service. This is done in one of two ways: 1) serving the Defendant by what is called "substituted service" on a special agent, which means serving another person who is able to give the Summons and Complaint to the Defendant; or 2) Service by Publication, which mean publishing the divorce complaint in a newspaper.
A Plaintiff may file a Request for Order Permitting Service by Publication, an Order Permitting Service by Publication, and the Supporting Certification of the copies of letters of inquiry. The court then designates a newspaper in which the Plaintiff must publish the notice.
Regardless of the method of service, the Defendant must generally be served within four months of filing the Complaint. If the Defendant is not served within four months, the court may dismiss the action.
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