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How Long Does a Divorce Take to Finalize in New Jersey?

26 Nov 2021, 01:42 GMT+10

The length of the divorce isn't determined by any law. Those who are civil and can mutually agree on dividing assets can finalize a divorce much faster. You can finalize the divorce process in as little as six to eight weeks in an uncontested divorce. Contested divorces can take longer to finalize, but even if you need to settle disputes inside a courtroom, many complicated divorces can still be finalized and settled within a year.

Factors That Affect Divorce Time

If you decide to file a no-fault divorce then the process won't take long. A no-fault divorce means that you cite irreconcilable differences as grounds for the divorce. This kind of divorce means both parties state the marriage has been falling apart for at least six months and there isn't a likelihood to repair it. If there are assets or children involved, or if both parties blame the other party, then the process is going to take much longer. Issues that can impact the time include custody, spousal support, debt division, child support, and what happens with marital property.

Child Custody and Contested Divorces

A contested divorce means equitable distribution. This doesn't automatically mean that properties and assets are equally split between both parties. It means that properties are divided based on what the court thinks is fair. If the marriage is contested and a couple is unable to work out a child custody agreement then it's up to the court to decide who is better suited to care for the children. The court decides by looking at the child's relationship with each parent and what they feel is best for the child. In New Jersey, both parents need to financially support the child, regardless or whether or not they have custody. The court decides how much each parent pays based on different financial factors.

Uncontested Divorce

If there is an uncontested divorce, it means both parties agree to the divorce and there aren't any disagreements on factors such as child support, custody, division of marital property, or alimony. Uncontested divorces mean a faster divorce process and this is appealing to many, but it can be risky. Divorces that are based on a couple's settlement agreement without the help of an attorney can have negative effects long term on parental rights and finances. Even in an uncontested divorce, it's still important to have a consultation with NJ divorce attorneys in order to prevent long-term future consequences.

Are You Able to Get Divorced without Going to Court in New Jersey?

If you and your spouse are able to negotiate and both of you can arrive at a fair settlement that splits your assets then you are able to avoid going to court. If you have a separation agreement and no longer live together then this is more of a formality than a long negotiation. How long it takes to reach an agreement depends on how cooperative your spouse is and how many issues you have to settle.

The marital property needs to be divided. If there is a big inequality in incomes then one spouse will likely need to work out an alimony agreement with the other. If there are children in the marriage then child support, visitation, and custody need to be ironed out. Whole life insurance, marital debts, and pensions will also need to be included in the settlement agreement. Once you are able to reach an agreement it needs to be put in writing and notarized by both parties. If there is a divorce action already filed then a date for an uncontested divorce is made with the court. As long as the court finds the agreement reasonable and fair, the judge won't make any changes and it's incorporated into the Final Judgement of Divorce.

Waiting Period to Get Divorced in New Jersey

Unlike in neighboring states, there is no broad mandatory waiting period. Divorce doesn't require consent of both spouses in the state and once a complaint for divorce is filed then the process can start immediately. New Jersey also doesn't have a process for legal separation and couples don't need a court order to start living separately. Not living with your spouse for longer than 18 months does provide a cause for action and a legal reason for filing for divorce, but in New Jersey it's not required. Read: Download Pikashow app for pc

New Jersey has recognized irreconcilable differences since 2007 and you don't need to provide a specific complaint in order to claim separation. In order to get a divorce for irreconcilable differences, your marriage needs to have been broken for at least six months and there is no possibility of reconciling with the spouse.

The State Wants to Move Along Your Divorce

In recent years, the state has become more apparent in showing that it wants cases settled within one year. If your case was filed in May of a particular year then the courts place great emphasis on getting your case settled by March or April of the following year, before your case has reached the one-year mark. There is also the issue of getting cases settled before the end of the court year.

The court year goes from July 1st until June 30th. If your case is nearing the one-year mark and June is also approaching then there will be a big push by judges to get the case settled before the end of June. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is the government entity that controls the court system. It keeps good statistics on the number of cases that have reached a settlement or trial in a given year. Meeting the statistics for getting rid of a certain number of cases in a year is important to judges who haven't reached tenure. Judges are only granted tenure after their first seven years on the bench. It's a rare occurrence that judges are denied tenure.

One of the hardest parts of divorce is not finalizing the divorce agreement, but instead the emotional resistance to ending the marriage green screen backgrounds. Signing the paperwork and finalizing the settlement formally marks the end and it's a point of no return. Some spouses try to stall the final settlement for as long as possible by asking for some settled issues to be renegotiated or raising grievances about some division of assets. This can come from a desire to stay in contact with the spouse and it can be hard to admit the marriage is finally over. Dragging out the divorce can be a way to delay the final goodbye. Spouses those aren't emotionally ready to accept the divorce settlement run the risk of prolonging the divorce.

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