Initiating a Divorce in New Jersey | What You Should Know

divorce new jersey

You have done everything in your power to save your marriage, but nothing has worked. There is no shame in admitting that you and your spouse need to go your separate ways, but you should know that the divorce process may be long, grueling and emotionally draining. So, where do you start? If you are asking yourself that very question, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Bergen County divorce attorneys to learn what you should know about initiating a divorce in New Jersey.

How do you initiate divorce proceedings in New Jersey?

While the Garden State permits you to represent yourself, we would strongly advise against doing so because there are many rules and regulations that you will have to be mindful of. Instead, you should reach out to one of our skilled Bergen County NJ family law and divorce attorneys before you proceed. Once, you have done that, you will have to go through the following steps:

  • Qualifying for a New Jersey divorce: Before you can file, you or your spouse must have been a Garden State resident for the last 12 consecutive months, unless the reason for seeking divorce is adultery.
  • Determining if the divorce will be on fault or no-fault grounds: Fault grounds apply when you are accusing your spouse of wrongdoing, i.e. infidelity, mental or physical cruelty or desertion. Conversely, a no-fault divorce, wherein neither spouse is blaming the other for the collapse of the marriage, requires either the spouses to have been living separate and apart for the last 18 consecutive months or the spouses to have irreconcilable differences that have caused the marriage to break down for a period of six months, with no reasonable chance of that changing.
  • Preparing the divorce forms: The plaintiff, i.e. the one initiating the divorce, will need to complete the following documents:
    • Complaint for divorce
    • Summons
    • Confidential litigant information sheet
    • Certification of self-represented litigant and dispute resolution alternatives
    • Certification regarding redaction of personal identifiers
    • Certification of verification and non-collusion
    • One of the forms related to the precise fault or no-fault grounds
  • Determining where to file your divorce papers: The plaintiff will need to file in the state and/or county that has jurisdiction over their divorce.
  • Serving the divorce papers: Once the court clerk provides you with a copy of the complaint stamped “filed,” you should fill out the summons and the attached proof of service and prepare to serve your spouse.

How your spouse will answer the complaint is something only he or she can know, but some of the most crucial work is now behind you. There will be difficult days ahead of you, but our firm will offer you much-needed support and guidance, so please give us a call today.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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