When one spouse, i.e. the plaintiff, serves the other, i.e. the defendant, with divorce papers, the defendant has 35 days to reply. If he or she has not responded within those 35 days, the plaintiff can ask the court for a default divorce within 60 days. Since members of the United States military are protected from default divorces, the plaintiff will have to verify that the defendant is not a servicemember. If your spouse has not responded to your divorce complaint, please read on, then contact one of our experienced uncontested divorce attorneys in Bergen County, NJ to learn what you should know about default divorce in New Jersey.
What is a default divorce and what does it entail in New Jersey?
In the Garden State, if the plaintiff files for divorce, a judge can grant the divorce even if the defendant neglects to respond or make court appearances. When that happens, that constitutes a “default” divorce judgment.
What the process will entail will depend on your case’s circumstances and which of New Jersey’s 21 counties you reside in. Nevertheless, even if the defendant elects not to reply, you may still have to go to court. You will have to attend a default hearing if you and your spouse did not work out an agreement beforehand and the defendant chose not to file in order to save money and time. In a default hearing, the judge will determine the following:
- The equitable distribution of marital property, including both assets and debts
- Alimony or spousal maintenance
- Child custody
- Child support
- Any other relief requested by the plaintiff
Even if he or she blew off previous opportunities to speak, your spouse can still respond at the default hearing, which may delay the final resolution of your divorce. If you would like help to possibly expedite this process by aiding the court in dismissing the defendant’s excuses, you should reach out to one of our skilled Bergen County divorce attorneys to discuss your next steps.
How can a Bergen County, New Jersey family law attorney help you with a default divorce?
A seasoned Northern New Jersey family law attorney will help collect and present evidence that the defendant has had more than his or her fair share of time in which to respond and the default hearing should proceed unimpeded. Our firm will help provide guidance and advice so that you can make informed decisions and comport yourself with dignity. You have waited long enough to go on with your life, 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.