Divorce laws in New Jersey allow for both fault and no-fault divorces. To file for divorce in New Jersey, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least one year before filing. The following is a general overview of the divorce process in New Jersey:
Grounds for Divorce: In New Jersey, you can file for a no-fault divorce if you have been living separately for at least 18 months, or if you can demonstrate irreconcilable differences. You can also file for a fault-based divorce if your spouse has committed adultery, deserted you for at least 12 months, been imprisoned for at least 18 months, or has engaged in extreme cruelty.
Filing the Complaint: To begin the divorce process, the spouse initiating the divorce (the plaintiff) must file a complaint with the appropriate court. The complaint will include the grounds for divorce, and the relief being sought.
Service of Process: Once the complaint has been filed, the plaintiff must serve a copy of the complaint and summons to the other spouse (the defendant). The defendant then has 35 days to file a response.
Discovery: Once the complaint has been served, both parties may begin the process of discovery. This involves gathering and exchanging information relevant to the divorce, such as financial records, property valuations, and witness statements.
Settlement or Trial: If the parties are able to come to an agreement on all issues, a settlement agreement will be drafted and submitted to the court for approval. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial, where a judge will make a final determination on all issues.
Final Judgment of Divorce: Once all issues have been resolved, a final judgment of divorce will be entered. This will include provisions for child custody and support, division of assets and debts, and any other matters that were addressed during the divorce process.