NEW JERSEY DIVORCE
When the defendant is a nonresident, then you must have been a bona fide resident of this state for one year prior to the filing of the complaint, which must be stated in the complaint and proved at the final hearing (Drivers License, etc.). If both parties currently reside in the state, then there is no time period required.
If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
County of Filing:
You should file the divorce in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a New Jersey address in the county of filing. New Jersey civilian residents living overseas may file in New Jersey if they have maintained their residency in New Jersey.
Active duty members of the military (or their spouses) may file in New Jersey if they have been stationed in New Jersey for six months or were residents of New Jersey when they entered active duty. Smart Divorce.com staff includes former active duty officers and enlisted personnel and are completely knowledgeable on the special military requirements and the “Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act”. Our staff prides themselves on the service they provide our military members.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO-FAULT or FAULT ?
The no-fault ground for divorce usually used with these documents is “Irretrievable Breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family". Most clients use this ground since it does not require proof at the final hearing.
A full list of the fault grounds that are available for a divorce filed in New Jersey are as follows: (Requires proof or the case can be dismissed)
(1) In favor of either party, when the other was, at the time of the marriage physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state.
(2) For adultery.
(3) For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint.
(4) Imprisonment in the penitentiary of this or any other state for two years, the sentence being for seven years or longer.
(5) The commission of the crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage.
(6) For becoming addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine or other like drug.
(7) Upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together.
(8) In favor of either party, when the other, after marriage, shall have been confined in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years, if such party from whom a divorce is sought is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing of the complaint; provided, however, that the superintendent of the mental hospital in which such person is confined shall make a certified statement, under oath, that it is his opinion and belief, after a complete and full study and examination of such person, that such person is hopelessly and incurably insane.
(9) In favor of the husband, when the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency.
(10) In favor of either party to the marriage when the other has committed actual violence on his or her person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from his or her conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence.
(11) In favor of the wife when the wife has lived, or shall have lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years and without support from him for two years next preceding the filing of the complaint, and she has bona fide resided in this state during said period.
When a judgment of divorce is entered, in effect, it is awarded to both parties to the marriage.
New Jersey law requires that thirty (30) days elapse from the filing of the Complaint and summons or Answer and Waiver before a final judgment of divorce be entered. If your spouse signs the New Jersey "Answer and Waiver..." immediately after you file the complaint then you can divorced in as little as 30 days.
The law further requires that neither party to the divorce may remarry, except to each other, until sixty (60) days after the judgment of divorce is entered
PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE:
In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished by means of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). You and your spouse must agree to the property and debt division and memorialize your agreement in the Marital Separation Agreement, which will be incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ultimately ends your marriage. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as a basic fairness is maintained. You do not need to list items already divided or not an important issue in the divorce. You may revise the MSA after receipt of the documents from us by sending an email with your changes. There is never a charge for revisions at any time up to one year.
If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. If at the final hearing the divorce is still contested we do not provide advice for that hearing. You may need to consult an attorney or be prepared to tell the judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.
Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request in the documents.
The questionnaire you fill out will outline the custody, visitation and support for the children. We will prepare the documents accordingly, and we will also prepare a Marital Separation Agreement (at no additional cost) which outlines in specific detail all the provisions regarding the children. Both parties must attend the parenting class or get a waiver. A list of the places in New Jersey to attend may be obtained from the court.
The child support will either be an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or it will be determined for you by the court, according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. If you wish the court to calculate the amount then you will need to file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit which we provide. See “New Jersey Child Support Calculator” on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
You may have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. This determines how the decisions are made regarding the raising of the child(ren).
Physical custody may be with one residential parent or “SPLIT CUSTODY” where the child(ren) live a substantial time with each parent.
This can be any program agreed upon by the parties and may change from time to time. If the parties cannot agree then the state guidelines are in effect. State guidelines are outlined in the MSA provided with your documents. You do not need to list your present visitation agreement as it will change from time to time but you may if you wish. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason on the questionnaire.
You must file the divorce documents in the Circuit Court in the county that you are filing in. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Essex Vicinage Superior Court - Family Division: Robert N. Wilentz Court Complex 212 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102 Phone: (973)693-5701
Mercer Vicinage Superior Court: Mercer County Courthouse: 175 South Broad Street Trenton, NJ 08650-0068 Phone: (609) 571-4000
Camden Vicinage Superior Court: Hall of Justice 101 South 5th Street Camden NJ 08103 Phone: (856) 379-2200
Hudson Vicinage Superior Court: William J. Brennan, Jr. Courthouse 583 Newark Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306 Phone: (201)795-6000
The court filing fees for a divorce inn New Jersey is approximately $250 plus $25 for the Parent Education Class (With Children).
If your spouses whereabouts are unknown, then a publication will need to be completed to serve your spouse. The publication fee is approximately $75.
There are no additional fees for an uncontested divorce.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
1. The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the complaint with the court. You can hand deliver the documents , mail them or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even though your spouse is incarcerated.
2. If your spouse will not sign or you not not sure if your spouse will sign then you can get service by having the sheriff in spouse’s county serve a copy of the filed documents along with other documents requiring spouse’s signature. You can contact the sheriff in any state to serve your spouse. You can also get service by Certified Mail, (Return Receipt Requested) if your spouse lives out of state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can get service by having the prison/jail officials serve your spouse.
3. Service by publication. If you cannot find your spouse after a diligent search then you can publish. The publication fee for the newspaper is approximately $65 but varies for different counties. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
Go to our questionnaire and get started today.