Arons & Solomon | April 4, 2016 | Articles
Read Arons & Solomon’s post discussing contested divorce, as opposed to uncontested divorce in New Jersey, and how you can prepare for the process.
Every divorce case is different with varying legal twists and turns. Very few divorces are routine with each divorce having its own distinct parenting and custody complications, financial and spousal support concerns, division of marital property and debt, and other legal complexities. New Jersey has created a variety of options for divorce depending on the circumstances of each varying case.
An uncontested divorce is a procedural action where the spouses reach decisions as to the terms of their divorce, without going to trial — meaning the spouses agree on everything and do not require a court to divide assets or make determinations concerning topics like child custody or child and spousal support. While no divorce is truly ‘uncontested’ meaning that no disagreements exists between a former husband and wife, an uncontested divorce is one of the fastest, easiest, and least-expensive options available to couples who are willing to work together to move forward with their own lives and end their marriage. Still, when tensions are high and complex familial issues are at stake, an uncontested divorce may not be an option. In these situations, spouses approach a court to adjudicate their dispute — i.e. a contested divorce.
The counterpart to an Uncontested Divorce is a Contested Divorce, which is often a more time-intensive and costly process. The initiation for this type of divorce begins with the filing of a Complaint for Divorce. The complaint gets the divorce process moving officially within the court system. After the filing of the complaint, the non-filing spouse must receive a copy of the complaint, usually through service of process. Shortly thereafter, the spouse must file a response with the court.
At this time, information must be exchanged including financial information, so as to help create a big-picture understanding of how property, money, and debts will be divided among the spouses. A form must be filled out known as a Case Information Statement, which lists assets, liabilities, income, and expenses of the parties. Once the case information has been exchanged, discovery will typically begin where documents, written questions, and the production of things such as bank statements and tax returns will be requested. Furthermore, depositions may be taken where you are asked to answer questions to the opposing attorney, under oath.
Settlements in Contested Divorce cases are often promoted, where each party is afforded an opportunity to review settlement issues before trial. An Early Settlement Panel may be used to help with the settlement process, whereby they help provide independent and unbiased opinions to spouses who are litigating, with the goal of resolving the issues in their case. Usually custody issues are not handled by the Panel, and are left to a court to decide.
Ultimately, if a divorce does not settle before trial, the case will go before a judge and a trial will be conducted. Trial is a lengthy and expensive process, and often exposes both sides to much risk. After all the evidence and information is presented before a judge, the judge will apply the law based on the facts presented. A judge’s decision may be appealed, however, appeals are costly and require much more time to fully proceed.
THE EXPERIENCED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS AT ARONS & SOLOMON ARE HERE TO HELP ADVISE YOU ABOUT DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIVORCE
In New Jersey, fewer than one percent of all divorce cases end up in trial. Still, contested divorces often begin when emotions are flaring and much is at stake including child custody, alimony, finances, and marital debt. Before you decide that contesting a divorce is your best option, speak with a family law attorney who understands the risks and benefits of such a method for pursuing divorce. Often, people enter into the legal procedure of divorce with little understanding of the complexity, expense, and burden divorce has on their family life, job, and emotional well being. Call the family law attorneys who specialize in divorce at Arons & Solomon at 201-350-1611, or online at www.AronsSolomon.com to learn more about Contested Divorce, and the options available to you under your circumstances.