Divorce can be as simple or as complicated as both parties make it.

There are many variables that can speed up or slow down a divorce proceeding, including: relationship dynamics, financial arrangements, the needs of the children, the ability of both parents to communicate with each other, the list goes on.

Since every family is different, the duration of time required to finalize a divorce settlement will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, there are a few guidelines established by the State of New Jersey that will directly affect the timeline of your divorce.

1) Residency Requirements

A residency requirement is the length of time one or both parties must be a resident of the state before filing for divorce. Residency requirements range from no time at all, to one year.

In the State of New Jersey, at least one spouse must be a NJ resident for a minimum of one year before filing for divorce. In cases of adultery, the residency requirement is waived if one spouse currently resides in the state.

2) Separation Requirements

In some states, spouses must live separately for a designated length of time before obtaining a divorce. Separation requirements can range from none to three years. In the State of New Jersey, there is no across-the-board separation requirement to begin a divorce.

However, there is a requirement for one specific ground for divorce: New Jersey residents must be voluntarily separated without interruption for 18 months (with no chance of reconciliation) before filing for a “no-fault” divorce.

It’s worth noting that the 18-month separation is rarely used these days. It has largely been replaced by filing on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” which has a much shorter waiting period of six months.

“No-fault” divorce is just one of many filing options. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you determine what filing strategy works best for your needs.

3) Waiting Periods

Some states require a minimum amount of time to pass before a couple can file for divorce, schedule a court hearing, or enter a final judgment. Waiting periods can range from none to 90 days. There is no across-the-board waiting period in the State of New Jersey, but there are waiting period requirements for specific grounds.

For example, if you want a divorce based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” you must demonstrate the breakdown of the marriage over a period of at least six months. If you want to file for divorce on the grounds of “desertion,” you must prove your spouse has been out of the picture for at least one year.

4) Crime Convictions

In the State of New Jersey, an individual can file for divorce if his/her spouse was convicted of a crime requiring at least 18 months of served time. The couple must not resume cohabitation following the spouse’s imprisonment.

5) Reasons of Insanity

Unfortunately, deeming your ex “certifiably insane” is not a matter of your opinion. In the State of New Jersey, an individual must prove their spouse is permanently insane and has been living in a hospital or institution for at least two years. This will require testimony from psychiatrists.

6) Other Requirements

Some states may require marriage counseling, mediation, or a parent education class on divorce’s effects on children before allowing a couple to file for divorce. The State of New Jersey requires a parent education class, which may be waived if both parties have agreed to a Parenting Plan or settled all issues of the divorce (in writing) before they are scheduled to attend the class.

New Jersey does not require marriage counseling, but it does require mediation. This process usually occurs after filing the Divorce Complaint, but before the early settlement panel (a mandatory court appearance following the discovery stage).

In addition to legal requirements, other factors may affect the time required to finalize a divorce settlement, such as:

  • How long it takes to have your spouse served with divorce papers
  • Extent to which your case is contested
  • The court’s docket backlog

Hire a North Jersey Divorce Lawyer

Choosing your grounds for divorce can be complex. You should always seek the advice of a lawyer focused exclusively on divorce and family law.

The divorce attorneys at Arons & Solomon can help you create a filing strategy that meets the emotional needs of your family and gives you peace of mind that you’re moving forward in the most productive way possible.