A Chatham Divorce Lawyer Will Safeguard Your Rights
Get Experienced Legal Help to End Your Marriage
Divorce is life-changing and stressful, even if you and your spouse agree to proceed with the divorce, or think you are. However, if the relationship between you and your spouse is contentious and you do not agree about ending the marriage or significant issues related to the divorce, the process can feel overwhelming. When your marriage is breaking up, no matter your unique circumstances, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal difficulties and pursue the results that you and your children need.
When you have an effective Chatham divorce lawyer representing you during this sensitive time, it can help relieve your anxiety to know that your rights will be protected. Whether you are the one initiating the divorce or have been served with divorce papers, you can count on Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC to provide responsive and knowledgeable guidance during every step to dissolving your marriage.
Turn to Our Divorce Lawyers Near Chatham, NJ
When you work with our law firm, we will advocate for you throughout the divorce process. Our attorneys will make sure you understand your rights in every area of your divorce, including when it comes to concerns about property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.
Call us today at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a time to speak with one of our experienced divorce lawyers serving Chatham, NJ. We have extensive experience assisting clients in all types of divorce — including very complex, high-net-worth divorce cases.
Why Choose Us?
We believe you should choose our Chatham divorce lawyers because of the quality of legal service we provide. As a law firm made up of experienced attorneys who practice only divorce and family law, we are not distracted by other types of cases.
We can dig deeply into the intricacies of every matter we take on to strategize the best way forward based on the specific circumstances. We work on a limited number of cases at any one time to ensure that every case gets the undivided attention it deserves.
This attention to excellence has resulted in positive reviews from clients and accolades from professional peers:
- Our founder Carrie S. Schultz: is the recipient of numerous professional awards recognizing her legal process in divorce and family law.
- Attorney Carrie S. Schultz is certified as a Matrimonial Law Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which is a certification granted to lawyers who demonstrate high standards in matrimonial law practice.
- Our attorneys have been ranked among the “10 Best” by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys.
We are here to help you get the result you need for you and your children. Reach out today to learn how we can help with your situation.
We Can Help by Reducing Your Stress During Divorce
Divorce ranks right behind the death of a loved one when it comes to life’s most stressful events. Our divorce lawyers serving Chatham, NJ, have seen the effects of stress firsthand when spouses decide to end their life together and go their separate ways.
Divorcing is made even more difficult when there are children. While we cannot fix the personal problems that have led you and/or your spouse to seek a divorce, we can help to reduce your stress and that of your family by ensuring that the legal process goes as smoothly as possible for your unique situation. To be frank, divorce sucks. We want to help make it suck less for you and your children.
Our Chatham divorce attorneys will prepare you for what is to come and guide you from the beginning to the end of the process. We will quickly address any questions and concerns you may have. When you are a client, we promise to respond to your queries within 24 to 48 hours — so you are not left feeling anxious and confused.
We seek to resolve divorce issues with the least contention possible as the antagonism between spouses exponentially increases stress. In short, we want to get you and your kids the best outcome we can with the fewest bumps in the road.
Go here to learn more about coping with stress during a divorce. To speak to an understanding Chatham divorce attorney, call (201) 880-9770.
Grounds for Divorcing in New Jersey
You must give a reason, called a ground, for wishing to end your marriage. N.J.S.A 2A:34-2 describes the grounds for ending a marriage. That reason, however, can be an “irreconcilable difference” which is the same as a no-fault divorce.
When you file on no-fault grounds you are not blaming your spouse for doing something wrong. You can just say that you had irreconcilable differences. Or you can file on no-fault grounds if you have lived separately and apart for at least 18 months. Most people file for divorce on no-fault grounds because you don’t have to prove that one person did something wrong, which can also make the divorce process more amicable. If the divorce process is more amicable, there may be a better opportunity for a faster and more reasonable settlement.
Fault Divorce Grounds
If you file on fault grounds, you must prove to the court that your spouse did something that caused you to seek divorce. In New Jersey, you can file on fault grounds for the following reasons:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Extreme cruelty
- Institutionalization for mental illness
- Deviant sexual behavior.
You might wonder why you would file on fault grounds if it makes the process more complex and probably more contentious. There are sometimes strategic reasons for filing on fault grounds if you have compelling evidence of wrongdoing. Sometimes filing on a fault ground may influence child custody and visitation decisions and it is important to let the court know upfront about those incidents so the Court gets an immediate flavor of the dynamics of the relationship and the issues that will be the focus of the litigation. You may also want to file under the fault ground of adultery for jurisdictional strategic purposes, which you should discuss with an attorney.
Types of Divorce
There are two basic types of divorce: uncontested and contested.
You can get an uncontested divorce if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree that you both want to divorce and agree on all (and we really mean every single one) of the issues involved in ending your marriage. Obviously, if you agree, or there is even just one major or minor issue outstanding, then you fall within the category of a contested divorce. Most people think they have an uncontested divorce because the major issues have been resolved, but it sometimes turns out that there are issues that neither you or your spouse thought about that actually are very important to be addressed, negotiated, and solved.
However, even if your divorce is uncontested, it is still helpful to engage the assistance of a Chatham divorce attorney who can help you with the paperwork and other legal steps involved, ensure your rights are safeguarded during the process, and aid in alleviating potential issues that could turn your uncontested divorce into a contested one.
You should ensure you have a comprehensive divorce agreement now, or you will likely fight over those issues later. We always caution clients that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. It is important to understand that price is what you pay, but value and future protection are what you receive.
By its very name, a contested divorce simply means outstanding unresolved divorce issues between you and your spouse. It does not necessarily mean that the process must be adversarial. It just means we must address and find compromised resolutions to the issues you and your spouse currently do not see eye-to-eye on.
In a contested divorce, spouses may disagree about include whether to divorce at all, filing grounds, child custody, visitation, child support, property division, alimony, and other facets of divorce such as dissipation of assets or business valuations.
The time in which a contested divorce can become uncontested is directly proportionally related to the complexity of the issues involved and the level of acrimony between spouses. Couples may be ordered to attend case status/management conferences with the assigned Judge and external mediation sessions to try and resolve the issues rather than having a judge decide each issue at a lengthy and costly trial.
The New Jersey courts recommend in contested divorce cases that spouses have their own attorneys to help them understand their rights and responsibilities so that they don’t make any mistakes that will have long-term implications that would be very hard to undo or fix later.
Get Strong Legal Support from Our Chatham Divorce Lawyer
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a Chatham divorce lawyer from our New Jersey law firm will make sure your rights are protected, as well as ensure that you understand what is expected of you during divorce proceedings. Call us today at (201) 880-9770 to schedule a case evaluation.
Chatham Divorce Lawyer Explains the Filing Process
To file for divorce in New Jersey, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for 12 months (1 year) prior to filing. You can file in the county where you live or if you and your spouse are physically separated, in the county where that person lives. Once you have filed, there are two ways to serve your spouse. You can send your spouse a copy of the Complaint in the mail, along with a Summons and Acknowledgment of Service document to sign. Please be aware that your Complaint will not be considered served until and unless your spouse voluntarily acknowledges by signing that document that he/she/they received it. You must serve your spouse within 10 days of receiving the filed Complaint back from the Court. If you want to be extra sure you are complying with the Court rules, then it might be prudent to hire a process server or Sheriff’s Officer to personally serve your spouse. If you personally serve your spouse, they have 35 days to respond. (If they do not respond, the divorce may be granted without their participation in what we call a default divorce.)
When your spouse does Answer the Complaint for Divorce: they can either:
- File an answer contesting what is in the complaint
- File an answer that also makes a counterclaim against you for divorce
- File a Notice of Appearance that does not contest the complaint but still outlines their requests on certain issues like property division, child custody, visitation, equitable distribution, alimony, and/or other issues.
Both the procedural and substantive steps to divorcing can be confusing, especially in contested divorces. Whether you are the spouse who is filing, or you have been served with a divorce complaint, you do not have to try and figure out the divorce process on your own. Our Chatham divorce attorney can guide you as soon as you are considering divorce or learn that your spouse is planning to file. We will be at your side throughout the entire process.
Chatham Divorce Lawyers Answer FAQs
How long does a divorce take in New Jersey?
An uncontested divorce realistically will still take a couple of months to be finalized. With a contested divorce, how long it takes can depend on how many issues are unresolved and how much time it takes for you and your spouse to ultimately come to an agreement on those issues and can range anywhere, realistically, from five (5) months to just over a year or so.
If those issues involve emotional triggers for one of you such as custody and visitation, alimony, and/or business valuations, then the divorce matter may be protracted. A divorce that involves a lot of complexity and conflict is sure to be on the higher end of time.
The New Jersey Courts would like to see all divorce cases conclude within 12 months, but that doesn’t always happen for a myriad of reasons which could range from the animosity between the parties to procedural backlog at the courthouse.
What do divorce lawyers in Chatham, NJ, charge?
The cost of a divorce in Chatham, NJ is directly proportionate to how much time a case takes. The more issues to resolve and negotiate, the more time, the more it may cost. However, we do our best to streamline and focus on the hardest issues first to resolve and really take a strategic approach to prioritizing what issues are the most critical and important to focus on and so you know where to place a majority of your divorce budget.
Our Chatham, NJ, area divorce lawyers are neither the most nor the least expensive. But when you work with us, we will seek to get you the results you need in the most efficient way possible based on your situation and goals.
If I do not agree with a judge’s decision related to my divorce, can I appeal?
If you have a contested divorce and are unable to agree with your spouse on one or more of the issues, then a Judge will ultimately decide those issues after a Trial. Should your case proceed to Trial (which is rare by the way), you can appeal a judge’s decision but must do so within 45 days of the final decision. However, you cannot appeal just for being unhappy with the decision.
You must have a valid legal ground for appealing, such as the court did not apply the law correctly, ignored certain critical evidence, or abused its discretion, as examples. You cannot appeal simply because you do not like the decision. We can help you understand whether you have an appropriate reason to appeal and, if you do, discuss what an appeal looks like and the next steps in an appeals process.
Contact Our Effective Divorce Attorneys Serving Chatham Today
We Have Your Back When Your Marriage Is Ending
Decisions made during divorce can negatively or positively affect you for the rest of your life. You can start out with an advantage by getting knowledgeable legal assistance from a family law firm that will always have your back. We want to do it right the first time to avoid you making costly and impactful mistakes and having to spend extraordinary fees in post-divorce litigation.
At Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, we understand the difficult issues that arise during divorce proceedings, and we will work hard to assure the process goes as smoothly as possible based on the circumstances in your unique situation and give you an education in the process. To speak to one of our experienced divorce attorneys near Chatham, call our office at (201) 880-9770 or fill out our online form.