Fort Lee Divorce Lawyer Stands Up for Clients’ Rights
Get the Experienced Help You Need to Move On With Your Life
Nobody goes into marriage expecting to divorce. But life happens and issues arise in marriages that lead to one or both spouses wanting to leave the relationship and move on with their lives. If this has happened in your marriage, you may feel confused and anxious about navigating the divorce process and unsure what your rights are during this difficult time. When you and your spouse have children together, the prospect of divorcing can feel even more turbulent. During this sensitive time when any decisions that are made can affect you and your children forever, it is smart to get the help of an experienced Fort Lee divorce lawyer who will safeguard your interests throughout the process.
Turn to Our Divorce Lawyers servicing Fort Lee, NJ, for Help
There are many issues that must be addressed during divorce. They include matters of child custody, how property will be divided, which can be especially complex for high-net-worth couples, and whether one spouse will pay alimony to the other. Sometimes spouses can work out these issues between themselves with help from their attorneys or a mediator. In other situations, negotiating the issues is simply not possible because of contention between spouses, and the New Jersey courts must decide these matters.
No matter your situation, our divorce lawyers near Fort Lee, NJ, can be relied on to look out for your rights throughout all the steps to ending your marriage. Contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC today at (201) 880-9770 to speak with our Fort Lee divorce attorney.
Divorce Filing Grounds in New Jersey
When you file for divorce in New Jersey, you must state a reason or ground for seeking to dissolve your marriage. N.J.S.A 2A:34-2 describes the grounds the state recognizes for divorcing. Spouses who file on fault grounds must prove the other spouse did something that caused them to seek divorce. With no-fault grounds, you don’t accuse your spouse of doing anything wrong.
The following sections discuss both no-fault and fault divorce in more detail.
Filing for Divorce as No-Fault
Stating “irreconcilable differences” is a form of filing on no-fault grounds. You can also get a no-fault divorce if you have lived separate and apart for 18 months. Because fault does not have to be shown in this type of divorce, there is typically less dispute and contention, which may allow for a faster and more reasonable settlement on the issues.
Filing for Divorce on Fault Grounds
In contrast, if you file on fault grounds, your divorce will probably be more antagonistic and complex because you will have to show evidence to the court to prove fault against your spouse, including potentially calling family members or other parties in as witnesses to your spouse’s conduct.
Fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:
- Drug addiction or alcohol abuse
- Extreme physical or mental cruelty
- Institutionalization for mental illness
- Deviant sexual behavior.
While filing on fault grounds will likely make the divorce process more stressful and difficult, there can be good reasons for doing so, depending upon your situation. Fault filings can sometimes make the difference in getting an advantageous decision when it comes to child custody and visitation matters, depending on the fault reasons. There may also be jurisdictional strategic reasons for filing on adultery grounds. Our Fort Lee divorce attorney can discuss the nuances and strategy of a fault filing with you.
Every Situation is Different – Our Fort Lee Divorce Attorney Will Guide You Based on Your Unique Circumstances
Deciding what grounds are most beneficial to file on is one of the first steps to ending your marriage. There are many more matters that must be addressed during divorce. Is your spouse asking for alimony? Do you have a business you want to protect from the divorce? Is your spouse threatening to move with your children? These are just a handful of concerns that may need to be resolved during your divorce proceedings.
Our Fort Lee divorce lawyers at Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, will ensure that you understand your rights in any issue that may arise. Call us for help at (201) 880-9770.
Types of Divorce in New Jersey
There are two basic types of divorce in New Jersey. Uncontested divorce and contested divorce. What type of divorce you will experience depends on your relationship and dynamics with your spouse and the facts involved in your individual situation.
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 the issues involved in ending your marriage, such as child custody, child support, property division, and alimony. Obviously, if you agree, it can make the divorce process smoother and less antagonistic and usually much faster than contested divorces. However, if you disagree on any issue, then it becomes a contested divorce, because there are outstanding issues you and your spouse will need to negotiate, likely with the assistance of professionals.
Even if your divorce is uncontested, it is still helpful to engage the assistance of our Fort Lee 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. Not only this, but we often come across parties who believe their matter is uncontested but upon further review, it becomes painstakingly clear that certain issues were left out and not discussed. This is problematic, because if an agreement is left silent on any one important issue, or the language of the agreement is unclear or doesn’t have certain specific protocols in place, then you will most likely just be inviting additional litigation after your divorce. This additional litigation could be just as costly, if not more so, than the divorce itself.
The point is that you should ensure you have a comprehensive divorce agreement now, or you will likely fight over those issues later. We caution clients all the time that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. It is important to understand that the price is what you pay, but value and future protection is what you receive.
By its very name, a contested divorce simply means there are outstanding divorce issues unresolved 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. We can accomplish this by involving professionals into your matter who understand these issues and can assist you in coming up with creative solutions to propose that would be acceptable to both of you; our Fort Lee divorce lawyers do the negotiations for you, so you are not directly in the thick of things. We will act as your buffer because we know how emotional and unsettling the divorce process can be as a whole and to everyone involved.
The issues that spouses may disagree about in a contested divorce include whether to divorce at all, grounds for divorce, 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 strongly 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.
Our Fort Lee Divorce Lawyers Provide Effective Representation You Can Count On
We want your divorce to go as smoothly as possible for all parties involved. As extremely experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorneys, we will ensure that every issue in your uncontested divorce is addressed, and we will also counsel you on the impact of each individual provision you and your spouse may have agreed to. We are also not afraid to fight smartly and aggressively for you if your divorce is contested.
Call our divorce attorneys in Fort Lee, NJ, today at (201) 880-9770 to schedule a consultation so we can learn about your situation and you can learn how we can help you.
Our Fort Lee 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 the 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 don’t respond, the divorce may be granted without their participation in what we call a default divorce. There are more details on default divorces on this website.)
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 doesn’t 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 Fort Lee 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.
Our Fort Lee Divorce Attorney Answers FAQs
How long does a divorce take from start to finish 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. If those issues involve emotional triggers for one of you — such as custody and visitation, alimony and/or business valuation — then the divorce matter may be protracted. A divorce that involves a lot of complexity and conflict can take six (6) months to a year or longer. 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.
If I don’t agree with a judge’s decision related to my divorce, can I appeal?
If you have a contested divorce and were unable to agree with your spouse on one or more of the issues, then a Judge will decide those issues at a trial. You can appeal a judge’s decision, but must do so within 45 days of the decision. However, you cannot appeal just because you are unhappy with the decision. You must have a valid legal ground for appealing — the court didn’t apply the law correctly, ignored certain critical evidence, or abused its discretion, for example. You can’t appeal simply because you don’t 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 the appeals process.
Do judges more often favor wives over husbands in child custody and other divorce decisions?
While it may sometimes feel that way to men, the courts are instructed to look at all the facts involved when making child custody, parenting time/visitation, child support, alimony, property division, and business valuation decisions. The gender of the party should not be a factor. But the reality is that sometimes men going through divorce do feel there is favoritism toward their wives, especially in children’s matters and custody determinations.
And as judges are human beings, there potentially could be unconscious cultural bias left over from a time when men traditionally worked and women stayed home to care for the kids. At our law firm, we focus on advocating for men and fathers in marital and family law issues and will work hard to make sure you are given equal weight in all divorce-related decisions.
Contact Our Effective Divorce Attorneys in Fort Lee 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. 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 that 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 with an experienced Fort Lee divorce lawyer, call our office at (201) 880-9770 or fill out our online form.