LIVINGSTON DIVORCE LAWYER WILL SAFEGUARD YOUR RIGHTS
GET EXPERIENCED LEGAL HELP WHEN ENDING YOUR MARRIAGE
Divorce is life-changing and stressful, even if you and your spouse are in agreement or think you are. However, if the relationship between you and your spouse is contentious and you don’t agree about ending the marriage or significant issues related to the divorce, the process can feel overwhelming. When your marriage is ending, no matter your unique circumstances, an experienced Livingston divorce lawyer can help you navigate the legal difficulties and pursue the results that you and your children need.
TURN TO OUR DIVORCE LAWYERS SERVICING LIVINGSTON, NJ
When you work with Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our divorce lawyers serving Livingston, NJ, will guide you throughout the entire divorce process. We will make sure you understand your rights in every area of your divorce, including when it comes to concerns about property division, child custody, alimony and other areas. We have extensive experience advocating for clients in all types of divorce—including complex, high-net-worth divorce cases. Call our law firm today at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a time to speak with an experienced Livingston divorce lawyer.
WHY CHOOSE OUR LIVINGSTON DIVORCE ATTORNEY?
Our Livingston divorce attorney and her entire talented team are focused on providing responsive and strategic legal guidance that is tailored to your individual situation and goals. We know that while different divorce cases may involve similar issues, such as disputes over child custody or property division, the individuals and their relationships and circumstances in every single divorce are unique. Our attorney Carrie S. Schultz:
- Is a highly recognized divorce lawyer in North New Jersey with 20-plus years of experience
- Is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney
- Will always be honest with you, even if the news may be less than positive.
When you are considering filing for divorce, or if you have been served with divorce papers, do not wait to get help. We respond to all inquiries within 24 to 48 hours. To learn more about our commitment to providing top quality legal services, read what our clients have to say.
HERE IS WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU WHEN YOU ARE DIVORCING
Even when spouses have an amicable relationship, divorce can still be very stressful. The legal steps involved may seem confusing and complex. When divorcing parties are at odds over the divorce and the decisions involved in ending a marriage, the stress grows exponentially. You may be concerned about child custody and visitation arrangements, worry whether you will get a fair property division decision, or wonder whether you will have to pay alimony and how much.
Our divorce lawyers in the Livingston, NJ, area can help you by:
- Ensuring you have a clear understanding of your options
- Completing and filing divorce-related paperwork
- Working to resolve issues to the benefit of you and your children
- Negotiating solutions to issues whenever possible
- Advocating for you if your case goes to court.
We will be your legal guide throughout all the steps of your divorce, responsively answering your questions and addressing your concerns. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for you with the least amount of stress to you and your family. Toward that end, we provide some information here about the emotional and physical challenges of divorce and managing stress during the process.
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 “irreconcilable differences” which is the same as a no-fault divorce.
When you file on no-fault grounds, you aren’t 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 separate 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 on the issues.
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 strong 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, and you should discuss this with a Livingston divorce attorney.
TYPES OF DIVORCE IN NEW JERSEY
There are two basic types of divorce in New Jersey: uncontested divorce and contested divorce.
If you and your spouse both want to divorce and are in agreement on all the issues involved, you can get an uncontested divorce. Obviously, if you agree, it can make the divorce process smoother and less antagonistic and usually much faster than contested divorces. Even if your divorce is uncontested, it is still helpful to engage the assistance of a Livingston 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.
Also, 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, which could be just as costly as the divorce itself, if not more so. The point is, 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 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 accomplish this by involving professionals who understand these issues and can assist you in coming up with creative solutions to propose that would be acceptable to both of you; we do the negotiation for you, so you are not in the thick of things directly — you have a buffer. We understand that these issues and this process as a whole can be very emotional and unsettling for everyone involved.
Issues that spouses may disagree about in a contested divorce 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 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 with long-term implications that would be very hard to undo or fix later.
LIVINGSTON DIVORCE LAWYERS SAFEGUARD CLIENTS’ RIGHTS
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a Livingston divorce lawyer from Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, will make sure your rights are protected, as well as ensuring that you understand what is expected of you during divorce proceedings. We can counsel you in your uncontested divorce to assure that you have addressed every important issue and counsel you on the impact to you of each individual provision contained in any agreement you and your spouse may have agreed to in theory or conceptually. We are also not afraid to fight smartly and aggressively for you if your divorce is contested.
Call us 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.
LIVINGSTON DIVORCE ATTORNEY 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 the county where the other spouse lives. Once you have filed, there are two ways to serve your spouse.
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.
HIRE A PROCESS SERVER
To be extra sure you are complying with the Court rules, 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.)
ANSWERING THE DIVORCE COMPLAINT
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. Our Livingston divorce lawyer can guide you as soon as you are considering divorce or learn that your spouse is planning to file.
LIVINGSTON 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 come to agreement on those issues. 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 can take approximately 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.
Does the court favor women over men in divorce decisions?
The courts are instructed to look at all the facts involved when making decisions in divorce. From a legal standpoint, there should be no preference shown for either party based on the sex of that party. Once judges consider all the unique factors in different aspects of the marriage, they make their decisions based on those factors.
However, sometimes men who are divorcing can certainly feel that there is favoritism toward their wife or the mother of their children in divorce decisions, especially when it comes to child custody issues, visitation / parenting time, and alimony determinations. And there potentially could be unconscious cultural bias left over from a time when husbands were traditionally breadwinners and wives stayed home to care for children. As legal advocates who focus on assisting men and fathers in marital and family law issues, our Livingston divorce lawyers will stand up for your rights throughout the divorce process.
Can I appeal a judge’s decision that I don’t agree with?
You can appeal a judge’s decision, but must do so within 45 days of the 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 didn’t apply the law correctly, ignored certain critical evidence, or abused its discretion. 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.
CONTACT OUR EFFECTIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEYS IN LIVINGSTON 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 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 Livingston divorce lawyer, call our office at (201) 880-9770 or fill out our online form.