Passaic 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 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 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 Passaic divorce lawyer representing you during this sensitive time, it can help relieve your anxiety to know that your rights will be protected.
Our Divorce Lawyers servicing Passaic, NJ, Are Strong Legal Advocates
At Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, we will stand up to protect your interests in every area of your divorce. Whether you wish to file for divorce or have been served with divorce papers and are unsure how to proceed, our divorce lawyers servicing Passaic, NJ, can relieve the confusion and guide you through the process to reach the best outcome possible. We have assisted many couples in New Jersey through all the complex issues of divorce, including child custody and visitation disputes, asset and debt division (including in high-net worth divorces), and alimony concerns.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a case evaluation with a knowledgeable Passaic divorce lawyer at (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 “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 sense 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. Our attorney can discuss with you how this filing may be advantageous to you.
Our Passaic Divorce Attorney Will Help You Understand Your Options
Understanding which grounds to file on is not always straightforward. If you and your spouse simply do not get along and have no hope of reconciling, then filing for no-fault divorce may be right for your situation. However, if you experienced adultery, cruelty, or other issues during your marriage, it may make sense to consider a fault filing, depending on what your ultimate end goal is. Our Passaic divorce attorney can review your circumstances and help you understand what the best option for you might be.
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.
If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse both want a divorce and agree on all aspects of it, you may be able to get an uncontested divorce. You must agree on every issue in an uncontested divorce, including child custody, child support, property and debt division, alimony and other matters. Just one disagreement on an issue converts it to a contested divorce. Even in uncontested divorce, it is wise to work with our Passaic divorce attorney to make sure your interests truly are protected. If you leave any issues unaddressed during uncontested divorce, they may come back to haunt you later. Our attorney will help you by:
- Making sure you have a comprehensive divorce agreement. In the confusion of divorce, it is not surprising that sometimes issues that may be important to one or both parties are never discussed and never make it into the uncontested divorce agreement. This is problematic, because if an agreement is silent on any one important issue, or the language of the agreement is unclear or does not have certain specific protocols in place, then you will most likely be inviting costly litigation to resolve these issues after your divorce.
- Alleviating issues that could turn an uncontested divorce into a contested one. Even when both spouses want the divorce and feel they get along well enough to agree between themselves on issues, sometimes strong emotions can flare up during what is a life-changing time and cause disagreement. We will work to negotiate agreements on issues that are satisfactory to both of you and keep your divorce out of the courts.
- Filing the paperwork and offering any advice you need along the way. Even though an uncontested divorce is often more straightforward than a contested one, the paperwork and filing steps can still be confusing. If not handled correctly, it could potentially delay your divorce.
We caution clients all the time that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. With the help of our Passaic divorce attorney, you stand the strongest chance of getting an uncontested divorce in which your rights and interests are protected.
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 agree on. We accomplish this by involving professionals who understand these issues and can assist you in coming up with creative solutions that would be acceptable to both of you; we do the negotiation for you, so you are not directly in the thick of things. You have a buffer, since 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, grounds for filing, child custody, visitation, child support, property division, alimony and other facets of divorce such as dissipation of assets or business valuation. The time in which a contested divorce can become uncontested is directly 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 participate in 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.
Trust Our Passaic Divorce Lawyer for Effective Legal Support
No matter how it appears your divorce will resolve, you can trust Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, for effective legal support. As attorneys in New Jersey who have extensive background in divorce cases and finding solutions to marital and family law issues, we will not let any issue in your divorce be addressed in a way that is adverse to your best interests and those of your children. Call today at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a case evaluation.
Our Passaic 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, 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 signature that that 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 Passaic divorce lawyers 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 Divorce Lawyers in Passaic, NJ, Answer Common Questions
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 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.
How much will it cost me to get a divorce in New Jersey?
There isn’t a definitive answer to this question, because every divorce case is different. If you and your spouse agree on all the issues involved and you do not have a large amount of assets to divide, you may be able to file divorce paperwork with the court and get away with only paying filing and administrative fees. Even in the case of an uncontested divorce, you should consider speaking with our Passaic divorce attorney to make sure all the issues have indeed been addressed, so that you don’t encounter expensive litigation after your divorce because an agreement left silent an issue that you did not think about at the time.
In more complicated divorces where spouses disagree on many issues or where one spouse has a business they wish to protect or there is a lot of property to divide, the cost of divorcing will go up. In this case you may have to bring in forensic accountants to perform business and asset valuations, child psychologists to assist with custody and visitation issues and other experts, which can add up to a significant amount of money. Your attorney fees will also grow with the more issues there are to resolve.
No one can predict ahead of time how much a divorce will cost, but when spouses can work out some of the issues between themselves instead of in court, they are typically less costly.
Does the court favor wives over husbands in making divorce decisions?
The courts are instructed to look at all the facts involved when making decisions in divorce and child care. From a legal standpoint, there should be no preference shown for either party based on the gender 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 wives or the mother of their children in divorce decisions, especially when it comes to alimony, child custody issues and visitation/parenting time 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 Passaic divorce lawyers will stand up strongly for your rights throughout the marriage dissolution process.
Reach Out Today to Our Divorce Attorneys in Passaic
We Will Treat Your Case with the Attention It Deserves
When you are divorcing, every step throughout the process should be addressed with the utmost attention and seriousness, because decisions made regarding children’s issues, asset distribution and other areas can affect you and your family forever. Give yourself an advantage by getting assistance from attorneys who will treat your case with the careful attention that it deserves.
To speak with an experienced Passaic divorce lawyer, call Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, at (201) 880-9770.