Ridgewood Divorce Lawyer Advocates for Your Interests
Divorcing? Get Knowledgeable Legal Help.
Divorce is life-changing and stressful, even when spouses are amicable and believe they can agree on all the terms. In contentious relationships without agreement on the issues, the process can feel overwhelming. When your marriage is ending, no matter your unique circumstances, a knowledgeable Ridgewood divorce lawyer can help you navigate the legal difficulties and pursue the results that you and your children need for your futures.
Turn To Our Skilled Divorce Lawyers In The Ridgewood, NJ, Area
When you work with Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our divorce lawyers serving Ridgewood, 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 us today at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a time to speak with an experienced Ridgewood divorce lawyer.
Why Choose Our Ridgewood Divorce Lawyer?
Providing Dedicated Legal Guidance Throughout Your Case
Our Ridgewood divorce attorneys have decades of experience working to get the most beneficial results for the firm’s clients. And as our reviews from satisfied clients show, we have been successful in this goal. The firm’s founding attorney Carrie S. Schultz is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. She has earned her strong reputation as a top divorce lawyer in Bergen County and Northeastern New Jersey by:
- Providing straightforward and honest legal guidance so that you can make the best decisions for your situation and goals.
- Delivering responsive and communicative client service. When you have questions and concerns you need to have addressed, you can expect a response within 24 hours.
- Building a strong team of lawyers who are equally as dedicated to satisfactorily resolving clients’ divorce issues.
Whether you are planning to file for divorce or you have been served by your spouse with a divorce complaint, don’t wait to get legal help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can advise you of your legal options and get you on a path toward ending your marriage in the most effective way possible.
How Our Law Firm Can Help When You Are Divorcing
Divorce can be complex, stressful and confusing. There are procedural requirements and numerous issues to resolve. Missteps in these areas can not only impact you during divorce proceedings but can also affect you for the rest of your life. As experienced divorce lawyers serving Ridgewood, NJ, we will work hard to smooth the divorce process and ensure a fair outcome for you on the issues. Just some of the things we can do for you include:
- Advising you about what filing grounds make the most sense for your situation
- Handling drafting, filing and serving of your divorce complaint
- Assisting you in amicably achieving agreement with your spouse on outstanding issues, when possible
- Aggressively advocating for your interests if your divorce is contested.
Whether you are the filing spouse or you have been served with a divorce complaint, we will provide complete legal guidance to protect your rights and interests throughout the process. Call our law firm today at (201) 880-9770 to schedule a case evaluation with an experienced Ridgewood divorce lawyer.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
The ground is the reason you give for seeking a divorce. The most common ground given in New Jersey divorces is “irreconcilable differences,” which is a no-fault ground. There are also fault grounds for divorcing, in which one spouse did something that has caused the other to seek divorce. N.J.S.A 2A:34-2 describes the grounds under the law for ending a marriage in New Jersey.
Filing for No-Fault Divorce
When you file on no-fault grounds, you can just say that you had irreconcilable differences, which does not blame either party for the breakup. 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 it isn’t necessary to prove that one person did something wrong. If no one is being blamed, then it may also make the divorce process more amicable and cooperative, which could potentially translate into a quicker and more reasonable resolution of the issues.
Filing on Fault Divorce Grounds
If filing on fault grounds, you must prove to the court that your spouse did something that caused you to seek divorce. You can file on fault grounds for the following reasons in New Jersey:
- Deviant sexual behavior
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Extreme cruelty
- Institutionalization for mental illness.
Even though filing on fault grounds can make divorce more complex and potentially more antagonistic, there are sometimes strategic reasons for doing so if you have strong evidence of wrongdoing by your spouse. Sometimes filing on a fault ground may influence child custody and visitation decisions and it is important to let the court know upfront 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 a Ridgewood 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. If you disagree on any issues, your divorce is contested.
Obviously, if you agree on divorcing and on all the issues involved, it can make the divorce process smoother, less antagonistic and probably faster than a contested divorce. However, even if your divorce is uncontested, it is still helpful to engage the assistance of a Ridgewood 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, 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 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.
Ridgewood Divorce Lawyers Safeguard Clients’ Rights
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a Ridgewood 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 on 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. Bottom line: We want to get the best possible outcome for you and your children based on the circumstances of your situation.
Call us today at (201) 880-9770 to schedule a case evaluation so we can learn about your situation and you can learn how we can help you.
Our Ridgewood Divorce Attorney Explains Filing Steps
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 the divorce complaint in the county where you live or the county where the other spouse lives. Once you have filed, you must serve your spouse with the complaint through a process server or via the mail.
Hire a Process Server or Sheriff’s Office
To be extra sure you are complying with the Court rules, it might be prudent to hire a private process server or the 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.)
Mail the Complaint
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. You can use regular or certified mail.
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 Ridgewood divorce lawyer can guide you as soon as you are considering divorce or learn that your spouse is planning to file.
Ridgewood Divorce Lawyers Answer FAQs
How long does a divorce take in New Jersey?
An uncontested divorce will typically be finalized much more quickly than a contested one, but may still take a couple of months. How long a contested divorce takes will depend on how many issues are unresolved and how long it takes for spouses to come to agreement on those issues. If those issues involve emotional triggers for spouses, such as may be the case when it comes to child custody and visitation, business valuations, payment of alimony and other high-conflict areas, then the divorce matter may be protracted. 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 ranging from the animosity between the parties to procedural backlog at the courthouse.
How much do divorce lawyers in Ridgewood, NJ, charge?
There is no standard answer to this question. What divorce lawyers in Ridgewood, NJ, charge depends upon what their individual fees are as well as the amount of time cases take to be finalized. A divorce that is uncontested will almost certainly cost less in attorney’s fees than a complex contested divorce with unresolved issues related to child custody, property division, alimony and other areas. When you work with a Ridgewood divorce lawyer from our firm, we will seek to resolve outstanding issues and get you the results you need in the most timely, efficient and effective way possible based upon your particular sets of facts and your goals.
Besides attorney fees, what are other fees and costs in divorce?
You must pay a fee to the court when you file for divorce. The current filing fee in New Jersey is $300, or $325 if you have children. There is a fee for using a private process server to deliver divorce papers. The Sheriff’s Office also charges a fee and mileage for serving divorce papers. If you have a business or assets that require valuations, there will be a cost for accountants or other financial professionals. If your divorce goes to court, you may have to pay expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, depending on the circumstances.
Contact Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys Serving Ridgewood Today
Standing Up for Your Rights 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 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 Ridgewood divorce lawyer, call our office at (201) 880-9770 or fill out our online form.