Westfield 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 Westfield divorce lawyer can help you navigate the legal difficulties and pursue the results that you and your children need for your future.
Turn To Our Skilled Divorce Lawyers In The Westfield, NJ, Area
When you work with Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our divorce lawyers serving Westfield, 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 Westfield divorce lawyer.
Why Choose Us for Your Divorce?
We Are 100% Dedicated to Getting Clients Effective Results
Divorce and family law is all we do at our firm, which means our Westfield divorce attorneys have a razor-sharp focus in this area of the law. We are not distracted by other types of matters. And we take on a limited number of cases so that we can provide responsive and personalized legal service to every client. What you need to know about us:
- Our founding attorney, Carrie S. Schultz, Is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.
- Our divorce and family lawyers have numerous years of combined legal experience between them.
- We are adept at untangling the most complex cases and strategizing an effective path forward.
- We respond within 24-48 hours max to client concerns — you will not be sitting around for days wondering when you’ll hear from us.
Whether you are planning to file or you have been served with a divorce complaint, we are committed to getting you the best results possible based on the intricacies of your family situation. To learn how we have helped other divorcing clients, read our reviews here.
How Our Law Firm Can Help When You Are Divorcing
Divorce can be complex, stressful, and confusing. There are procedural requirements to which to adhere and numerous issues to resolve. Taking 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 servicing Westfield, 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 Westfield 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 separately and apart for at least 18 months. Most people file for divorce on no-fault grounds because it is not 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. Our Westfield divorce attorney will discuss filing grounds with you.
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 Westfield 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 anyone important issue, or the language of the agreement is unclear or does not 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, 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 are 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 in 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; we negotiate for you, so you are not in the thick of things directly. 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, 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 do not make any mistakes with long-term implications that would be very hard to undo or fix later.
Westfield Divorce Attorney Safeguards Clients’ Rights
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a Westfield divorce lawyer from Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, will make sure your rights are protected, as well as ensure 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.
Westfield Divorce Lawyers Explain 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 do not 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 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. Our Westfield divorce lawyer can guide you as soon as you are considering divorce or learn that your spouse is planning to file.
Westfield Divorce Lawyer Answers 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 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 does not 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 Westfield, NJ, charge?
The cost of a divorce in Westfield, 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 Westfield, 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.
Do men get shortchanged in divorce cases?
Legally, there should not be a difference in how men and women are treated in divorce. The courts should not show a preference for either party based on gender. Decisions in divorce cases should only be based on the facts involved. With all that being said, sometimes men feel they have been treated unfairly, especially in child custody/visitation and alimony decisions. In some cases, there potentially could be unconscious cultural bias from years past in which women took care of the kids while men went to work. As a men’s rights law firm, we will focus on ensuring that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce process.
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.
How do your Westfield divorce lawyers approach cases?
We understand that every divorce is unique. The family relationships and issues in your divorce will be unlike those in any other divorce case we handle. We will never give you guidance that is not carefully tailored to incorporate all the intricate details of your individual circumstances. With our many years in family law practice, we also know that litigation is rarely the best option in divorce cases, so we will first try our best to work out a cooperative solution that considers the emotional and financial interests of everyone involved.
But sometimes reaching an agreement in divorce issues is not possible because of antagonism between spouses or because one party is determined to get a specific asset or child custody outcome, for example. If issues in your divorce case need to be decided by a New Jersey judge, we will assertively represent your interests in court while remaining sensitive to the intense emotions in contested divorce situations. Contact us to learn the difference we can make in your divorce.
Reach Out to Our Divorce Attorneys Near Westfield Today
We Will Work Hard to Make the Process as Smooth as Possible
As you know where you are going through it, divorce is life-changing. Decisions made during the process can impact you and your children far into the future. When you work with our experienced divorce attorneys serving Westfield, you will receive guidance tailored to your unique circumstances and intended to get you the best outcome possible. 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.
Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, will be with you every step of the way, from counseling you about preparing for divorce to representing your interests over the negotiating table or in court, whatever it takes. To speak with an experienced Westfield divorce attorney, call us at (201) 880-9770 or reach out online.