Paterson Divorce Lawyer
Are you considering filing for divorce in Paterson? We can help you! Our team of divorce lawyers have handled hundreds of divorce cases over the years, ranging from uncontested to complex. Call (201) 798-8000 today, use our contact form below, or chat with us live 24/7 for a free consultation. We proudly represent divorce clients throughout New Jersey, including Paterson.
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No two divorces are ever the same, but there is one common factor that unites them: the divorce process is normally frustrating for both spouses, quickly becoming confusing and time consuming as spouses struggle with settlements, paperwork, and legal proceedings.
During this difficult time, it’s advisable to have support from the beginning. A Paterson divorce lawyer from Bhatt Law Group can offer the legal and emotional assistance you need to successfully make it through your divorce. For more information on how we can help, contact us online or call (201) 798-8000 to schedule a free consultation.
How to File for Divorce in New Jersey
Filing for a divorce in Paterson, New Jersey involves many steps. In the initial stages, you first must ensure that you meet all residency requirements before then determining the appropriate grounds and filling out necessary paperwork. Below is a general overview for filing for divorce in New Jersey:
Requirements for filing
To file for divorce in New Jersey, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months. However, this residency requirement is waived in the case of adultery if one spouse is a resident of the state. If you are filing for divorce because of “irreconcilable differences,” you and your spouse must have experienced problems for at least six months.
Determine grounds for divorce
You must identify the grounds or why your marriage needs to come to an end (e.g. adultery). Different grounds are detailed later on, but it’s important to choose the right ones for your situation as the grounds you select will dictate future legal proceedings. Strong legal counsel from an experienced Paterson divorce lawyer is advisable to help you feel confident in your selection.
Complete “Complaint for Divorce” & related paperwork
Filing a complaint requires certain information such as the names and addresses of both you and your spouse and the date and place of the marriage. You also have to list the grounds that you’ve chosen for divorce. To obtain an official “Complaint for Divorce” document, you can visit the clerk’s office of your local county courthouse.
In addition to the official complaint, you also have to compile other paperwork such as a Certificate of Insurance Coverage and Confidential Litigant Information Sheet. You then have to file all divorce papers at your clerk’s office.
Serve papers to your spouse
After you’ve filed a “Complaint for Divorce” with the local court, you’ll eventually be able to “serve” your spouse with official divorce papers. Your spouse must respond to the complaint within a specific period of time. This begins a long process of paperwork, settlements, and a possible trial. A Paterson divorce lawyer can help you through this difficult (and time-consuming) process.
What is Legal Separation vs Divorce in NJ?
Legal separation simply means that you and your spouse are still legally married but living separately. Most states require couples to petition to the court to receive a legal separation. However, New Jersey is one of six states that does not offer a formal legal separation process – legally, the state only recognizes marriage and divorce.
However, even though there is no title in the New Jersey Code for “legal separation,” you do have separation options in NJ. You can draw up an official separation agreement which is a contract for your marriage separation. New Jersey law also offers “divorce from bed and board” where you are still legally married, but separated in terms of your property and other things.
If you are concerned about receiving a divorce such as due to religious convictions, a legal separation might be the best option. Just be aware that acquiring legal separation is still managed best with the help of an experienced family attorney so you can confidently navigate through the process and separate from your spouse. A Paterson divorce lawyer can help you with the legal process and avoid complicated court proceedings.
Types of Divorce in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, you can file for a no-fault or fault divorce. Depending on your relationship with your spouse, the divorce may also be contested or uncontested. We’ll look at all four types below.
Filing for a no-fault divorce means that you and your spouse are not assigning blame for the end of your marriage. Instead, you cite “irreconcilable differences” or not being able to get along as the reason for the divorce.
To file for a no-fault divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in New Jersey for 12 consecutive months. You and your spouse must also have experienced irreconcilable differences that have no chance of reconciliation for at least 6 months.
You can also file for no-fault divorce on the grounds of separation. If you and your spouse have been living apart for at least 18 months, this might be an option.
New Jersey also recognizes “fault divorce,” allowing you to make fault-based (misconduct) allegations against your spouse. This means that one spouse was at fault for the marriage’s collapse. However, you must be able to prove your spouse’s misconduct as the court will use this information to make certain decisions such as about alimony. A Paterson divorce lawyer can expertly guide you through the process of filing for a fault divorce.
Not every divorce is settled peaceably. In a contested divorce, spouses can’t come to an agreement on issues like asset division, child support, and child custody so they need the assistance of the court to settle the dispute. A contested divorce can last six months to a year.
An uncontested divorce is much simpler than a contested divorce as it doesn’t require a trial. Spouses agree on all issues to effectively terminate the marriage. It also doesn’t take as long as a contested divorce as issues are resolved fairly quickly.
Whether you are going through a contested or uncontested divorce, an experienced Paterson divorce lawyer can help you through all proceedings and formalities.
Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey
Selecting the right grounds for divorce is a crucial part in obtaining your divorce, no matter what type of divorce you file. Available grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:
- Willful abandonment that lasts at least 21 months
- Physical or mental abuse
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Consensual deviant sexual conduct
- Mental illness resulting in 24 consecutive months or more of institutionalization
- Incarceration for 18 months or more
- Living separately and apart for at least 18 consecutive months
Talk with a Paterson divorce lawyer to help choose the right grounds for you, as well as navigate through the paperwork and legal proceedings.
Common Settlements for Divorce in NJ
To file for divorce in New Jersey, you and your spouse will be forced to settle on a number of issues:
Since New Jersey is an equitable division state, the property of you and your spouse (e.g. investments, personal property, monetary savings) won’t necessarily be split equally, but fairly in the eyes of the court. A Paterson divorce lawyer can help ensure that your property is divided as equally as possible.
Division of debt.
For division of debt (e.g. mortgage, auto loans, credit card debt), the court reviews different “equitable distribution factors” such as the length of the marriage, your standard of living, and your age and health.
Especially if a majority of your retirement savings is part of your spouse’s account through work, it’s essential that you protect what’s rightfully yours from unfair division. A Paterson divorce lawyer can help ensure that you don’t lose a significant portion of your retirement account.
Determining whether or not one spouse should pay the other spousal support (alimony) can quickly turn into a bitter battle during a divorce. Speak with a Paterson divorce lawyer if you want to seek alimony or you believe your spouse will fight for it.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements.
A valid prenuptial and postnuptial agreement can control or influence a number of issues within your divorce. Any concerns about your agreement should be discussed with an experienced divorce attorney right away.
A parenting agreement must be determined if you and your spouse have children. If you are unable to come to a parenting agreement on your own, the court will decide the custody arrangement based on the best interests of the child.
New Jersey state guidelines will always apply to child support, whether the divorce is contested or not. But a number of factors can impact the outcome which is why a Bhatt Group lawyer can help you understand how child support will be calculated in your case and guide you through the arrangement.
A Paterson Divorce Lawyer is Here For You
A divorce is often a complicated, drawn out process. A Paterson divorce lawyer can help speed up the proceedings and ensure that a fair settlement is reached. The right lawyer can also provide the necessary support and legal counsel, relieving the pressure of divorce formalities and keeping your life as normal as possible.
At Bhatt Law Group, we are committed to successfully guiding you through divorce legal proceedings and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us online or call (201) 798-8000 to schedule a free consultation and learn more how we can help you during your divorce.