Divorce Procedure in New Jersey

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?

There are 6 basic steps in getting an uncontested divorce they are: 1. Preparation of the divorce papers 2. Filing of the divorce papers 3. Service of the divorce papers on your spouse 4. Waiting 35 days to see if your spouse files an answer, OR Your spouse signs an affidavit waiving the 35-day answer period 5. Depending on the facts of your case filing further certifications/notices with the Court and possibly serving them on your spouse 6. Court date - Judgment of divorce The time period from preparation of initial papers to judgment of divorce ranges from approximately 5-6 weeks (fastest) to 2-3 months depending on the county's scheduling, the facts of your case, and how much time it takes to resolve any open issues with your spouse.
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How Do I Find Out What Property My Spouse Has (Bank Accounts, Pensions, 401K)?

If you want to know what property your spouse has so that you can figure out what part of it you are entitled to, you will probably have to spend some time in court doing what's called "discovery". Discovery is a process in which the Court orders you and your spouse to swap information about your income, assets, and other property. Since it's a court order, your spouse cannot ignore it and tell you that they're not giving you any information. If they were to do this they would be in contempt of court. You cannot get a court order for discovery without going to court.
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How Do I Get a Part Of My Spouse's Retirement Benefits?

Funds contributed to a retirement asset during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution. The marital portion can be valued/appraised and a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) can be put in place to protect your part of your spouse's retirement benefits.
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Do I Have to Go to Court?

In the following counties after the paperwork is filed and the proper certifications are filed, and the court has had a chance to review the paperwork to make sure that it follows the divorce statutes, if all the paperwork is in order, in certain cases, the Court will sign the Judgment of Divorce without the necessity of a court appearance. The counties are: Atlantic, Cape May, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren. (Camden in some circumstances).
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When Do I Get the Divorce Decree?

You get the divorce decree the day that you go to Court. Or if you do not have to go to Court, then your decree will arrive in the mail shortly after the Judge signs it.
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What Kinds of Questions Will I Be Asked in Court?

Your complaint for divorce contains facts or allegations that you believe to be true. In court myself or the Judge will review those allegations with you, and if the Judge is satisfied that the allegations are true, then your divorce will be granted.
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Is There a Way to Speed Up My Divorce?

Yes. If your spouse waives the 35 day period to file an answer, the process is reduced by 35 days.
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What If I Can't Find Where My Spouse Lives?

This can be a problem. Unfortunately, if you can't find an address for your spouse, the divorce papers cannot be served on them, and you will not be able to show the Court that your spouse had notice of the divorce and an opportunity to come to court to assert their rights. If you can't find your spouse, there are locating services and investigators who can do a locate search for less money than you may think. Please call my office if this is your situation.
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If I Don't Live in New Jersey But My Spouse Does Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey?

Yes. You may.
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If I Don't Live in New Jersey Do I Still Have to Come to Court in New Jersey?

If your spouse lives in a county where the plaintiff has to go to court (appear in person) than yes, if you are the plaintiff then you have to arrange to come to New Jersey. If your spouse lives in a county where the plaintiff does not have to appear in court than no, you do not have to arrange to come to court in New Jersey.
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I Want an Uncontested Divorce But I Don’t Think My Spouse Will Sign the Papers – What Do I Do?

It is a myth that your spouse has to “agree” to the divorce or “give” you the divorce. Your spouse cannot block you from divorcing him or her by not signing the divorce papers. Once you give your spouse proper legal notice of the divorce filing, if they decide not to do anything, and refuse to sign the papers, you can still get a default divorce. Call my office if you find yourself in this situation.
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My Spouse Has Told Me That They Will Not Accept the Divorce Papers – What Are My Options to Have Them Served?

If your spouse will not accept service voluntarily then they will have to be served by a third-party, either a paid process server who will go to the door and hand them the papers, or an officer from the County Sherriff’s office, who will also pull up to your spouse’s place of residence and personally serve the papers on your spouse. The third-party process server will then prepare an Affidavit of Service to file with the Court. If your spouse refuses to accept service from the process server or sheriff they can be “staked out”, so that the papers are served on them when they least expect them. This is an expensive process as the process server will charge hourly for the time that they spend staking out the house. There is also the possibility of “substituted service”.
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Do I Need to Attach My Marriage Certificate to My Divorce Papers?

Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant needs to attach their marriage certificate to their divorce papers. However, in Essex County, for instance, certain judges require that the marriage certificate be brought to court on the day of the hearing for the final divorce and entered into evidence (submitted to the Judge for review).
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I Am In the Country Illegally Because I Overstayed My Visa – Can I Still Get an Uncontested or No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey?

Yes. As long as you have been a resident of the State of New Jersey for at least one year the Court has jurisdiction to hear your case and grant your divorce. You do not have to be a US citizen to get a divorce. Also, the court does not inquire into your citizenship status at any point during the divorce process, including the final hearing.
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In an Uncontested or No Fault Divorce in New Jersey, Can the Papers Be Filed Electronically or Online?

At this time divorce filings in New Jersey whether contested or uncontested must be done using paper. There is no option to file electronically or through online submission.
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How Long Do I Have to Live in New Jersey in Order to File for Divorce?

You or your spouse has to be a resident of the State of New Jersey for at least one year prior to filing the complaint for divorce.
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Client Reviews

Divorce can be a nasty and trying time in someone’s life. Thank God for Brian Iton who showed compassion and quickly answered all my questions and concerns. His rates were reasonable and Mr. Iton made the process as painless as possible. I was very impressed with the professionalism and attention to...

- J. H, Sr

Just a note to thank you for your professionalism, competence and passion for what you do. I appreciate you taking out the time to always explain the steps surrounding my divorce. It helps greatly to understand where I’m going. You were truly a blessing in this difficult time in my life

- S.D.

"In my search for legal representation, I had consultations with several law firms in New Jersey and was taken aback by their lengthy, expensive and complex retainer agreements. Luckily, I stumbled onto Iton Law and can truly say that Brian delivered to my utmost satisfaction."

- E.S

"The Iton Law Firm made a traumatic life event an easier one! From the moment I reached out to Brian at the law firm, I was handled with kid gloves. Brian not only listened but was empathetic and caring ... the time and patience he showed during this hardship was unbelievable. The process was...

– T.F.

"Going through a divorce is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Brian made the legal process easy and worry-free. I really appreciate the patience and kindness he showed me from start to finish. I highly recommend Iton Law."

– K.A.

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