Uncontested Divorce - The Process - Step-By-Step
In a New Jersey uncontested divorce there are approximately 9 steps from start to finish.
The steps may vary depending on how cooperative or uncooperative your spouse is with accepting the papers, signing them, and returning them.
First Step: I will talk to you over the phone, via e-mail or in person so that I have the necessary information to draft the complaint for divorce and required court attachments After you review and sign the documents I will file them with the Court.
In an uncontested case the divorce complaint serves two main purposes: (1) It lets the court know why you want the divorce (these are called the “grounds” for the divorce). (2) It let’s the court know what you want out of the divorce. You can preview a sample New Jersey divorce complaint in the Forms section.
Second Step: The court docket number will be assigned to your case within 7-14 days following the filing of the complaint for divorce.
Third Step: Once the docket number is assigned my office will prepare the Summons
Fourth Step: After the Summons is prepared I will arrange to have it served on your spouse with the Complaint for Divorce and Attachments. Serving divorce papers is different from filing them. Papers are “filed” with the Court and “served” on the other party.SERVICE OPTIONS FOR DIFFERENT LIVING SITUATIONS
Service Option 1: You and your spouse live together
If you live with your spouse and your spouse agrees to accept service of the Summons, Complaint and Attachments, I can mail the prepared documents to you and you can simply hand them to your spouse.
Service Option 2: You and your spouse live separately
If you and your spouse live separately and your spouse agrees to accept service of the Summons, Complaint and Attachments, I can mail the prepared documents directly to your spouse with an explanatory cover letter.
Whether you live with your spouse or not, if your spouse accepts service he or she must sign (3) three documents in front of a notary public and return them to you or return them directly to my office.
The first document that they need to sign is the Acknowledgement of Service.
The second document that they need to sign is the Affidavit Waiving 35 Days to File an Answer
The third document that they need to sign is the Affidavit of Non-Military Service
The simplest procedure after your spouse has the documents is for you to go with them to your bank, and have someone at the bank notarize your spouse’s signature. After your spouse signs the documents (in front of the notary) all that you have to do is collect them and mail them back to me to file with the Court.
Service Option 3: Your Spouse Will Not Accept Service If your spouse will not accept service we can hire a legal process server to take the documents to your spouse’s residence and have them physically “serve” the papers on your spouse. If your spouse does not accept service and they have to be served by a legal process server – then there are no documents that they have to sign. However, the default process will take a little longer than if they had accepted service.
Fifth Step: Once the Acknowledgement of Service, Affidavit Waiving 35 Days to File An Answer, and Affidavit of Non-Military Service have been signed in front of a notary and returned to my office (or the Affidavit of Service is returned to me by the process sever if your spouse was served by a legal process server) I will perform the Active Duty Military Database Search.
Sixth Step: At this point all of the paperwork will be compiled and forwarded to the Court with further default paperwork.
Seventh Step: The Court will review the paperwork submitted and issue a Notice of Court Date to my office (and in some counties to your spouse’s address).
Ninth Step: I will appear in court with you on the date of the court hearing. I will ask you questions, and you will give answers testimony so that the Court can hear the evidence and rule on the complaint for divorce. Your divorce judgment will be signed that day. In certain counties the Judgment of Divorce can be submitted, and the Court will grant the divorce without the need for a personal appearance in court.
To learn more about the uncontested divorce process in New Jersey feel free to contact my office at (844) 431-3380 or e-mail me, Brian Iton, directly using the e-mail contact form located on each page of this website.