How to Begin The Divorce Process

Things you should know if you are considering a divorce in New Jersey

If you are thinking about getting divorced, you’re not alone. Close to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. To file a divorce claim in New Jersey, you must provide proof that you resided in New Jersey for at least 12 months. You’ll need to file a divorce complaint with the court and supporting documentation. There are filing fees and other costs, even if you don’t retain a lawyer. You may want to consider a mediator or another alternative dispute resolution process offered by the court.

To begin the legal divorce process, you need to file a divorce complaint with the court, but before you submit the divorce complaint, you should determine what you want from the divorce. Along with the appropriate forms, the court will request some information that needs to be submitted to the court clerk.

Types of divorce in New Jersey

To determine what paperwork is required, you’ll need to figure out what type of divorce will work for your situation. New Jersey has no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce:

  • No-fault divorce. The advantage of filing a no-fault divorce is that you do not need to prove that either spouse was responsible for causing the marriage to end. You can file a no-fault divorce based on being separated for at least 18 months or based on irreconcilable differences that have lasted for at least 6 months.
  • Fault-based divorce. With fault-based divorce, you need to cite a specific reason (ground) for the divorce. Desertion and extreme cruelty are the most common grounds for divorce. Included among other fault-based grounds are deviant sexual conduct, habitual drunkenness or drug addiction, adultery, incarceration, and mental illness.

When you need to be represented by a New Jersey divorce attorney

In some cases, your divorce complaint may be relatively simple and you may be able to fill out and submit the divorce complaint forms by yourself. The Legal Services of New Jersey has a self-help guide that gives step-by step instructions. The guide also recommends that you seek advice from a lawyer if you any of these situations apply to you:

  • You were injured by your spouse and have a claim for monetary compensation against your spouse
  • There is a history of domestic violence against you or another family member
  • You and your spouse disagree about child custody arrangements
  • You and your spouse own valuable real estate or personal property
  • You, your spouse and/or your children are receiving any type of public assistance
  • You will be seeking alimony
  • You or your spouse have a large pension
  • You or your spouse are involved in a personal injury lawsuit
  • You know that your spouse is likely to hire a lawyer to object to the divorce
  • Your spouse lives in another country or is in the military
  • You don’t know where your spouse lives

Even if you represent yourself, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before you file the initial divorce complaint and supporting documentation. The paperwork and timing for New Jersey divorces can be very complicated, and a seasoned divorce lawyer can make the process easier.

Our New Brunswick law firm can support you throughout the divorce process

With many years of experience in divorce law, Attorney Steven Cytryn helps Central New Jersey families dealing with the impacts of divorce. We handle a wide variety of divorces involving a range of issues, including custody disputes, hidden assets, domestic violence, and many other factors that can impact your rights in divorce proceedings. Contact the Law Offices of Steven M. Cytryn online or at (732) 214-1103.

Steven M. Cytryn
About the Author: Steven Cytryn
Steven M. Cytryn is the Managing Member of The Law Office of Steven M. Cytryn, LLC, and primarily focuses his practice on divorce and family law matters.