All divorce proceedings in New Jersey are considered either contested or uncontested, but what does this actually mean? Contrary to popular belief, this is not a term which describes the attitudes of spouses or the general feel of the divorce. Instead, it is a tactile definition based on how each spouse files for and responds to divorce paperwork. Common reasons why divorces may end up being contested include disputes involving child custody, child support, alimony, or the division of marital assets. Whichever course your divorce takes, it is important to understand that uncontested and contested divorces may lead to different outcomes for you and your family.
Today, our divorce attorneys will be defining contested and uncontested divorce, when each may come about, and the impact this distinction can have on your eventual divorce settlement agreement.
Uncontested and Contested Divorce Attorneys Chester, NJ
In order to seek a legal divorce, a spouse must first file for divorce. This begins the formal divorce process in New Jersey. Our Chester, NJ divorce attorneys understand that the response of the individual being served with divorce paperwork is what determines whether or not a divorce is considered uncontested or contested. The paperwork recipient (the defendant) has 35 days to file a formal response. He or she has four basic options in New Jersey:
- File an appearance – the defendant may choose to challenge the proposed terms of the divorce settlement agreement such as child custody, alimony, etc. by filing an appearance
- File an answer – “answers” challenge the validity of the statements made in the initial divorce complaint such as the grounds for divorce or other facts
- File a counterclaim – when defendants want to add their own claims or relevant facts to the divorce complaint, they may do so via a counterclaim
- Choose to not file a response – if the defendant has no issues with the divorce complaint, they may simply choose not to act.
The above actions are what determines whether or not a divorce is contested. By responding via an appearance, answer, or counterclaim, the divorce will be considered contested. By sending no response, the divorce will be considered uncontested.
Mendham Contested Divorce Lawyers
Our Mendham divorce lawyers often recommend uncontested divorces when possible, but we understand that both have their place and their purpose. Your divorce, just like your family, is unique. Before choosing whether uncontested or contested divorce is right for you, it is important to discuss your unique situation with your divorce lawyer.
Uncontested divorce is often considered the ideal solution when spouses are able to agree on the many issues of divorce. Spouses may come to amicable and tenable divorce settlement agreements outside of court using ADR methods such as mediation. The uncontested divorce process is faster and often cheaper for New Jersey families.
Contested divorce has the advantage of each spouse being able to formally present their case before a family court judge, early settlement panel, and more. While contested divorces may take more time, effort, and investment, they may ultimately be worth it to reach your desired outcome. Again, it often comes down to your ability to work together with your spouse during the divorce process.
Questions about Uncontested or Contested Divorce? Contact our Morristown Divorce Attorneys Today
The divorce attorneys of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley, LLC have been working together for many years to serve families across local Morris County communities such as Chester, Morristown, Chatham, Mendham, Morris Plains, Harding, Morris Township, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our attorneys are routinely named to the Super Lawyers List as published by Thomson Reuters. When it comes to uncontested and contested divorces, we believe in offering a wide array of legal solutions to fit our clients’ individual needs and concerns.
If you or a loved one is considering divorce or going through divorce, please contact us online or call our Morristown, NJ offices today by dialing 973-975-4043 to speak with one of our qualified and experienced divorce attorneys in a free and confidential consultation.