Serving Clients Who Have An Uncontested Divorce
At Laufer, Dalena, Jensen, Bradley & Doran, LLC, we have helped clients in towns like Morris Township, Mount Olive and Randolph file for and finalize uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which only one party files divorce papers with the court and the other party does not file an “answer.” This is usually because a property settlement agreement has already been finalized between the couple, and they wish to expedite their divorce through the legal system. It is also used in cases where one spouse abandons the other and cannot be found to file an answer or simply doesn’t care to.
Practicing exclusively family law, our law office is uniquely suited to helping you through the entire uncontested divorce process, starting with negotiating a settlement with your spouse to requesting an expedited resolution with the courts to ultimately receiving a default judgment by the court. Even if you and your spouse cannot initially agree to a property settlement agreement, which is necessary for the uncontested divorce process, we can help you resolve critical issues and ultimately pursue a cheaper and faster divorce than a traditional contested divorce.
Helping You Negotiate Your Property Settlement Agreement
As previously noted, one of the most important steps to finalizing an uncontested divorce is having a property settlement agreement in place with your spouse. A property settlement agreement is the document outlining all of the issues relevant to divorce matters, including child custody, child support, spousal support and division of assets. It is often necessary to hire a professional appraiser to gain a better understanding of the value of certain marital assets such as the family home and other real estate properties or private businesses.
Your Morris County uncontested divorce attorney may also wish to review tax returns, pay stubs, account statements and other financial documents relevant to the marriage to have the best possible understanding of the marriage’s assets and debts. Because this is an uncontested divorce process, these documents are requested on an informal basis. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is not disclosing certain financial information or not being entirely honest about his or her finances, an uncontested divorce may not be right for you. You should consult with your attorney about whether to take this process to the courts, where a contested divorce process will require a complete disclosure of all financial documents in what is known as “discovery.”
Once your marital property and finances have been reviewed, you and your Morristown divorce attorney will negotiate with your spouse on a property settlement agreement, which will govern how marital property is divided, post-divorce support payments, and child custody and visitation rights. Even if you cannot come to an agreement quickly, as long as you believe you and your spouse are willing to make the necessary compromises, you and your uncontested divorce attorney can work toward a settlement that protects your future and is equitable in the eyes of the law.
How To Get An Uncontested Divorce In New Jersey
Now that we have a better understanding of what an uncontested divorce is and how to prepare your property settlement agreement, let’s discuss the exact steps for filing for and receiving judgment on your uncontested divorce.
- You will need to identify which courthouse you will be filing all of your uncontested divorce documents with. Divorces are decided in courts known as superior courts, and depending on where you live in New Jersey, you will need to file with a specific court. For Morris County residents, you will file your uncontested divorce papers with the Vicinage 10 court, which serves Morris and Sussex counties. If you file your papers in the wrong court, your case could be dismissed or you may be forced to start the process over in the correct court. For a complete list of New Jersey superior courts and where to file your uncontested divorce, use this link.
- Once you have identified the correct court for your uncontested divorce, the person filing for the divorce (the plaintiff) will prepare and file the initial complaint and other associated documents. It is highly recommended that you consult with your Morris County uncontested divorce attorney for help correctly drafting and filing these initial documents.
- Now that the initial divorce complaint and related documents have been filed, the defendant (the spouse who did not file the initial divorce complaint) will be served with these documents. There are specific rules regarding how the defendant is served with the divorce complaint; consult with your Randolph divorce lawyer on which method makes the most sense in your situation.
- For an uncontested divorce to proceed from this point, you and your spouse will need to draft a property settlement agreement, discussed in the section above. If you cannot come to terms regarding your divorce settlement, you will need to contest these terms in court in front of a judge, who will make an ultimate ruling regarding the exact terms of your divorce. It is important to note that even if your case does go to court, you can still settle with your spouse at any time through negotiation before the judge makes a final decision.
- If your divorce is still uncontested at this point, the defendant will not file an answer to the initial complaint, and after 35 days, the plaintiff can request a default judgment and a final divorce hearing. At this hearing, the judge will review all documents related to the divorce, including the property settlement agreement, and may have final questions for both the plaintiff and the defendant. If the judge believes the property settlement agreement to be fair and everything is in order, the judge will sign the final divorce decree and you will now be legally divorced.
Expedited Uncontested Divorce Attorneys
New Jersey also allows for certain uncontested divorces to be expedited. To qualify for an expedited New Jersey uncontested divorce, all of the following must be true:
- The marriage has lasted for five years or less.
- Few or no pretrial proceedings are necessary (for example, the discovery process).
- No dispute exists regarding each spouse’s income, the value of his or her assets, and child custody or parenting time settlements.
- There is a written and signed property settlement agreement.
- The case is uncontested, i.e., both parties are in complete agreement about the divorce and all of the related settlement terms.
If you are unsure whether your divorce can qualify for the expedited track in New Jersey, consult with your Morris County divorce attorney to better understand your options.
Contact Our Team Today
At Laufer, Dalena, Jensen, Bradley & Doran, LLC, our lawyers practice family law exclusively. This means we have an intimate understanding of all the many issues related to divorce, how to best negotiate for the settlements our clients need and deserve, and how to efficiently and correctly draft and file all of the necessary documents related to divorce law.
Many of our attorneys have been repeatedly nominated to the Super Lawyers list as it relates to family law, signifying peer and industry recognition of their excellence.
We pride ourselves on being able to provide experienced, professional and effective legal service to all of our clients and have already helped many clients resolve complex divorce settlements involving business properties and family businesses, investments and stocks, real estate holdings, and retirement accounts. From the humblest to high net worth couples, our lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that you and your family’s future is protected.