Skilled Divorce Attorneys Delivering Results
If you have decided to divorce, you need a compassionate and experienced legal team that understands your difficulties, provides the support you need, and will help you navigate the complex legal process. At TMO Law LLC, our skilled Bergen County divorce lawyers will leverage our collective 100 years of combined legal experience and work collaboratively to focus on your future, protect your rights, and secure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
What Divorce Matters Does TMO Law LLC Handle?
At TMO Law LLC, our Bergen County divorce lawyers represent clients in all aspects of divorce, including but not limited to the following:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Collaborative Divorce
- Division of Marital Assets and Debts
- Domestic Violence
- Post-Judgement Matters
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Same-Sex Divorce
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
When filing for divorce in New Jersey, you are required to state a reason, legally known as “grounds.” The state recognizes “no-fault” divorce – commonly called uncontested divorce – and “fault-based” divorce.
Most divorces filed in New Jersey are uncontested, citing “irreconcilable differences.” When citing irreconcilable differences, you do not have to add additional information on what led to the dissolution of the marriage. Uncontested divorces are popular because they are often less costly and time-consuming than fault-based divorces.
You may file for a fault-based divorce if you are seeking dissolution under any of the state’s legally required grounds. In fault-based divorces, the filing spouse is responsible for providing evidence supporting the allegations in the divorce petition. Collecting supporting evidence can be challenging without the assistance of an experienced Bergen County divorce lawyer who has a network of investigators and experts to help prepare the required information.
Should I File for Divorce First?
Legally speaking, it makes no difference which spouse files for divorce first. Choosing to file first is a personal decision. However, there are a few advantages to doing so, such as:
- Setting the tone: Whoever files first can present the grounds for divorce, establish strategy, and control the case narrative.
- Increased preparation: Regardless of the type of divorce you seek, the process can be time-consuming and complex. Filing first provides additional time to hire a lawyer, research options, and compile the required supporting documents.
- Location: Divorces are typically filed in the county where either spouse lives. Filing first provides flexibility to file in whichever county is most convenient.
Once filed, you are required to serve your spouse with divorce papers within 30 days, and your spouse has 35 days to provide a formal answer, dispute claims, or file counterclaims. If your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition in the allotted time, the court has leeway to grant your requests and finalize the divorce.
What Costs Should I Expect During Divorce?
The fee to file a divorce complaint with the New Jersey family court is $300 filing. There is an additional fee of $25 to attend a required parenting workshop if you are seeking child custody or parenting time. If you are the served spouse, filing an Answer or Counterclaim to a Complaint for Divorce is $175. Additional costs typically include:
- Attorney fees
- Mediation costs
- Parenting coordination costs
- Process server fees
Spouses with income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level can apply for a fee waiver from the court to eliminate filing costs. The application will require several items, such as your income, assets, and expenses.
Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Fees?
In certain situations, New Jersey courts have the authority to mandate one spouse to cover the other spouse’s attorney fees, formally known as the “pendente lite award.” This decision is influenced by various factors, including but not limited to:
- Each spouse’s financial resources
- Each spouse’s ability to pay attorney fees
- Complexity of the divorce
- Children’s needs, if applicable
If the court determines that one spouse faces financial disadvantages, it has the authority to instruct the other spouse to cover a portion or the entirety of their attorney fees. This ensures equal access to legal representation for both spouses. Our seasoned Bergen County divorce lawyers can offer legal guidance if you have concerns about covering fees.
Settlement Issues in New Jersey Divorces
There are numerous issues to resolve in New Jersey divorces, including equitable division of assets, child custody and support, and alimony. All of these must be included in a legally binding agreement between the spouses. There are various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options to help reach an agreement, such as mediation or arbitration. However, courtroom litigation is necessary if ADR is unsuccessful. The court must approve and file the agreement before granting the final divorce decree.
How Can a Bergen County Divorce Lawyer Help Me?
You are not required to hire a lawyer; however, divorce can be challenging and stressful, especially if you are unfamiliar with New Jersey laws. Additionally, the emotions experienced during divorce tend to cloud the ability to make informed decisions. Working with an experienced Bergen County divorce lawyer at TMO Law LLC provides guidance and support during this difficult time. A seasoned divorce lawyer will do the following:
- Determine the divorce grounds.
- Provide objective advice.
- Prepare and file the required documents.
- Maintain steady progress.
- Compile records of all marital assets and debts.
- Establish a fair distribution of marital property.
- Assess spousal support.
- Mediate and negotiate settlement agreements.
- Establish child custody and visitation arrangements.
- Determine appropriate child support.
- Represent you in court if the case reaches trial.
- Ensure your legal rights are protected.