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What Is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you may wonder how long the process will take, how expensive it will be, and how you will resolve complex issues. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce and the issues that need to be resolved, the divorce process can take anywhere from several months to several years, and the legal fees will vary significantly.

If you and your spouse can agree on all key issues, you may seek an uncontested divorce, which is generally much less expensive and time-consuming than a contested divorce. Regardless of the type of divorce that you pursue, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the process and negotiate the best possible settlement outcome.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Most couples prefer an uncontested divorce since it is typically less expensive, time-consuming, and contentious. If you can resolve the key issues productively and respectfully, you may reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement.

The process of an uncontested divorce generally involves the following:

  • One spouse hires a divorce lawyer to draft the documents.
  • Both spouses review the document and agree to all terms, including custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts.
  • Mediation may occur.
  • A judge reviews the documents. If the judge approves the terms, they will sign the document.
  • Once approved, the final divorce decree is entered.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

Unfortunately, not all couples can agree on many issues that need to be resolved, in which case a judge must make the final decision. Several steps are involved in a contested divorce, making the process much more time-consuming and costly. The steps involved in a contested divorce may include the following:

  • Prepare and file the divorce documents.
  • The served spouse has 20 days to respond to the documents.
  • A case management conference (CMC) is scheduled, likely occurring approximately 90 days after the documents are filed.
  • Discovery is opened, where both divorce lawyers gather and present evidence for the trial. Both sides’ lawyers can request documents and hold depositions.
  • The case proceeds to a trial.
  • The judge makes a final ruling and enters a final decree.

Even uncontested divorces can be complex, so having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side is in your best interest. It is essential to have legal representation in a contested divorce since they are much more complicated and potentially contentious. A dedicated divorce lawyer will protect your legal rights, from filing the documents to representing you in court.

Our Skilled Paramus Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Help Clients Navigate the Divorce Process

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, do not hesitate to contact our Paramus divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC. Whether you are pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce, our dedicated legal team will help. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 201-971-4866 or contact us online. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties, and northern New Jersey.

Should I Wait Until My Divorce Is Finalized Before Dating?

upset couple

The divorce process can take several months to a year or more to resolve, whether you are pursuing a fault-based or no-fault divorce. During this time, you may miss the companionship you had when you were married. However, while starting a new relationship may become increasingly more appealing, it could sometimes harm the outcome of your divorce. If you are getting a divorce and have questions or concerns about the implications of dating, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.

Even if you and your spouse are separated and living apart, the court may consider your new relationship as adultery. If your divorce is contentious, your spouse may seek additional spousal support, demand custody of your children, or make other unreasonable requests, arguing that you were unfaithful.

Tips for Dating Before a Divorce Is Finalized

You should keep some guidelines in mind as you navigate the divorce process.

  • DO be careful about how you communicate and interact with a new partner in front of your children. Do not rush to introduce them to a new partner, particularly when the relationship is new.
  • DO be honest with a new partner about your status. It is important that you are honest about your situation and that you are technically still married. Discuss any progress with your partner, and hold off on taking your relationship to the next level until your divorce has been finalized.
  • DO accept support from friends and family. As one relationship ends and another begins, it can be a lot to process. Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your current situation and the challenges associated with the divorce process with close friends and family.
  • DO NOT even consider dating until you and your spouse are physically separated. If you start dating while still living together in the same house, it can create a hostile living situation.
  • DO NOT date openly. This can cause your spouse to use this against you during divorce proceedings.
  • DO NOT start living with a new partner before your divorce is finalized. Moving in together while your divorce is still pending may be viewed unfavorably by the court and negatively impact your divorce settlement.

Our Bergen County Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Assist Clients With the Divorce Process

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, contact our Bergen County divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 201-971-4866 or complete our online form. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties, and northern New Jersey.

How Do I Start My Divorce in New Jersey?

To initiate a divorce in New Jersey, one spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce with the court and officially serve the other spouse. To do so, the spouse must first determine how they want to handle divorce proceedings. The standard and most convenient approach is in which each spouse hires their own divorce lawyer to represent them and negotiate the terms of the settlement agreement. It is best to hire a divorce lawyer as soon as possible to start the process.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, divorces are considered “no-fault” or “fault” based on the circumstances. When filing a divorce complaint, you must state a reason, legally referred to as grounds for divorce. Most divorces in New Jersey are uncontested, citing “irreconcilable differences.” If you choose this option, you are not required to disclose those differences.

Fault-based divorces must be based on one or more of the state’s legally recognized grounds. To divorce in New Jersey, you must first be eligible under the state’s requirements regarding residency and grounds for divorce.

Once served, the receiving spouse is given 35 days to respond to the divorce complaint, at which time they can file any disputes or counterclaims. The response must also include intentions regarding the division of assets and other issues to be addressed during divorce negotiations.

How Can a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Help Me?

New Jersey does not require hiring lawyers during divorce proceedings, but it is always wise to consult one. Experienced divorce lawyers understand the system, can anticipate issues, and employ proven strategies that protect your rights and best interests. Working with our Bergen County divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC will provide you with the following:

  • Less contention: Working with an experienced lawyer tends to lessen divorce proceedings’ emotional stress and contentiousness.
  • Extensive knowledge: An experienced divorce lawyer keenly understands New Jersey divorce law and judicial processes.
  • Negotiating and litigating skills: All issues must be dealt with until a mutual final agreement is reached, either between the couple themselves, each party’s attorney, or imposed by the court. An experienced divorce lawyer is skilled at negotiation and litigation should your case go to trial.
  • Rights protection: A lawyer’s primary objective during divorce is to advocate and protect your legal rights throughout the proceedings.
  • Quicker conclusion: The combined above also means that divorce proceedings may move forward more smoothly and quicker, saving you time, money, and stress.

How Long Does it Take to Divorce in New Jersey?

The length of time to divorce depends on the circumstances, type of divorce, the number of issues, and how quickly spouses can reach a final mutual agreement. The New Jersey legal system prefers divorces to be settled within one year, though they can be settled in less time. Divorces stemming from decades-long marriages and those with a high number of assets often exceed one year.

Our Skilled Bergen County Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Represent Clients Seeking Divorce

If you are considering divorce, our seasoned Bergen County divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC will provide sound legal guidance and discuss your options. Call 201-971-4866 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties, and northern New Jersey.

Co-Parenting Tips for the Holiday Season

dad playing with son in the snow

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is navigating the chaotic holiday season, particularly when you have children. Although your marriage did not work out, you and your former spouse may agree that you want to make the holidays as happy, calm, and stress-free as possible for your children. While you may no longer be spending every holiday together as a family unit, you can still co-parent successfully and come up with a holiday schedule that works for both of you and prioritizes your children’s best interests.

If you and your spouse are newly divorced or looking for ways to be better co-parents, keep the following tips in mind.

Prioritize Your Children’s Needs

Whether you and your spouse had a collaborative divorce or the process was contentious, it is in everyone’s best interest to set aside your problems and focus on what is best for your children. Avoid arguing in front of the children or disparaging your former spouse. You should keep this in mind throughout the year and not just during the holidays.

Create a Holiday Schedule in Advance

The holidays are hectic, so it is recommended that you plan ahead and create a schedule that allows you and your ex to spend time with the children. Planning will help avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and arguments about schedules, visitation, and the time the children spend with you and your ex. There are a range of co-parenting schedules to consider, including splitting the holidays evenly, alternating holidays annually, or spending the holidays together if possible.

Be Flexible

Even the best co-parenting plan may need to be revisited and modified if unexpected issues arise. For example, if your ex requests a last-minute change to the holiday schedule, be willing to compromise, discuss possible options, and agree to the change if it is in your children’s best interest.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Once you have agreed to a co-parenting plan, that does not mean the communication between you will stop, particularly during the holiday season when unexpected events can happen. If talking is challenging, address critical issues by sending an email or a text message.

Establish New Traditions

This will help you and your children focus your energy away from the fact that your family dynamic has changed. By including your children in this process, they will feel more in control of the circumstances.

Coordinate Gift Ideas

It is also wise to discuss with your ex what you will get the children and how much money you plan to spend. Avoid trying to compete with your ex by purchasing more gifts than you agreed on or spending more money on gifts than your ex.

Set Expectations for Your Children

Stress and anxiety can be avoided when your children know who they will spend the holidays with and everyone involved is comfortable with the plan. If your children have questions about the holiday schedule, be honest and discuss any concerns.

Our Bergen County Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Assist Clients With Co-Parenting Plans

If you are facing co-parenting challenges as you head into the holiday season, do not hesitate to contact our compassionate and skilled Bergen County divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC. To schedule a consultation, call 201-971-4866 or complete our online form. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen County, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Hudson, and northern New Jersey.