Experienced Law Firm On Your Side.
TMO Law LLC is dedicated to helping clients navigate the legal intricacies of divorce. Our Fair Lawn divorce lawyers’ practice extends beyond the courtroom; they often act as advisors and mediators to help clients reach the best possible resolution. With a deep understanding of both the legal and emotional aspects of divorce, a skilled lawyer provides essential guidance.
What Divorce Matters Does TMO Law LLC Handle?
TMO Law LLC assists clients with 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-Judgment Matters
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Same-Sex Divorce
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey requires you to provide a reason for divorce when filing the petition, legally referred to as “grounds.” You will file either a “no-fault” divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, or a “fault-based” divorce.
Most divorces in New Jersey are uncontested, where couples cite “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds for their marital dissolution. When citing irreconcilable differences, there is no obligation to provide additional details regarding the specific reasons behind the decision to end the marriage. Spouses often do this because it is typically more cost-effective and time-efficient.
If you pursue a fault-based divorce, the onus is on you to provide evidence substantiating your claims. This task can be challenging without legal assistance. Gathering supporting evidence on your own is a complex undertaking. Typically, divorce lawyers have established relationships with a network of investigators and experts with experience capturing and preparing the evidence to support your claims, taking the burden off yourself.
Who Should File for Divorce First?
New Jersey courts have no requirements on which spouse files for divorce first. Decisions on who should bring the divorce are considered personal. You should weigh this decision carefully as there are advantages and disadvantages, depending on whether you are the filing or receiving spouse. Some benefits of filing for divorce first include:
- Increase your preparation time: Filing for divorce requires considerable preparation, which includes determining the type of divorce you are seeking, gathering and preparing all required documents and forms, and understanding the necessary schedules and fees associated with filing. Starting the process allows you additional time to consult a lawyer, discuss your options, and gather paperwork.
- Sets the tone of the divorce: Filing first allows you to determine and present the grounds for divorce you want, establish a strategy with your lawyer, and set the overall tone and narrative.
- You can file where convenient: You will file the divorce petition with the family court in either county where you or your spouse reside. If you live in separate counties, filing first lets you choose the most convenient location.
Under New Jersey law, you are required to serve your spouse with divorce papers within 30 days after filing. Once received, your spouse will have 35 days to respond, formally answer the petition, dispute your claims, or file their counterclaims against you. If the court receives no response, a judge may grant and finalize your divorce petition.
What Costs Should I Expect in a Divorce?
The costs you should expect depend on the type of divorce you are seeking and the length of the process. High-net-worth spouses may anticipate higher fees, which may include using experts to identify and assess assets during the discovery phase. Conversely, couples in short-term marriages without children typically have lower overall expenses.
In New Jersey, divorce proceedings are subject to fees. Filing for divorce incurs a $300 fee, filing an Answer or Counterclaim to the Complaint for Divorce costs $175, and parents are required to pay an additional $25 for a parenting workshop.
Low-income couples may apply for a fee waiver, exempting them from filing costs if their income falls at or is below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Additional potential expenses encompass attorney and process server fees and costs associated with private mediation or parenting coordination.
Am I Responsible for My Ex’s Fees?
In certain circumstances, New Jersey courts may mandate one spouse to cover the attorney fees of the other, known as a “pendente lite award.” This decision is influenced by various factors, including but not limited to:
- Financial resources of each spouse
- The ability of each spouse to afford attorney fees
- The complexity of the divorce proceedings
- The needs of any children involved
If the court determines that one spouse is financially disadvantaged, the other spouse can contribute partially or entirely to the attorney fees. This ensures that both spouses have equal access to legal representation. Our experienced Fair Lawn divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC will offer legal guidance if you are concerned about any fees.
Settlement Issues in a New Jersey Divorce
Multiple matters must be addressed in New Jersey divorces, such as the distribution of assets, child custody and support, alimony, and more. All these aspects must be incorporated into a legally binding agreement between the spouses. Various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, such as mediation or arbitration, are available to facilitate the agreement process. However, if ADR is unsuccessful, courtroom litigation is necessary. The court must approve and file the agreement before issuing the final divorce decree.
How Will TMO Law LLC Help Me With My Divorce?
Going through a divorce is a difficult and emotionally taxing experience that often hinders clear decision-making, and representing yourself may only worsen the situation. New Jersey does not require you to hire a divorce lawyer, but not having one puts you at a distinct disadvantage from the very beginning.
Working with our experienced Fair Lawn divorce lawyers will ease some of your burdens and provide the guidance and support you need to make sound decisions for your future. Our knowledgeable legal team will assist you with the following:
- Establish grounds for divorce
- Offer objective advice and guidance
- Prepare and file required documents
- Compile records of all marital assets and debts
- Establish a fair distribution of marital property
- Mediate and negotiate settlement agreements
- Establish child custody and visitation arrangements
- Litigate if the case reaches trial
- Protect your legal rights