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Divorce Moving On. Moving Strong.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in New Jersey

Deciding to divorce is difficult, and responding to a spouse’s divorce petition can be even more challenging. If you are considering divorce, you need a knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate legal team to support you through all stages of the legal process.

Our New Jersey divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC have over 100 years of combined legal experience and collective knowledge. We work collaboratively toward securing the best possible outcome for every client.

What Divorce Matters Does TMO Law LLC Handle?

Our New Jersey divorce lawyers advise clients in all family law matters, including but not limited to the following:

What are Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the petitioning spouse does not need to provide a reason for dissolving the marriage. Citing “irreconcilable differences” can be enough.

It is possible to file fault-based grounds in New Jersey. Legally recognized grounds include adultery, addiction, extreme cruelty, and more. Your New Jersey divorce lawyer will help you determine the best path.

New Jersey spouses should know that fault alone may not impact property division. Typically, the only way fault affects property division is if it can be shown that the at-fault spouse’s behavior impacted the total property’s value. An example would be a spouse spending large sums of money on a partner they are having an affair with. Generally, fault and property division do not cross paths.

Filing For Divorce in New Jersey

In New Jersey, it does not matter who files first for a divorce. Whichever spouse files the complaint first will be the plaintiff, and the other spouse will be the defendant. However, there are significant benefits to filing for divorce first, such as:

  • You set the tone: By filing first, you can present your version of the case, which can be helpful if you want to control the narrative.
  • More preparation time: Filing for divorce is a time-consuming process and complex. Filing first provides more time to research your legal options, hire a lawyer, and gather and prepare the required filing documents.
  • You may choose the venue: Typically, you file for a divorce in the county where either spouse resides; however, filing first allows you to file in a different, more convenient county.

To file for divorce in New Jersey, you must have resided in the state for at least one year. Your lawyer will help you prepare and file a statement of Non-Collusion and a Certificate of No Pending Divorce Proceedings verifying that nothing fraudulent is being attempted with a third party and that there are no other ongoing legal issues involving the other spouse. Once officially filed, your spouse must be served with divorce papers within 30 days.

The responding spouse then has 35 days to provide a formal answer, such as disputing any claims made in the divorce petition and their intentions regarding the division of assets and other issues involved in the settlement agreement. If your spouse fails to answer within 35 days, the court has the option of granting the divorce.

Ultimately, the decision to file for divorce first is a personal one. It is critical to carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks to make decisions in the best interests of you and your family.

How Much Are New Jersey Divorce Court Fees?

New Jersey family court requires a $300 filing fee to file a divorce complaint. If you are seeking child custody or parenting time, you must attend a parenting workshop, which costs an additional $25. If you are filing an Answer or Counterclaim to a Complaint for Divorce, there is a $175 fee.

In addition to court fees, there may be additional costs associated with divorce, such as:

  • Attorney fees
  • Mediation costs
  • Parenting coordination costs
  • Process server fees

If your income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, you can apply to the court for a fee waiver to eliminate filing costs. The application will ask for your income, assets, and expenses.

Will I Be Responsible for My Spouse’s Fees?

Depending on the circumstances, New Jersey courts can order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees, legally known as the “pendente lite award.” This is based on factors such as:

  • Each spouse’s financial resources
  • Each spouse’s ability to pay their own attorney fees
  • Complexity of the divorce
  • Children’s needs, if applicable

If the court finds that one spouse is financially disadvantaged, they may order the other spouse to pay some or all of their attorney fees, which ensures that both spouses have equal access to legal representation. Our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers can provide legal guidance if you are concerned about paying fees.

Settlement Issues in a New Jersey Divorce

There are numerous issues to work out during a divorce, such as equitable division of assets, child custody and support, and alimony, all of which must be included in a legally binding settlement agreement between spouses. There are many avenues toward reaching an agreement, such as mediation, arbitration, or courtroom litigation. The court must approve and file the agreement before granting a final divorce decree.

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