Beginning Your Divorce


The Initial Steps to a New Life


In the beginning stage of your Divorce Journey, you have made the decision to get divorced. The next several weeks can be overwhelming at times and extremely emotional. There are many critical preparatory steps most people are unaware of in the beginning stages of divorce.

Step 1. Filing for Divorce

In order to file for divorce in New Jersey, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 12 months.  In order to file a divorce complaint, you must state the reason for divorce, also known as Grounds for Divorce.

New Jersey allows for two types of divorces which fall under grounds:

No Fault Divorce:   New Jersey allows for two types of a No Fault Divorce.  The first is based on separation, and no longer living with your spouse for a consecutive 18 months. There must not be any reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

The other is based on irreconcilable differences.  You and your spouse must be experiencing irreconcilable differences for a 6 month period or more.  These differences are the reasons you no longer can be married.   Also, there must not be any reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Fault Divorce: When you file for divorce under fault, the court will require that you show proof of the marriage breakdown.  Some reasons include your spouse deserting you, physically or mentally abusing you, or having an affair.

If you are unsure which type of divorce you should file for, reach out to an experienced Divorce Lawyer to guide you in the right direction.

Step 2:  Collecting Your Information

When you hire a divorce lawyer, you will need to collect financial and marital documents for them and the court.  It is recommended to start collecting this information as soon as possible because you and your divorce lawyer will be filing a lot of paperwork.  Some of the things you will want to collect is your personal and marital finances.  This includes all income, assets, investments, and debts.  You will also need to obtain general informational items like a copy of your marriage certificate, grounds for divorce, proof of residency, and any court orders or actions.

Step 3: Filing the Complaint

The divorce complaint will notify the court and your spouse of the start of the divorce proceedings.  You will file the complaint in the county you live in.  When your complaint is served with a summons, your spouse has 35 days to either answer your complaint, file an appearance which means the person does not object, or they can file a counterclaim.