Initiating and managing the full divorce proceeding in any American state today can be a serious burden on both your nerves and your wallet. Of course, New Jersey is no exception. Unfortunately, the dissolution of marriage is a very resource-intensive event for both sides of the process.
Realistically, to change your status from married to divorced, you can expect to pay at least several thousand dollars. Not a fair price for one court decision? Too much considering that this is just a change in the “marital status” column for two people?
Indeed, it is difficult to argue with such statements made by clients of law firms! But since, as everyone knows, a person is the smith of their own happiness, there are options to get through this sad situation at a lower cost. In this article, we will consider the most common ways to obtain an inexpensive divorce in New Jersey.
Basic steps to file for divorce in New Jersey state
The moment you make the final and irrevocable decision to dissolve the marriage, you automatically take on the legal role of the petitioner in your divorce case. Another common legal definition for this role is the plaintiff. At the same time, your spouse will get the title of the defendant in your case.
You should file your divorce forms in the New Jersey county where you lived when you separated. If you do not live in the state of New Jersey, you should file your forms in the New Jersey county where your spouse lives. To file with the court, you should have the following paperwork completed: Complaint about Divorce, Certification Verification and Non-collusion, Certification of No Pending Proceedings, Certification of Insurance Coverage.
The list of the divorce documents necessary for getting a divorce can also include certifications regarding the redaction of personal identifiers. You are also required to complete the Divorce Summons and know the current address of your spouse. After attaching the filing fees and signing the forms, you should upload them into the judiciary electronic document submission system.
After your case is given a docket number, you must serve the summons, complaint, and other required documents to the defendant. You have 30 days from the filing date to serve your spouse with the papers and must provide proof of service to the court in writing that your spouse received them.
This general process must be followed in all New Jersey divorces. How the case proceeds from here will depend on whether the spouses can agree regarding the terms of their divorce. Contested cases typically take much longer and are more expensive because they involve lawyers. That is why uncontested divorce procedures are widely popular in all American states. They are convenient for both parties and significantly reduce the overall budget. We will discuss uncontested divorce in more detail in the next section.
Making your divorce case cheaper with an uncontested form
The logic of the following statement is quite simple and easy to explain. You can cut the budget of any project if you cut out some or all of the expenses. But how can you reduce the cost of your divorce proceedings? The answer is obvious. It is widely understood that the most expensive part of preparing for a marriage dissolution is the legal fees, not the paperwork. Simply put, lawyers cost a lot.
The conclusion is simple – choose a format for divorce, in which, in principle, you do not need the services of an attorney or any additional legal support. The way to do this is to have an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your separation, you get a divorce without an attorney. The hardest part becomes the paperwork, and modern online divorce services are designed to generate all the documents necessary for filing with the court at an affordable price.
So, what is an uncontested divorce in New Jersey, and why is it considered so beneficial? Uncontested divorces are those in which both spouses agree that they want to dissolve their marriage. In most instances, the court process for uncontested divorces can be completed in a much shorter time than a traditional contested form.
The main advantage of an uncontested divorce is the opportunity to implement all stages of the divorce process without attorneys or other costly third-party service providers. The second main advantage is the ability to handle all the paperwork online.
Both of these factors positively affect the process by making it more comfortable, less painful, faster, and much more affordable. But do not forget that an essential component of your DIY divorce case’s success is your ability to plan and coordinate your actions with your spouse!
How to manage an uncontested divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey Municipal Courts’ official website provides reasonably clear and definite guidelines for couples seeking an uncontested divorce. For example, a prerequisite is a mutual agreement of a certain established form. According to text from the official website, “The couple will prepare a joint property settlement agreement that includes plans for custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, equitable distribution, and any other financial matters. The agreement must be signed by both parties and notarized. The court will accept the agreement and make it a part of the divorce order when the divorce is granted.”
This mutual pre-divorce agreement between the spouses is crucial for the case to proceed as uncontested. If even one of the clauses of this agreement causes conflicting opinions or doubts about the validity of a decision, the simplified format of your divorce proceedings will be in jeopardy. If your case no longer meets all the requirements for applying for an uncontested divorce, it could be referred for mandatory procedural consideration in court, and divorce attorneys will almost certainly have to be brought in.
So, to simplify the court’s task and make your life easier, diplomatically settle all possible disputed issues that may relate to joint property, as well as the separation and distribution of all common debts, assets, credit lines, and mortgages.
In addition to the division of property, talk about all acceptable options for child and spousal support, child custody, and payments for education, health insurance, and other items. The agreement can even include decisions on the division of filing fees and other costs related to the divorce proceeding. The main thing is to be sure that you won’t be met with any unexpected or unpleasant surprises in the future.