Divorce is never easy. There are often negative feelings toward your ex-partner, and a complex process to navigate. If you do not navigate each step precisely, it can cost you the conditions that you want from your divorce.
New Jersey has a multistep process for a divorce.
Step 1: Prepare for the divorce and gather the necessary documents
Your first step is always to prepare for the divorce. This means gathering and copying:
- Financial documents and make copies
- Mortgage, auto and insurance documents
- Real estate and stock documents
You also want to make sure you have money and social support available.
Step 2: Draft and file the divorce complaint
The divorce complaint is the first document that you file with the courts. In the complaint, you should include the following:
- Your name and address
- The grounds for divorce
- all insurance policies
The courts will serve the complaint to your spouse or partner.
Step 3: Answer and counterclaim
Your spouse or partner will file an answer and a counterclaim. Once they file this, you will have your first court appearance.
Step 4: File all of the case information
The case information includes all of the information relevant to the case, such as financial documents and debts.
Step 5: Settlement statement or early settlement
You will file the settlement statement if you can reach a settlement without the court’s help. If not, the divorce continues to mediation.
Step 6: Mediation or Trial
The parties try to settle their issues during the mediation with a mediator present. If they cannot settle the issues, the case goes to trial.
With approximately one out of two partnerships ending in divorce, it is good to have a basic idea of how a New Jersey divorce works.