Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in New Jersey

How the Processes Differ

Contested-vs.-Uncontested-Divorce-in-New-Jersey-imgWhen you’ve decided to terminate your marriage by filing for divorce, the proceedings can either be “contested” or “uncontested.” What is the difference between these two approaches? How does the process for finalizing your divorce change if it’s contested, rather than uncontested?

What Is an “Uncontested” Divorce in New Jersey?

An uncontested divorce is one where both parties are in agreement about the key issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. Including:

  • How physical and legal custody will be set up, as well as when the non-custodial parent will have visitation
  • Who will pay child support and how much will be paid
  • Whether alimony/spousal support is warranted and, if so, how much will be paid and for how long
  • How the parties will allocate the debts and assets accumulated during the marriage

Even though the parties may be in agreement on all matters, there are still steps that must be followed to legally terminate the marriage:

  • A divorce complaint must be filed with the court
  • A copy of the complaint must be served on the other spouse
  • The other spouse may choose to answer the complaint. It no answer is submitted, the party who filed the initial complaint may ask the court for a default judgment
  • The parties may request that the court issue a final divorce decree without a hearing by submitting a signed and notarized settlement agreement

What Is a Contested Divorce in New Jersey?

If you or your spouse cannot agree on any issue related to property distribution, custody, visitation or support, and need the court to resolve those issues for you, your divorce proceeding will be labeled as “contested.”

In a contested divorce proceeding, a complaint and answer must also be filed. The court will initially help you look for ways to resolve your differences without going to trial. That may involve either mandatory or voluntary mediation. If those attempts fail, the court will schedule a trial and make decisions regarding any disputes. The Court’s decisions are binding on the parties.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

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