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How to Start a Divorce in New Jersey

Divorce is a major transition in anyone's life, and making the decision that it is the right choice for you – or having the decision foisted upon you by your spouse – is difficult enough. To make things more complicated, you may have no idea where or how to begin the divorce process. A great place to start, however, is by consulting with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney.

The Terms of your Divorce

Two universal truths of divorce are that no two divorces ever follow the same path and that certain issues must be resolved before a divorce can be final. Some of the most important issues that must be resolved include:

  • Child custody arrangements
  • Child support
  • The equitable distribution of marital property
  • Alimony

Each of these matters that you are able to resolve between you and your spouse – with the skilled legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys – are matters that will not require the intervention of the New Jersey courts. If you and your divorcing spouse are able to find an agreeable middle ground in relation to the issues that apply to your situation, you will have accomplished a no-fault divorce (based on irreconcilable differences) – also known as an uncontested divorce – and you can consider yourself ahead of the game.


If you are facing a New Jersey divorce, you naturally have questions, and the answers to some of the most frequently asked divorce-related questions can help provide you with  comprehensive understanding of the divorce process.

How much does it cost to get a divorce in New Jersey?

The answer to the question of how much it costs to get a divorce in New Jersey is complicated by many factors, but the basic administrative costs include:

  • The filing fee associated with the filing of your official Complaint for Divorce with the court is $325 if you and your spouse have shared children and $300 if you do not.
  • If you need a process server to have your spouse served with the divorce papers, there are additional charges.
  • There is also the possibility that your divorce costs will address copy expenses and postage fees.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New Jersey?

Simply put, your divorce will take as long as it takes you and your spouse to resolve the terms of your divorce. If you are both committed to as amicable a divorce as possible, you will be better positioned to move forward with an uncontested divorce that is very likely to take considerably less time than a fault divorce, which generally must be resolved by the court. The average New Jersey divorce takes about 10 to 12 months from the time one party files to the time the divorce papers are signed and finalized.

Do you have to be separated before you can file for a divorce in New Jersey?

In order to obtain a divorce based on irreconcilable differences (a no-fault divorce) in New Jersey, you and your divorcing spouse do not need to have been separated for any length of time. For fault divorces you must be able to prove fault in the matter. Grounds for a fault-based divorce in the state include:

  • Extreme cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Habitual drunkenness or addiction
  • Deviant sexual behavior
  • Imprisonment
  • Institutionalization

Obtaining a fault divorce tends to be both a more complicated and a lengthier legal process.

How difficult Is it to get a divorce in New Jersey?

If you and your divorcing spouse are both invested in keeping your divorce as drama-free as possible, the New Jersey divorce process does not have to be exceptionally complicated. If you have shared children, however, the matter of your child custody arrangements and child support can become sticking points, and complications such as high assets can make the process that much more challenging. In the end, divorce is not only the dissolution of a legal contract but is also an emotional journey – both of which require careful attention.

It is important to note that if your spouse chooses to make your divorce a contentious battle that ends up in court, there may be very little that you can do to rectify the situation or to speed up the process. Because divorce is so emotionally charged, it can be difficult to know what to expect from the outset, but committing to keeping your cool and to moving forward with purpose can help.

Turn to an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need

When it comes to divorce, the goal is to avoid the court's intervention to the degree possible, and the accomplished divorce attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C., dedicate their practice to helping our clients resolve their divorce terms as effectively and efficiently as possible – while skillfully protecting their parental and financial rights. Our knowledgeable legal team takes great pride in our impressive track record helping clients like you find their best paths forward, and we're here for you, too. To learn more, please don't hesitate to contact or call us at 732-709-7757 to book your free legal consultation today.

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Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is committed to answering your questions about Divorce & Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and DWI & Traffic Law issues in New Jersey. We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.