What are the First Steps in the Divorce Process?

Thinking of Getting Divorced in New Jersey?

Divorce FightingIt is a difficult situation for all involved when a married couple decides that they need to begin divorce proceedings. Whether it is a mutual decision or the wish of one partner, both lives will change as a result. The future will be different, the costs of the divorce and the distribution of property and possessions will weigh heavily on the minds of the couple, and if there are children, the issue of custody will become the primary issue of concern.

Divorce is rarely simple and it is never easy. Each couple has their own issues to bring to the table and that makes every single divorce unique. However, experienced lawyers can help to familiarize both parties with what the basic grounds are for divorce in the state of New Jersey as well as what papers need to be filed in order to meet court requirements. The law firm of Villani & DeLuca can help to relieve some of the stress that most divorced couples experience.

Many couples will attempt couples counseling or marriage counseling before they seriously consider divorce. When you are in a difficult, challenging or strained relationship, counseling may assist you and your spouse in getting the relationship back on track. Counseling can be a proactive step to fixing a relationship. However, if it is not successful, then it may be time to begin the NJ divorce proceedings.

How to Begin a Divorce Proceeding

In the state of New Jersey, a divorce case can be opened as soon as one party files a document with the appropriate Family Court. This document is called a Complaint for Divorce. The court will assign a docket number to the case and for the entire divorce process, both parties will refer to the complaint by that number when discussing the case with the court.

Although the terms “plaintiff” and “defendant” are used during NJ divorce proceedings, the meaning or the connotation of the words change in the case of divorce. The defendant in the divorce case is not the accused person. He or she is merely the person who did not file the Complaint of Divorce. The plaintiff in a divorce case is merely the term assigned to whichever spouse began the divorce proceedings by filing the Complaint of Divorce. The plaintiff has no more legal rights than that of the defendant in this instance.

Documents Required to File for Divorce

In the state of New Jersey, when the plaintiff files the Complaint for Divorce with the court, he or she must also file several other documents required under NJ divorce law. Those documents include a CDR (Complimentary Dispute Resolution) certification, a Confidential Litigant Information Sheet and a Certification of Insurance coverage. Click here to find more detailed explanations of the documents required to initiate a divorce in New Jersey. Once the court has all of these documents on file and has assigned a docket number to the case, then the papers are “served” to the other party, i.e. the defendant.

How Divorce Documents are Served

In almost all instances, a process server will deliver the divorce documents to the defendant at home or at work. Many times, the defendant already knows these papers are coming. In some instances, it is not necessary for the papers to be served by a process server. All that is required is that the defendant signs a statement saying he or he received the documents from his or her spouse.

Once the defendant is served with the initial divorce paperwork, he or she offers a response to the Complaint. The defendant can make a Counterclaim, saying he or she is also seeking a divorce upon different grounds. However, the plaintiff and the defendant do not need to have separate legal grounds for a divorce.

Call a NJ Divorce Lawyer for a Free Divorce Consultation

If you are considering filing for divorce in New Jersey, or you have recently been served with divorce papers by your spouse, call Villani & DeLuca to schedule a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney. The firm’s divorce lawyers represent plaintiffs and defendants involved in divorce proceedings in Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey every day. If you have questions about how to proceed with a divorce, give the firm a call today and get the answers you are looking for.