Divorce scares a lot of people. The imagination runs wild with images of heated legal battles and massive payouts to lawyers. However, divorce in New Jersey can be pretty simple and even convenient, especially considering that most steps can be done online under certain conditions.
New Jersey Divorce Basics
Before you start filing for divorce, it’s worth learning the basics of family law. So, in New Jersey, there are two types of divorce: contested and uncontested.
The first type occurs when the spouses cannot compromise on the aspects of their dissolution. Then all disputable issues are decided by the judge. Divorce will be granted only after the judge has dealt with all the disputes and made a final decision. The more conflicts between spouses, the longer the duration of the divorce.
A contested divorce can be very costly, as both spouses will need to hire lawyers to defend their interests in court. In addition, the parties may not always be satisfied with the judge’s decision.
An uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses cooperate to amicably dissolve their marriage. Thus, they decide on issues together, such as child custody, property division, child support, and alimony. This allows them to get the final decision faster since the judge does not have to deal with separation issues.
Another essential characteristic of an uncontested divorce is that spouses do not need to hire a lawyer. They can independently select and fill out all the necessary divorce papers and submit them to the court. It’s also known as Do-It-Yourself divorce. Marriage dissolution without an attorney usually costs several times less.
The shortest term for an uncontested divorce is about 2 months, while the contested case requires more but cannot last more than 12 months.
Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey
New Jersey considers two main types of grounds to dissolve the marriage: fault and no-fault. Fault grounds are:
- extreme cruelty;
- incarceration for an extended period.
To file for divorce based on fault grounds, the petitioner (the spouse filing the petition) must prove their spouse’s guilt in the courtroom. This may require additional resources. Therefore, many lawyers advise applying for divorce based on no-fault grounds.
No-fault divorce assumes that none of the spouses is guilty of ruining the marriage. Thus, they are most suitable for an uncontested divorce. In New Jersey, the no-fault grounds are as follows:
- Irreconcilable differences. The spouses assure the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be corrected.
- Separation. The spouses live separated and without cohabitation for at least 18 months.
Regardless of the reasons and circumstances that led to the dissolution of the marriage, the petitioner or respondent must have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 continuous months before getting a divorce.
Can I File for Divorce Online?
Many spouses wonder if they can file a lawsuit for divorce online. The good news is that in New Jersey, it’s possible! The United States has an e-filling system that allows you to submit forms online. In New Jersey, unlike many states, not only lawyers are allowed to file for divorce. Spouses who independently organize their marriage dissolution can use the system also.
To do this, they will have to fill out the required forms. The basic papers for divorce in New Jersey are as follows:
- Complaint for Divorce
- Certification Verification and Non-collusion
- Certification of No Pending Proceedings
- Certification of Insurance Coverage
- Certification of Self-represented Litigant and Dispute Resolution Alternatives
- Certification Regarding Redaction of Personal Identifiers
- Divorce Summons
Then the plaintiff will have to register on the official portal of the court (JEDS) and submit the completed documents online. The system operates 24/7, although papers will be processed during court working hours.
At the time of filing, the plaintiff also will have to pay filing fees. For an uncontested divorce, it is about $300. A petitioner with a low income can request to waive the court fee by completing a fee waived form.
Note that this works well for an uncontested divorce. If your case is contested and requires a judge’s decision, you should hire a lawyer to take care of your interests and divorce papers.
What is an Online Divorce?
If you and your spouse want an amicable dissolution, you can save money on a lawyer and go through the entire procedure yourself. The DIY case is quite popular with many couples as it’s an affordable and inexpensive way to get all the needed documents. However, there is a high chance of making mistakes when preparing your divorce papers, especially if you have never done this before. In such cases, online divorce (internet divorce) comes in handy.
When they say online divorce, they mean a web service that generates the necessary forms for a divorce. Spouses choose an online divorce company that provides this type of service. Then they answer questions about their marriage and dissolution on the website. The system automatically selects and fills out forms that meet the couple’s conditions and court requirements. This is an excellent alternative to lawyers for an uncontested divorce, which costs significantly less.
Some web divorce companies also provide services for filing papers with the court and serving the respondent for an additional fee. This allows the client to complete a divorce online without going to court.
New Jersey has fairly straightforward rules for getting a divorce. Moreover, it allows spouses to independently submit forms online, which is not permitted in other states. In the case of amicable dissolution, internet divorce is a reliable helper that allows you to get quality forms with minimal effort and reduce the overall cost of divorce.