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Contested And Uncontested Divorces In New Jersey: What You Need To Know

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Types of Divorce

Although the end result might be the same, there are many different legal paths a couple can take when deciding to file for divorce. In the state of New Jersey, these fall into two different categories: contested divorces and uncontested divorces. Which of these options to choose is usually decided on a number of factors, but ultimately comes down to is the agreement of the two spouses. Here is a short guide to the differences between contested and uncontested divorces in New Jersey.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce can take place when the spouses are in agreement about child custody, child support, division of property, alimony, and any other issues that need to be addressed in the final divorce decree. While there is the odd case where each spouses agrees to the terms right of the bat, this usually takes place through one of several Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. One common approach is to negotiate a mutually-agreeable deal through each person’s lawyer, and when everything is settled, file the order as an uncontested divorce in family court. In legal terms this is known as a collaborative divorce, and tends to take less time and money than dragged a contested divorce through a trial. Another option is mediation. This is when a professional mediator (usually an uninterested attorney) is hired and comes together with both parties and their lawyers to help facilitate discussion and resolution. Arbitration is a similar process, with an outside arbitrator sitting down with both sides, hearing the arguments out, and coming to a ruling on the different issues. The big difference between the two is that a mediation is not legally binding, but at the outset both parties must agree that an arbitrator’s decision will be legally binding. 

Contested Divorces

A contested divorce is necessary when the spouse’s disagree with each other’s views on how one, many, or all of the various issues that divorces address. If negotiation between parties and the other forms of ADR processes cannot solve these issues, then the case will proceed to trial in Family Division of the Superior Court. Trials in family court operate like any other state trial procedures, each side will present evidence and interview witnesses to support their positions. After each case has had a chance to present their case, the judge will deliberate and settle each issue through a written judgment, known as the Final Judgment of Divorce. Contested divorces are the more time consuming and financially draining of the two options, which is why spouses usually attempt one or more of the above ADR processes to save stress, time, and money.

Seek Legal Help!

During the divorce process, you should discuss both options with an experienced divorce attorney to help protect your rights and help you select the best solution for you and your family. The complexities of either include knowing the right forms to file, which people to talk to, and what deadlines to abide needs the touch of a legal professional to avoid negative consequences. 

Contact A Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce Today!

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Davis & Mendelson represent clients throughout the state, including Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Medford and Mt. Laurel and throughout Camden County. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 866-560-9512 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1200 Laurel Oak Road Suite 101, Voorhees, NJ 08043.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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