“Should I get a divorce? Do I need to prove fault?”
There are so many misconceptions about divorce that people glean from hearing from friends or through social media. While an attorney should never try to tell you that you must get a divorce (that’s a decision you must reflect on) once you’ve reached a point where you are ready to move on, an attorney can help with the process.
Like most jurisdictions, New Jersey offers the option of “no-fault” divorce, which means that if you are a resident of New Jersey for at least a year, and your marital relationship has broken down and cannot be reconciled within the last six months, you can obtain a divorce. Unlike New York, there are no formal separation requirements. While there are other grounds for divorce, such as adultery or extreme cruelty, the practical reality is that it typically does not matter anymore. Fault rarely enters into the analysis for a Judge in the Family Court. You don’t get more or less depending on what type of divorce you choose to file.
Divorce can be streamlined in certain cases, where parties are able to agree on the distribution of their assets and can work out issues of support and parenting time with their children. Ideally, the more you and your partner can agree to ahead of time, the less costly and prolonged the divorce process will be.
Unfortunately, if your divorce is contested, you will need to be prepared. The majority of cases wind up settling, in part because the process is designed to encourage parties to do that. You will be required to participate in parenting education, mediation, and early settlement panels before you even get a trial date. That will take time.
However, divorce is a complicated process that will have long-term implications for you both emotionally and financially. Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse agree about most things, consult an attorney to know your rights are safeguarded. At the Law Offices of Sadaf Trimarchi, I am happy to discuss your options with you. For uncontested divorces, I offer a flat fee. For matters that involve contested issues of support, equitable distribution and parenting time, I offer reasonable rates and price plans if needed.