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Divorce 101: The New Jersey Divorce Process Explained

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Weinberger Law Group Seminar: Divorce 101
- Live seminar recorded on YouTube: http://youtu.be/8uJjOnZmGxg
- Find important and invaluable information for starting the divorce process in New Jersey along with what to expect in this seminar given by Bari Zell Weinberger of Weinberger Law Group.

For more information on Divorce or other Family Law issues visit: http://www.WeinbergerLawGroup.com

Publicado en: Derecho
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Divorce 101: The New Jersey Divorce Process Explained

  1. 1. Bedminster • Freehold • Hackensack • Mount Laurel • Parsippany Divorce 101 The New Jersey Divorce Process H O W D O I S TA R T M Y D I V O R C E & W H AT S H O U L D I E X P E C T ?
  2. 2. 2 DIVORCE 101 DISCLAIMER This presentation contains general information and does not constitute legal advice. Be sure to direct specific questions about your own situation to an attorney.
  3. 3. THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS DIVORCE 101: STAGE ONE: THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS
  4. 4. DIVORCE 101 The New Jersey divorce process • Stage One: Beginning the Divorce Process • Stage Two & Three: Case Management and Discovery • Stage Four & Five: Early Settlement Panel and Economic Mediation • Stage Six & Seven: Intensive Settlement Conference and Trial • Post-Divorce Considerations • Questions & Additional Help 4
  5. 5. www.wlg.com/divorce-roadmap FOR A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF STAGE ONE, DOWNLOAD OUR PDF: Stage 1: Beginning the Divorce Process DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process Stage One: Beginning the Divorce Process The typical New Jersey divorce begins when one spouse files a complaint for divorce: 5 • The “complaint” is legal paperwork that you or your attorney give to the courts to start your divorce process. • It states grounds for divorce, either no-fault (such as irreconcilable differences), or fault (such as infidelity). • It must be filed in family court, together with supporting forms.
  6. 6. DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process Q: Do I have to prove that my spouse did something wrong to get a divorce? Irreconcilable differences is the most common type of no- fault divorce in New Jersey. Defined, generally, as the existence of significant differences between a married couple causing the breakdown of the marriage and for a period of at least six months, with no reasonable chance of reconciliation. 6 A: No. New Jersey permits a no- fault divorce.
  7. 7. DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process A Note about Private Divorce Mediation • If you and your spouse can come to an agreement, consider private divorce mediation as a way to resolve your case. • One of you will still need to file for divorce, but some divorcing couples choose to attend mediation first. Mediation can reduce costs. • A divorce mediator does not represent either party, each of you may still need separate attorneys, unless you choose to represent yourselves. • For more information, see our companion slideshow: Divorce Mediation 101. 7
  8. 8. 8 DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process Initial Divorce Papers • Spouse filing the complaint becomes the “plaintiff.” • Plaintiff receives the filed paperwork (complaint) back from the court. • The plaintiff then serves spouse with summons and complaint within 10 days. • Plaintiff files proof of service, to say that paperwork has been served. COMPLAINT: Paperwork that states facts and grounds for divorce. • Responding spouse becomes the “defendant”. • Upon receipt of the complaint and summons, the defendant has 35 days to file an appearance or answer, which may include a counterclaim. RESPONSE: Appearance, Answer and/or Counterclaim.
  9. 9. DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process A SPECIAL CASE: DEFAULT JUDGMENTS • If no response to initial complaint within 35 days, the plaintiff can seek a default judgment. Example: You can’t locate your spouse. • This can also be an intentional strategy, by agreement, as a route to uncontested divorce. 9
  10. 10. 10 DIVORCE 101: Stage One: The New Jersey Divorce Process STAGE 1: Beginning the Divorce Process
  11. 11. THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS DIVORCE 101: STAGE TWO/THREE: THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS
  12. 12. www.wlg.com/divorce-roadmap FOR A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF STAGES TWO AND THREE, DOWNLOAD OUR PDF: Stages 2 and 3: Case Management and Discovery DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process Stage Two & Three: Case Management and Discovery Within 30 days of the last date for filing an answer to the complaint (or to defendant’s counterclaim, if any) the court will schedule a case management conference (CMC) to: 12 • Fix deadlines for completion of discovery based on the number and type of issues in your case, and • Determine if any expert reports will be necessary for trial (e.g. child custody expert). Discovery: This is the effort to discover facts relevant to the divorce case through requests for documents and information about things such as earnings, monthly budgets, assets, debts, etc.
  13. 13. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process A NOTE ABOUT TEMPORARY MOTIONS Do you need immediate help from the court? You can file a pendente lite motion for temporary relief at any time during your case. This could be for: Financial Support • Temporary Spousal Support • Temporary Child Support Parenting Schedule • Temporary orders for custody and visitation (parenting time) 13
  14. 14. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process The court will send most cases involving custody or parenting time issues to court-mandated parenting mediation. All cases involving parenting disputes are assigned to the priority track at the case management conference (CMC). The judge will set a hearing date within six months of the answer to the complaint or the counterclaim. 14 Do you have a custody or parenting time dispute?
  15. 15. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process • Court-Ordered Parenting Classes • Parents Propose Parenting Schedules • Court-Ordered Mediation for Disputes 15 The court will require you to try to settle your parenting issues:
  16. 16. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process Q. What if you can’t resolve your parenting issues through negotiation or mediation? 16 A. The court will want an expert opinion.
  17. 17. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process Custody Investigations & Evaluations Family Division Investigations • The judge can order a social investigation and “best interests of the child” report • May include home inspections for shared parenting time • May also include psychological, psychiatric, parental functioning assessments or mental health evaluations if necessary • The judge can also interview the child in chambers 17 Private Custody Evaluations • Parents can jointly hire a mental health expert to conduct the investigation and prepare the report, or • Parents can each hire their own expert • Child custody evaluators must be neutral and follow uniform standards, regardless of who hires them
  18. 18. • Dividing assets and debts DIVORCE 101 : 2. STAGE TWO/THREE: The New Jersey Divorce Process • Alimony (spousal support) • Child support You may also need financial experts at trial if you are unable to settle your property or support issues:
  19. 19. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process A FEW EXAMPLES OF FINANCIAL EXPERTS: • Financial Advisor • Forensic Accountant • Real Estate Appraiser • Business Appraiser • Pension Appraiser/Actuary • Vocational Expert 19
  20. 20. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process What is Discovery? • Parties file and exchange Case Information Statements (CIS) containing detailed information • The court sets guidelines for additional “discovery” – a formal exchange of necessary information– at the Case Management Conference 20
  21. 21. DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process 21 What does the Case Information Statement (CIS) include? 02 03 04 FINANCIAL INVENTORY DEBTS EXPENSESASSETS INCOME 01
  22. 22. 22 DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process Additional discovery in a divorce case often includes: • Either party may ask the other for relevant documents, such as credit card statements, deeds, other title documents, business records, etc. Document Demands • Either party may send formal written questions to the other asking for information necessary to resolve the case. Interrogatories: • Either party may ask the other party, or other witnesses in the case, to give testimony outside of court that will be transcribed by a court reporter. Depositions:
  23. 23. 23 DIVORCE 101: Stage Two/Three: The New Jersey Divorce Process STAGE 2 AND 3: Case Management and Discovery
  24. 24. THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS DIVORCE 101: STAGE FOUR/FIVE: THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS
  25. 25. www.wlg.com/divorce-roadmap FOR A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF STAGES TWO AND THREE, DOWNLOAD OUR PDF: Stages 4 and 5: Early Settlement and Economic Mediation DIVORCE 101: Stage Four/Five: The New Jersey Divorce Process Stage Four & Five: Early Settlement Panel and Economic Mediation Trials are expensive and burdensome for both the parties and the courts. New Jersey courts require most divorcing couples to participate in a series of court-mandated settlement efforts before going to trial: 25 • Settlement Negotiations • Early Settlement Panel (ESP) • Economic Mediation
  26. 26. DIVORCE 101: Stage Four/Five: The New Jersey Divorce Process What is the Early Settlement Panel? • Two or three experienced volunteer family law attorneys review your issues and provide recommendations for resolution. • If both of you decide to accept the panel's recommendations, you can go immediately to court to put your settlement terms on the record. • A judge will grant your New Jersey divorce before you leave the courthouse that very day. 26
  27. 27. 27 DIVORCE 101: Stage Four/Five: The New Jersey Divorce Process What is Economic Mediation? If you do not resolve your financial issues after presenting your case to the early settlement panel, the court will require you to choose an economic mediator to help you reach an agreement. SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS EARLY SETTLEMENT PANEL (ESP) ECONOMIC MEDIATION
  28. 28. 28 DIVORCE 101: Stage Four/Five: The New Jersey Divorce Process STAGE 4 AND 5: Early Settlement and Economic Mediation
  29. 29. THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS DIVORCE 101: STAGE SIX/SEVEN: THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS
  30. 30. www.wlg.com/divorce-roadmap FOR A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF STAGES TWO AND THREE, DOWNLOAD OUR PDF: Stages 6 and 7: Intensive Settlement Conference and Trial DIVORCE 101: Stage Six/Seven: The New Jersey Divorce Process Stage Six & Seven: Intensive Settlement Conference and Trial If you still cannot settle your financial issues after economic mediation, the court will ask you and your attorneys to attend an all-day settlement conference in a final attempt to avoid a trial. 30
  31. 31. DIVORCE 101: Stage Six/Seven: The New Jersey Divorce Process What happens if my divorce goes to Trial? • If your case goes to trial, a family court judge will review evidence and hear testimony from you, your spouse, your experts, and any other witnesses, before ultimately making a final decision on all unresolved issues. • Barring any appeals of the judge’s decision, you will have a judgment of divorce with final orders. 31
  32. 32. 32 DIVORCE 101: Stage Six/Seven: The New Jersey Divorce Process STAGE 6 AND 7: Intensive Settlement Conference and Trial
  33. 33. THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS DIVORCE 101: POST DIVORCE: THE NEW JERSEY DIVORCE PROCESS
  34. 34. www.wlg.com/divorce-roadmap DIVORCE 101: Post Divorce: The New Jersey Divorce Process The New Jersey Divorce Process: Post-Divorce Motions for Enforcement 34 • The majority of post-divorce issues occur when one party fails to carry out the terms of the final orders in the case. • You can file a “motion to enforce litigants’ rights” asking the court to enforce existing orders for child custody, visitation, child support or spousal support.
  35. 35. DIVORCE 101: Post Divorce: The New Jersey Divorce Process Post Divorce Modifications • Child custody and child support orders can be modified until children are emancipated (deemed to be independent). • Most alimony orders also remain modifiable under certain conditions. • All modifications require a substantial change in circumstances. 35
  36. 36. Bedminster • Freehold • Hackensack • Mount Laurel • Parsippany Do you have other questions? CALL US: (888) 888-0919 EMAIL US: info@weinbergerlawgroup.com
  37. 37. Bedminster • Freehold • Hackensack • Mount Laurel • Parsippany WeinbergerLawGroup.com (888) 855-3014 S C H E D UL E A F R E E CO NF ID E NT IA L L EG A L CO NS ULTAT IO N TO D IS CUS S YOUR D IVORCE IN NE W J E RS E Y The process and information contained in this presentation pertains to New Jersey Divorce Law. This presentation is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For guidance on your specific situation, please contact a divorce attorney. DIVORCE 101: Questions? Can We Help?

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