North Bergen, NJ Contested Divorce Attorney

Are you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse unable to reach consensus on issues such as grounds for divorce, division of property, alimony, child custody, and child support? If so, you’re likely headed towards a contested divorce. This requires the intervention of the family court to help you resolve your issues. 

The divorce litigation process in New Jersey is complex and overwhelming and difficult to navigate on your own. It involves preparing, drafting and filing large amounts of paperwork, adhering to court procedures and strict deadlines, negotiating a settlement, and more.  

Don’t gamble with your future

Enlist the legal services of a competent family law attorney to protect your interests and help you achieve the outcome you desire. Countless individuals and families in Bergen County, Hudson County, and Jersey City have turned to Lazaro Carvajal to represent them in their divorces. 

Call today 201-281-5577 to schedule a free one-on-one consultation to learn more about your legal options. 

Traditional Divorce Litigation Process in New Jersey

The following is a general overview of what you can expect at each stage of a contested divorce proceeding in New Jersey.

Filing Complaint For Divorce

If you are the one initiating the divorce, Mr. Carvajal will draft and file a complaint for divorce with the Superior Court in the county where you or your spouse resides. The complaint must cite the reason for the marriage ending. New Jersey provides “no-fault” and “fault” grounds for divorce. 

The most commonly used is “no-fault” which is based on “irreconcilable differences” or separation of at least 18 months. “Fault grounds” is based on adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, addiction, deviant sexual conduct, incarceration, or institutionalized for mental illness. Once the complaint is filed, it is served on your spouse. 

If you were served with the divorce papers, Mr. Carvajal can help you file an answer or counterclaim within the 35-day deadline. 

Case Information Statements and Discovery

In the initial discovery phase, you and your spouse must exchange financial information related to assets, liabilities, income, debts, and expenses. This mandatory disclosure sets the foundation for how your property will be divided. 

Temporary Orders

A contested divorce can take months, if not years to be finalized. You may not be able to wait that long for certain issues to be resolved. While your divorce is pending, you can ask the court to temporarily:

  • Establish child custody and visitation arrangements
  • Order your spouse to provide alimony or spousal support payments
  • Give you possession of the family residence and/or vehicle/s 

Early Settlement Panel

Approximately 6-7 months after the filing of the divorce complaint, the court will schedule an early settlement panel. This mandatory court appearance is designed for both you and your spouse and your respective attorneys to make a good faith effort to resolve the financial issues in your divorce outside of the courtroom. 

A panel of 2-3 family law attorneys will review the facts of your case and make recommendations for how to settle your case. These recommendations are not legally binding and you have the option to either accept or reject their feedback. 

If you and your spouse agree with the recommendations, you can get a divorce that same day. The recommendations would be put into writing and submitted to a judge for a final judgment of divorce. If the recommendations are deemed unacceptable, a judge will order mandatory economic mediation. 

The Early Settlement Panel does not typically review issues of custody. These matters are usually resolved in court-ordered mediation before proceeding to trial. 

Trial Preparation

Almost all divorce cases settle during the pretrial conference and 98% of all contested divorces settle before the final trial. Having said this, Mr. Carvajal is always fully prepared to take your case to trial and advocate on your behalf in the courtroom. 

Considering a divorce? Get Advice from a Family Law Attorney Today

Schedule a free consultation with Lazaro Carvajal, a highly qualified divorce attorney serving New Jersey residents throughout North Bergen, Hudson County, and Jersey City. He can be reached at 201-281-5577.