What Is An Uncontested Divorce in NJ?

New clients regularly tell me that they want an "uncontested divorce."

What exactly is an uncontested divorce in NJ?

To me, the phrase means two separate things:

First of all, it means that the grounds for divorce are not being contested.

Secondly, it means that there is no disagreement as to any of the financial issues, child related issues, or any other issues, and that these issues have been resolved and are not being contested.

When you have settled all of the issues in your divorce case, the next step is to go to court for what is called an uncontested divorce hearing; the goal of which is to divorce you and your spouse and end the divorce process.  

The uncontested divorce hearing usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes.

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Topics: Divorce Court, Divorce, Trial

What Is A NJ Divorce Trial Like?

Question: "What is a New Jersey divorce trial like?"

Answer: "You don't want one."

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Topics: Trial, Divorce Court, Divorce

What It Means To Serve Divorce Papers in NJ


A new client recently hired me and asked me to "serve" divorce papers on his wife that same day.

I explained to him that his request would be very difficult, and probably impossible, to do.

His request made me realize that there is confusion about what it means to serve divorce papers in New Jersey.

Let me explain.

Before divorce papers can be "served," they must first be created and then filed with the Court.

Divorce proceedings in NJ begin with your lawyer preparing your divorce complaint.  

The complaint states your NJ Grounds for Divorce. It gives the judge the reasons that you are asking for a divorce (most of the time the reasons given are "irreconciliable differences," but not always.)

Once the divorce complaint has been prepared by your lawyer, it is sent to the county courthouse to be filed (that is, received by a courthouse employee and stamped with the word "filed," and assigned a case number known as a docket number.)

By having a docket number assigned to it, there is now a place to file your papers at the county courthouse. It's kind of like having a locker at the local beach club... you know, a place to store your stuff... well, maybe not exactly the same, but you get the idea.

The divorce complaint, now bearing that all important court-assigned case number, (i.e. the docket number) is then returned to your lawyer so that he can arrange for proper "service" upon your spouse, who is now known as the defendant.

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Topics: Divorce, Monmouth County divorce attorney

Do It Right The First Time

As a divorce lawyer, half of my clients are people who are getting divorced.

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Topics: family court, Divorce Court, Divorce

"Why Won't The Other Monmouth County Divorce Attorney Negotiate?"

"Why won't the other divorce attorney negotiate?"

That's what Barbara asked me.

"Steve," she said, "we've been trying to get them to respond to our settlement proposal that I asked you to draft 2 months ago and that you mailed to them 2 months ago. No response.

We've been trying to get them to attend a four way conference to begin a dialogue. No response.

You call and leave messages for his attorney to call you back. You do not get the courtesy of a return call.

Why can't you get the other attorney to negotiate?"

Barbara is a really nice lady.

She didn't deserve the treatment that her husband gave her.

She knew that he had affairs but she did not want the divorce.

Ultimately her husband left her for another woman.

When I'm representing the person who doesn't want the divorce or who doesn't care about it or just wants to be left alone, I don't get the phone calls like the one that I got from Barbara.

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Topics: Monmouth County divorce attorney, Divorce

NJ Grounds for Divorce

There are nine NJ Grounds For Divorce.

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Topics: Divorce, Divorce Court

Drafting A NJ Matrimonial Settlement Agreement

It has often been said that 99 out of 100 NJ Divorce Cases are ultimately settled, and that only 1 out of 100 divorce cases in New Jersey actually result in a trial before a Family Court judge.

The way that a case is most often settled is through the use of a custom drafted document called a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement (also called a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) or an Interspousal Agreement.

There are many names for the same type of document.

Drafting a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement (MSA) in a NJ divorce case is not an easy task. It is sort of the metaphorical equivalent to what a sculptor faces when he sits down to create a sculpture. 

I'm not a sculptor. I have never tried sculpting from a block of rock.

Yet I imagine that if I were a sculptor, I would start with a square block of stone.

I imagine that I would have a general idea of what I intended my final project to ultimately look like before I started chipping away at that stone.

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Topics: Divorce, Divorce Court

NJ Divorce Court Motions

What can be done once you have filed for divorce, but your spouse is not cooperating with something significant and so you need some type of help from a judge?

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Topics: Divorce Court, Divorce

Introduction To The Monmouth County Divorce Process

A very nice woman, frightened out of her mind, hired me recently and told me how she had been just informed by an email from her husband's lawyer an hour earlier that her case was scheduled for trial in less than 48 hours, gave her the address of the courthouse, but told her that she really didn't need to appear in court.

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Topics: Divorce, Divorce Court

Reducing The Cost Of Divorce In Monmouth County

Why is it so difficult for even a highly experienced Monmouth County divorce lawyer to predict what your divorce will cost?

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Topics: Divorce