Hackensack Divorce Lawyer
Economically Efficient and Professional Advocacy
When you are ready to resolve issues with your spouse during a separation in Hackensack, NJ, you will want to retain a divorce attorney to advocate for your well-being. The Glen F. Haley Law Firm provides personal attention to every divorce case and is flexible with our appointment schedules so we can be available for our clients at convenient times. Our firm works in the hopes to reduce the stress you may understandably be going through in a divorce.
Schedule a consultation today with The Glen F. Haley Law Firm to meet with an experienced divorce attorney who can protect your rights in Hackensack and the Bergen County area. Call (201) 801-4609 or contact us online.
Requirements to File for Divorce
Divorce, also called dissolution, is a court process that ends a couple’s marriage. During a divorce proceeding, the court will also make decisions about issues like child custody and support, property distribution, and alimony awards.
To file for divorce in New Jersey, either spouse must have been a New Jersey resident for the last 12 consecutive months. If neither spouse meets this residency requirement, the couple will have to wait out this period to file their divorce in the state.
There are a number of documents required to begin the divorce process. First, a spouse will file a “Complaint for Divorce/Dissolution,” where they can seek a fault or no-fault divorce. A “fault” divorce means one spouse’s actions or behavior caused the marriage to fall apart, such as desertion (one spouse deserted the other for at least 12 consecutive months) or extreme cruelty (at least 3 months before the divorce is filed the defendant acted violently or abusively toward the plaintiff). A “no-fault” divorce means that neither spouse is at fault for the marriage’s breakdown and that the couple has irreconcilable differences. There are two types of no-fault divorce in New Jersey:
- “no-fault” divorce based on a separation (the couple has been living apart for at the last 18 months); and
- “no-fault” divorce based on irreconcilable differences for at least 6 months before the divorce is started.
An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine whether a fault or no-fault divorce is best for the situation.
Be aware that the following documents must also be filed with the divorce complaint:
- “Filing Letter to the Court—Complaint Form” – establishes that the plaintiff is filing for divorce and has enclosed the filing fee (or seek a waiver from paying the fee)
- “Certification of Insurance” – list of all insurance coverage (life, auto, health and homeowners)
- “Certification of Notification of Complementary Dispute Resolution” – establishes the potential possibility of mediation
- “Family Part Case Information Statement” – filed if there are issues on custody, support, alimony, division of debt or assets; also requires the listing of income, assets, and debts
- “Confidential Litigant Information Sheet”
It is advisable to make at least 3 copies of the complaint and related divorce paperwork; the court requires that the filing spouse provide one original and two copies for filing.
Note that New Jersey law requires the plaintiff to file in the county where the actions that led to the divorce happened. For example, if the spouses have lived apart for 18 months, the plaintiff should file in the county where they last lived during or at the end of the 18, even if the plaintiff no longer lives there.
Serving a Spouse
Once the court clerk provides the plaintiff with a copy of their complaint stamped “filed,” they should then fill out the summons and attached proof of service and prepare to serve their spouse. New Jersey requires that the defendant personally serve via hand delivery to their spouse a copy of the divorce paperwork. This can be done through a sheriff or process server to hand-deliver a copy of the petition to the spouse at home or work.
Note that the sheriff will likely charge a fee for this service, and it is best to make at least 3 copies of the paperwork, with 2 copies going to the sheriff and one kept for personal record. The plaintiff should provide the sheriff a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can send the plaintiff proof that the defendant received the paperwork.
Alternatively, a spouse may agree to accept service personally or through an attorney. In this case, be sure to obtain a signed acceptance of service for filing with the court, after which you may mail that proof to the court and keep a copy for personal records.
The defendant spouse, or the spouse that was served, has 35 days after receiving the divorce paperwork to respond in one of the following ways:
- file an "Appearance," which means the defendant does not object to the divorce but may object to what the plaintiff is asking for (e.g., custody or support terms);
- file an "Answer," in which the defendant agrees or disagrees to the statements in the complaint; or
- file a "Counterclaim," in which the defendant can state new reasons for the divorce.
Questions? Call (201) 801-4609 for Legal Support.
If you seek to file for divorce in Hackensack, New Jersey, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced New Jersey attorney for legal counsel. From helping you craft your divorce claim to even serving your spouse, a skilled divorce lawyer like Attorney Glen F. Haley, Esq. can help you better navigate the divorce process and make sure your rights as a spouse are protected.