Metuchen Divorce Lawyers
The borough of Metuchen, New Jersey has a small and close-knit community. Metuchen was honored to be named 2023’s Great American Main Street of the Year. It is an appealing place to live for many families.
At Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, our skilled divorce lawyers are adept negotiators and litigators who can protect your family’s best interests. We can stand by your side and provide unparalleled legal guidance at every step.
What Divorce Matters Does Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Handle?
Our experienced lawyers represent clients in many family law-related matters, including but not limited to the following:
- High-Asset Divorce
- Post-Decree Modification
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
- Domestic Violence
What Are the Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey recognizes no-fault and fault-based divorces. To divorce in New Jersey, one or both spouses must reside in the state for at least one year before filing.
The legal grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:
- Abandonment for one year or more
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol for one year or more
- Deviant sexual conduct
- Extreme mental or physical cruelty or abuse
- Imprisonment for 18 months or longer
- Irreconcilable differences for at least six months
- Institutionalization in a mental health facility for two years or more
- Separation for 18 or more months
If you file for a fault divorce, you are responsible for proving your allegations, which can be difficult and require significant evidence. Before filing a fault-based divorce, consult an experienced lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience regarding divorce grounds. Your lawyer will assess what to expect, how to file, the required evidence, and whether citing faults is in your best interests when filing. Also, divorce lawyers have resources and contacts for investigating and gathering evidence that may be difficult to acquire.
While you can file a fault divorce, most New Jersey divorces are filed as “no-fault,” citing “irreconcilable differences.” When filing, you are not required to disclose those differences. No-fault divorces are a popular option because they are typically less costly and time-consuming. The requirements for filing a no-fault divorce include:
- One or both spouses must have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before filing.
- One or both spouses must have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months before filing.
- Irreconcilable differences are why the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership should be dissolved.
- One or both spouses are certain there is no way to reconcile.
What Should I Expect During the Divorce Process?
Divorces are complex and address numerous matters in addition to dissolving the marriage. Depending on the circumstances, you can expect to address issues such as:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital property and debts
- Retirement plan or pension distributions
- Spousal maintenance or alimony
There are also legal requirements you must follow when divorcing, which typically proceed as follows:
- Filing the divorce complaint: One spouse files the divorce complaint, listing names, addresses, marriage date, grounds, and preferences for serving the other spouse.
- Spouse files a counterclaim: The recipient spouse has 35 days from being served to respond, answer the claims, or file a counterclaim against the filing spouse.
- Discovery period: Both spouses must file a Case Information Statement (CIS) detailing all financial information, including income, debt, assets, and personal and marital property.
- Negotiate an agreement: Couples negotiate – typically through the lawyers – an agreement on the division of property and assets, child custody, spousal support, and more. Couples who can reach a mutual settlement agreement before or after filing the divorce complaint may simply file the agreement for the court to review and rule.
- Mediation process: If negotiation fails, the court may order mediation with a third party to reach an agreement.
- Settlement conference: If mediation fails, the court may order an Intensive Settlement Conference as a last-ditch effort to avoid trial.
- Court trial: If all attempts to reach an agreement fail, the case will go to trial, and the judge will determine and impose a settlement agreement.
How Is Marital Property Distributed During Divorce?
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning the court will divide the property appropriately and fairly but not necessarily equally. Distribution is based on several factors, such as:
- Length of marriage
- Age and health status of both spouses
- Each spouse’s income and ability to earn income
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Any other relevant factors
Marital assets are any property obtained during the marriage, and each spouse is entitled to a portion of the assets. Marital assets include, but are not limited to:
- Bank accounts
- Marital home and other real estate, such as vacation homes or rentals
- Retirement or pensions
- Stocks or other investments
- Outstanding debt
Assets individually owned by either spouse before or during the marriage, such as inheritance, are considered personal property and divided if kept separate. However, if one spouse commingles assets with marital property, it may be subject to equitable distribution.
How Can Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Help Me With My Divorce?
Divorce can become contentious quickly, even those that start amicably. An experienced Metuchen divorce lawyer provides guidance, valuable advice, and emotional support while protecting rights. You are not required to retain a lawyer in New Jersey, but when hiring Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, our Metuchen divorce lawyers can do the following:
- Determine grounds for divorce and advise you on filing.
- Prepare and file all legally required forms, documents, and disclosures.
- Secure financial records, locate assets, and determine liabilities for the settlement agreement, per New Jersey law.
- Establish appropriate child support costs based on each spouse’s finances and children’s financial, medical, and educational needs.
- Ensure fair distribution of marital assets and liabilities.
- Determine whether you receive or are required to pay alimony.
- Develop child custody and co-parenting agreements.
- Negotiate child custody, alimony, child support, and division of assets.
- Mediate between both spouses to avoid confrontations in contentious divorces.
- Ensure your legal protections and those of your children.
- Litigate your case should it proceed to trial.
Consulting an experienced divorce lawyer should be your first step to learning about your options if you are considering divorce.
Metuchen Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Can Protect Your Best Interests During Divorce
Our experienced Metuchen divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC can guide you if you are considering divorce. Your best interests are our top priority. Call us today at 732-494-6099 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County.