Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers
Monmouth County is considered one of the best places to live in the state. Known for its endless stretch of sandy beaches along the Jersey Shore, Monmouth County attracts many visitors and families.
Divorce is often an emotional, lengthy, and complex process, and having a knowledgeable and experienced legal team on your side is crucial. Our seasoned Monmouth County divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC can provide unparalleled guidance and support, ensuring your best interests are met and your rights are protected.
How Does the Divorce Process Work in New Jersey?
The divorce process is complex and involves many more aspects than simply dissolving the marriage. Each case is unique, but generally, the process addresses issues such as:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital property and debts
- Spousal maintenance or alimony
The legal steps to divorce typically proceed as follows:
- File the complaint: One of you will file the divorce complaint, also known as a petition, listing names, the date of marriage, addresses, grounds, and serving preferences.
- Counterclaim: Once served, the spouse receiving the complaint has 35 days to respond by answering the claim or filing a counterclaim.
- Discovery: The longest phase of the divorce process is discovery. In this step, both spouses must file a Case Information Statement (CIS) detailing all financial information, including income, marital and personal property, assets, debt, and liabilities, to be addressed in the final divorce settlement as legally required.
- Negotiation: In this phase, each spouse’s counsel will negotiate the division of property and assets, child custody and support, spousal support, and other relevant factors to reach a mutual agreement. If a settlement agreement is reached before or after filing for divorce, the agreement can be submitted for the court’s review.
- Mediation: If negotiation fails to produce an agreement, the court will likely order mediation with a neutral third party to reach a mutual settlement agreement.
- Settlement: If mediation attempts also fail, you may be required to participate in an Intensive Settlement Conference as a last-ditch effort to avoid proceeding to trial.
- Trial: If all efforts to reach an agreement fail, your case will proceed to trial, and the court will make the final decisions and impose a settlement agreement that you both must follow.
What Are New Jersey’s Legal Grounds for Divorce?
When divorcing in New Jersey, one or both of you must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months before filing, and you must declare a reason for divorcing, known as “grounds.” 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
New Jersey recognizes both fault-based and no-fault divorce. When filing for a fault-based divorce, you are responsible for proving all allegations, which can be challenging and require ample evidence. You should consult an experienced divorce lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience regarding the state’s legal grounds before filing.
A seasoned lawyer will assess whether citing fault when filing is in your best interests and what evidence will be required. If you file a fault-based divorce, working with an attorney is even more critical.
No-fault divorce is the most common choice in New Jersey. You can cite “irreconcilable differences” in the complaint and are not required to disclose those differences. No-fault divorces are often less expensive and time-consuming. Requirements to file a no-fault divorce include:
- You or your spouse must have resided in New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before filing.
- One or both of you must have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months, and those differences are the basis for dissolving the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.
- One or both of you are certain reconciliation is not possible.
How Is Marital Property Distributed in Divorce?
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital assets and debts are divided in a fair, but not necessarily equal, manner. Many factors are considered when determining the division of property, 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 and debts are identified as any property or debt acquired during the marriage and include, but are not limited to:
- Bank and other financial accounts
- Cars and other vehicles
- Credit card and other outstanding debt
- Loans and lines of credit
- Real estate
- Retirement or pensions
- Stocks or other investments
Assets owned by only one spouse before or during the marriage, such as an inheritance, are considered separate property and are typically not subject to distribution. However, if those assets are commingled with marital property, such as using an inheritance to purchase co-owned real estate, that asset may be considered marital property and subject to division.
What Types of Divorce Matters Does Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Handle?
At Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, our Monmouth County divorce lawyers are exceptionally skilled in the many facets of family law, including:
- High-Asset Divorce
- Post-Decree Modification
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
- Domestic Violence
How Can Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Help Me?
Divorce can become contentious. Working with a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer gives you the guidance, valuable advice, and support you need. When represented by our Monmouth County divorce lawyers, we can:
- Determine whether you should file a fault or no-fault divorce.
- Gather, prepare, and file all legally required forms or documents.
- Locate all assets, liabilities, and comprehensive financial records to be addressed in the settlement agreement, as legally required.
- Calculate finances and the children’s financial, medical, and education needs to establish appropriate child support responsibility.
- Determine an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities.
- Prepare child custody and co-parenting agreements.
- Determine whether you receive or are required to pay spousal support.
- Negotiate a settlement with opposing counsel regarding the division of assets, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- Mediate negotiations between both spouses, if necessary, to avoid confrontations if the negotiations become contentious.
- Represent you in court should your case proceed to trial.
An experienced lawyer can also ensure that you and your children are legally protected throughout the divorce process.
Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Help Clients Navigate the Complex Divorce Process
Deciding to divorce is difficult. Consulting our experienced Monmouth County divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC should be your first step. Your best interests are always our top priority. Call 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.