Somerset County Divorce Lawyers

Choosing to divorce is not simple. If you are contemplating divorce and unsure where to seek legal assistance, having a knowledgeable, experienced, and empathetic team is essential to support you throughout every process. Seeking help from a skilled Somerset County divorce lawyer at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC can help you navigate this challenging process. Our team understands your difficulties and can offer the necessary legal guidance to aid you in making informed decisions about your future.

What Divorce Matters Does Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Handle?

A wide range of legal issues falls within the scope of divorce law. At Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, our team of divorce lawyers assists Somerset County residents in all aspects of family law, including but not limited to the following:

  • Divorce
  • High-Asset Divorce
  • Alimony
  • Post-Decree Modification
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Mediation
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
  • Domestic Violence

What Are the Legal Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, it is mandatory to provide a reason for divorce, known as “grounds,” which dictates whether you will pursue a “no-fault” or “fault-based” divorce. Most divorces in New Jersey are filed as no-fault or uncontested, citing “irreconcilable differences,” which does not necessitate revealing specific details. Many couples prefer a no-fault divorce due to its cost-effectiveness and time efficiency compared to fault-based divorces.

To file for divorce in New Jersey, the following criteria must be met:

  • One or both spouses must have lived in New Jersey continuously for 12 months before filing.
  • One or both spouses must have faced irreconcilable differences for at least six months before filing, which is why the marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership should end.
  • The spouses are certain that reconciliation is not possible.

To initiate a fault-based divorce in New Jersey, you must reference one or more of the state’s legally acknowledged grounds, such as:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion or abandonment
  • Deviant sexual behavior
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment
  • Institutionalization
  • Narcotic addiction

Filing a fault-based divorce mandates providing evidence to substantiate your claims, a task that can be challenging and demands substantial proof. If you are contemplating a fault-based divorce, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Somerset County divorce lawyer who possesses in-depth knowledge of each ground, the necessary evidence, and whether pursuing a fault-based divorce is advantageous for you. Moreover, your lawyer can access more resources for investigating and collecting evidence than you might manage independently.

Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

Either spouse can initiate a divorce proceeding, given that at least one of you resides in New Jersey. There are no stipulations regarding which spouse files for divorce; however, filing first offers certain advantages. Being the first to file permits you to select the filing location, establish the grounds for divorce, set the overall tone for the divorce proceedings, and gain extra time to gather and prepare the necessary information.

Where Do I File for Divorce?

You will submit the divorce petition and necessary paperwork to the Family Division Court in the county of your choice, provided you resided there for a minimum of six months prior to filing. If you did not meet the residency requirement for that county, you would file in the county where your spouse lived for at least six months before. If neither scenario applies, you can file in the county where you currently live.

After filing the divorce petition, you are responsible for serving your spouse with the divorce papers within 30 days, using any acceptable method. Your spouse must respond within 35 days of being served by formally answering, disputing, or filing a counterclaim against you.

What Is the Difference Between Marital and Separate Property?

All assets and debts are categorized as marital or separate property during a divorce. Marital property encompasses assets and debts acquired by one or both spouses throughout the marriage and is subject to division. This includes:

  • Bank accounts and other financial assets
  • Business assets and interests
  • Investments
  • Loans
  • Real estate, including primary residences, vacation homes, and rental properties
  • Retirement accounts
  • Vehicles and watercraft

On the other hand, separate property refers to assets or debts exclusively owned by one spouse, acquired either before or during the marriage. Such property is not divided during divorce, provided it was not utilized to obtain marital assets. For instance, if an inheritance solely owned by one spouse is used to purchase a jointly owned asset, the courts may view the inherited property as subject to division as part of the marital assets.

How Is Marital Property Divided in New Jersey?

New Jersey follows equitable distribution principles rather than community property laws, meaning that the courts divide marital assets fairly, though not necessarily equally, equally. The distribution process considers various factors that the court deems pertinent, including but not limited to:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health condition of each spouse
  • Income and earning potential of both spouses
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse
  • Value of each marital asset
  • Assets brought into the marriage by each spouse
  • Requirements outlined in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Any other relevant considerations

How Long Does it Take to Divorce in New Jersey?

Most divorces in New Jersey wrap up within several months to a year, influenced by factors like the complexity of circumstances, asset quantity, and the speed of resolving all matters. Contentious or high-asset divorces involving substantial wealth and property often take more than a year to conclude.

Why Choose Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC

While state laws do not mandate hiring a lawyer for divorce, it is highly advisable. Divorce, even amicable ones, is intricate and emotional. A seasoned Somerset County divorce lawyer offers objective advice, legal direction, and emotional support. Our Somerset County divorce lawyers can:

  • Determine suitable grounds for divorce and discuss filing options.
  • Prepare and submit all necessary forms and documents.
  • Respond to divorce petitions if your spouse files first.
  • Offer unbiased advice on all matters.
  • Mediate negotiations to ease conflicts in contentious divorces.
  • Create a customized legal strategy tailored to your case’s unique aspects.
  • Provide guidance on divorce, child custody, alimony, property division, and rights.
  • Gather financial records and evaluate assets.
  • Advocate for a fair division of marital assets and debts.
  • Assist in determining spousal support entitlements or obligations.
  • Develop a child custody plan focusing on children’s well-being.
  • Aid in enforcing child support payments if needed.
  • Represent you in court if settlement negotiations fail.
  • Ensure your best interests and legal rights are upheld.

Start Your Divorce Journey by Contacting Our Somerset County Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC

Our experienced Somerset County divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC are skilled at assisting clients through the challenges of divorce. If you have decided to divorce, we will provide the necessary support and legal guidance. Reach out today at 732-494-6099 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County.