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Regardless of whether the marriage lasted for two years or twenty years, divorce can be devastating for couples. Some married couples are able to work through their anger and disappointment to resolve collateral issues of divorce such as alimony, child custody, child support, or distribution of property. For other couples, the issues may be too complex to handle on their own. A divorce attorney can help clients get clarity around their legal rights and entitlements during the divorce process. At Nitti & Nitti, we understand how demanding and emotionally exhausting divorces can be.

Why Choose An Essex Divorce Lawyer From Nitti & Nitti?

  • Our Managing Partner, Joseph Nitti, Esq., has handled family law cases throughout New Jersey since 1986. You can count on him for the knowledgeable advocacy you want on your side.
  • He is also a certified mediator trained in collaborative law. Both of these dispute resolution options can streamline family law cases and help you obtain timely results.
  • Our goal is to help you resolve your concerns in an efficient and effective manner – without wasting your valuable time and money.

If you need help with your divorce, we have the skill and resources to help you. Call us at (973) 226-4141 for more information and to schedule your free consultation with one of our Essex County family law attorneys.

Reasons for Divorce in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can have a truly routine, uncontested, no-fault divorce. In fact, you could go ahead and download one of those do-it-yourself divorce kits from the internet and call it a day. An uncontested, no-fault divorce means that neither party has to prove that the other party did something which caused the divorce, and there are no contested issues between them. They are both happy to go their separate ways and are able to settle any issues between them to make the divorce easy and painless.

A divorce can be obtained for any of the following reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Willful and continued desertion for the term of 12 or more months, which may be established by proof that the parties are no longer cohabiting
  • Extreme physical and mental cruelty by one spouse, which endangers the health or safety of the other spouse
  • Living separately in different homes for a period of at least 18 months with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation
  • Voluntary drug addiction or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more months
  • Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 consecutive months or longer
  • Imprisonment for a period of 18 consecutive months or longer
  • Deviant non-consensual sexual conduct
  • Irreconcilable differences with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation

The reality is that not everyone is so lucky as to be able to process a do-it-yourself divorce. The complex issues in a divorce can intensify already heightened emotions, which can cloud rational thinking.

Filing for a Divorce in New Jersey

While you might think that every divorce is the same, that is not the case, and the law does not handle them in the same way. To illustrate this, you will find that there are different forms and supporting documents that must be filed for the different types of divorce. For example, a no-fault divorce based on the couple’s separation for over 18 months requires a different form and supporting documents from a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences. Likewise, the requirements for a fault divorce based on desertion are different from those for a fault divorce based on extreme cruelty.

The type of divorce will determine the process and the documentation required. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to advise you on what forms and information you will need to start your divorce process.

Do I Qualify for a No-fault Divorce Based on Separation?

Sometimes, the first step to divorce is a separation. Couples who are facing difficulties in their marriage may decide to take some time apart to re-evaluate their relationship with the possibility of coming back together. For some couples, the time apart rekindles the feelings that brought them together in the first place, and they decide to take steps to continue the marriage. For others, a separation cements their resolve to part ways permanently. If you have been separated from your spouse for a long period of time and you want to proceed with a divorce based on that separation, you will need to meet the requirements of the law to do so. In New Jersey, to file a no-fault divorce based on separation, the following requirements must be met:

  • You and your spouse have been living separately, in different places, for 18 or more consecutive months;
  • You or your spouse have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before filing the divorce; and
  • There is no reasonable expectation that you and your spouse will reconcile and come back together as a married couple.

Do I Qualify for a Fault Divorce Based on Desertion?

It may seem hard to understand, but sometimes, people just skip out on their marriage for no apparent reason. Rather than deal constructively with whatever issues they may have in the marriage or take the necessary steps to legally end the marriage, they just leave. A person who has an unplanned absence from the marital home for a week or a month may face some hard conversations with their spouse, but it may not be enough to file for divorce based on desertion. To qualify for a fault divorce based on desertion, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your spouse has left the marital home against your wishes;
  • Your spouse must have left you for at least 12 months before you can file for divorce; and
  • You or your spouse have lived in New Jersey for the 12 consecutive months before filing.

Preparing for Your Divorce Case

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, no-fault or fault-based, you will need to prepare for the divorce process. Before your divorce complaint is filed, you have to gather as much information as possible to ensure that all issues are addressed based on evidence that is favorable to your interests. What is relevant will depend on what you are asking for in your divorce complaint and the ground your divorce is based on. For example, if your divorce is a fault divorce based on extreme physical and mental cruelty or domestic violence. You will need a record of the dates of the incidents in your complaint. If your divorce is based on separation or desertion, you will need to have the dates to establish when the separation commenced or when your spouse deserted you.

As part of your complaint you will need to include anything that you are asking for from the divorce process. For instance, if you have minor children, you will want to address issues like child custody, child support, and visitation. If there is any relevant information about your spouse’s relationship with your children that may support your position regarding the issues related to your children, you will need relevant documentation that can persuade the courts to make an order in your favor.

What Reliefs Can You Get from Your Divorce?

When you file your divorce complaint, you will include the things that you want at the end of the process. These things that you ask for are called reliefs. The reliefs you ask for will depend on your particular circumstances and your divorce lawyer will advise you on the best way to protect your interests. At Nitti & Nitti, we understand the challenges of divorce and with our years of experience, we can assess your situation and come up with the best strategy to protect your long-term interests. We have the resources to research and evaluate your situation to support your desired outcome.

The reliefs you can ask for in New Jersey include:

  • Alimony, also referred to as spousal support. A divorce is a big life event that can impact your finances and your ability to financially support yourself. Alimony is an order for one spouse to financially support the other to help them maintain the lifestyle that they have become accustomed to during the marriage. There are different types of alimony – open durational alimony, limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony. Open durational alimony can only be awarded when the marriage lasts for at least 20 years. There is no specific termination date, but certain circumstances, such as the retirement of the paying party or the remarriage of the receiving party will terminate the order. Other circumstances such as a change in the paying party’s income may warrant an adjustment to the amount of alimony.
  • Division of property. Under New Jersey law, divorcing parties are entitled to equitable distribution of marital property. This process may also include the distribution of marital debts. Your divorce lawyer will be able to advise you on the implications of distribution of property in your case.
  • Child custody, visitation, and support. Both parents have a right to participate equally in their children’s lives, but the court will consider what is in the best interest of any minor children as the primary concern when making an order for custody, visitation, and child support.

Do You Need a Divorce Attorney?

When the cause of divorce is not separation, irreconcilable differences, and there are collateral issues such as child support, custody, visitation, or distribution of property, the divorce is likely to be contentious. It is advisable to use the services of an experienced attorney. Resolving the issues in a contentious divorce requires the skill of experts such as child psychologists, forensic accountants, and estate valuers who can provide valuable evidence.

Contact An Essex County Divorce Lawyer Today

If you need a divorce attorney in Essex County, reach out to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Call 973-226-4141 or click here to schedule an appointment for your free consultation.