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Ocean County Divorce Lawyer
A divorce can be one of the most emotional and challenging experiences a person can have. Deciding to end your marriage is only the start of the many decisions you must make moving forward about the dissolution of your union. Divorce can leave a person feeling vulnerable and helpless, especially with the complex and unfamiliar processes involved. You may be asked to make decisions that can legally and financially affect your and your family’s future.
You don’t have to face this process alone. Our experienced Ocean County divorce attorneys at Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law are here to assist you in navigating the legal landscape of divorce and in making objective decisions with your family’s best interests in mind.
Call (732) 341-3800 today to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
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No one gets into a marriage with the expectation of getting divorced. However, statistics show that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. As such, divorce is a reality for many families. Decisions made at the initial stages of divorce can set the tone for you and your family’s future. Even when spouses are friendly, negotiations can often break down and the intervention of the court may be necessary to settle disputes.
While avoiding conflict is desirable, it is important to know when to use an aggressive approach to protect your rights. Striking this balance is what our legal practice is all about. Our divorce and family law attorneys at Straffi & Straffi Attorneys-at-Law use their acquired knowledge of New Jersey laws to assist families in a way that minimizes heartbreak and hassle.
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A lot of people have the perception that divorce involves antagonism between both parties. Although this is true for some cases and may be expected depending on the circumstances of the couple divorcing, there are divorce cases that are concluded amicably owing to the couple’s ability and willingness to cooperate.
There are many types of divorce in New Jersey and which one would fit your case best will depend on your individual situation. Our qualified attorneys at Straffi & Straffi Attorneys-at-Law are available to help if you need more information.
An uncontested divorce takes place when the spouses can easily come to an agreement about the major concerns about their marriage.
As a no-fault divorce state, couples in New Jersey can get a divorce by stating “Irreconcilable differences” meaning that there has been a breakdown of communication in the marriage that has been going on for at least 6 months. An uncontested divorce typically takes less time to finalize than a contested divorce.
A couple would only need to prepare a joint property settlement agreement that includes the details of what the couple agreed upon regarding custody, parenting time and visitation rights, spousal and child support, and asset distribution. The couple would also need to have the document signed and notarized before submitting it to the court. The divorce order issued by the court will honor the agreement created by the couple.
In cases where the spouses want to avoid litigation, they can make decisions about the major issues of their divorce with the help of a mediator. In a mediated divorce, the couple comes to the negotiating table with the aim of creating an agreement and deciding on the major issues of their marriage. An unbiased third party will act as a mediator and assist the spouses in facilitating the negotiations.
The couple themselves will be the ones who decide on matters such as child custody and support, whether to provide spousal support and by how much, how to divide marital assets and debt, etc. Once they have decided on these matters, the mediator will present a signed agreement to the court.
An arbitration divorce also lets the spouses avoid litigation for their divorce like a mediated divorce would. However, the third party involved, an arbitrator, acts as a judge and can help make decisions about the couple’s marital concerns.
If a couple cannot agree on one of the major aspects of their divorce, the whole process becomes a contested divorce. Fault-based divorces are usually a reason why a divorce is contested.
As stated under N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-2, the grounds for divorce in New Jersey are:
A contested divorce typically involves the intervention of the court where a judge would be the one to decide on issues that the spouses cannot agree on. Additional court events may be scheduled in order to settle the matters of the divorce.
The legal processes involving divorce in New Jersey can easily get overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the Family Court. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you prepare the necessary documents, communicate with your spouse’s legal counsel, and keep you updated on the relevant court events you need to attend. Our team of Ocean County divorce attorneys at Straffi & Straffi Attorneys-at-Law strive to reduce the anxiety and stress involved in the divorce process.
Contact our Toms River, NJ office today at (732) 341-3800 to schedule a free consultation.
New Jersey legally refers to divorce as a “dissolution” of marriage. New Jersey law follows the same processes when dissolving a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.
Either partner or spouse can file a petition for dissolution in New Jersey as long as one of the spouses has been a resident of the state for at least a year. For fault-based divorces grounded on adultery in the marriage, either spouse can file for divorce as long as one of the spouses has lived in New Jersey for any amount of time.
While having a lawyer is not required to file for divorce in New Jersey, the state itself recommends divorce petitioners retain legal counsel who can help them work through the legal processes involved.
To trigger the divorce process, either spouse must file for divorce with the court. The divorce complaint must include a ground for divorce, either no-fault or fault-based. Upon submission of a divorce complaint, the spouse who filed for divorce will be considered the Plaintiff and their spouse the Defendant in the divorce case.
The Defendant must be served the divorce papers within 30 days of filing and the court must be provided proof that the papers were duly served, in writing. A Plaintiff can have the Sheriff’s Office of the place where they filed the divorce serve the divorce papers for a fee.
Upon receipt of the divorce papers, the Defendant must issue an official response or a counterclaim regarding the grounds of the divorce if they have any matters they want to raise regarding the divorce complaint. If the defendant chooses not to respond, there is a different procedure to be followed.
Each spouse would need to file a Case Information Statement (CIS) that includes financial information relevant to the divorce. This information will be used to determine key issues such as financial support and the distribution of the couple’s assets and liabilities.
With the help of each spouse’s attorneys, the divorcing couple can try and reach a settlement agreement. This can allow the parties to negotiate the terms of their divorce and compromise to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. If a settlement cannot be reached, or once the divorce complaint and counterclaim or responsive pleading have been filed with the court, the spouses are required to attend an Early Settlement Panel. The panel will give recommendations about how to resolve the issues involved in the divorce.
Should the couple agree to the recommendations and consent to be bound by the terms recommended, the court can proceed with granting the divorce. If the parties still cannot agree to the terms, the case proceeds to additional conferences such as Economic Mediation and an Intensive Settlement Conference. The last step, going into a divorce trial, is only reached if the divorcing couple still cannot reach an agreement even after the initial conferences.
Compared to mediation conferences where the couple would negotiate the matters of the divorce themselves, a divorce trial will involve a judge deciding on the key issues. Once the important issues – like child custody and support, visitation rights, asset distribution, etc. – have been resolved, the court will issue a Final Judgment of Divorce concluding the divorce proceedings. Each party will be bound by the terms of the judgment and the divorce would be finalized.
You are legally entitled to represent yourself in NJ divorce proceedings. However, the court system strongly recommends that individuals seeking to file a divorce or who are in the process of divorcing hire their own legal counsel.
Court staff may be able to answer questions about the court system and the deadlines for the court, the requirements to file a divorce, information that is already in your case file, and give you guidelines about which court forms you need to fill out and how.
However, court staff cannot offer legal advice, whether to proceed to bring your case to court, offer opinions about what can happen whether you bring your case to court or not, and cannot talk to the judge on your behalf about your case. Court staff also cannot change or petition the judge to change an order for your benefit. Court staff are also not obligated to act in your best interests, especially at the expense of your spouse.
Hiring an experienced Ocean County divorce attorney can make sure you have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. At Straffi & Straffi Attorneys-at-Law, our team of skilled divorce attorneys has extensive experience in dealing with the New Jersey court system, particularly in family court proceedings like divorce. We can assist you in every step of your divorce, from filing the initial divorce complaint to petitioning a change in a court order once the divorce has been finalized.
Call our Toms River, NJ office at (732) 341-3800 or fill out our online form to speak with one of our divorce attorneys.
We Are Here To Help You
Contact us to schedule a free legal consultation so we can discuss your case together.
Deciding to dissolve your marriage with your spouse is only one of the many major decisions you’ll have to make once the process of divorce is initiated. Other important issues that come up in a divorce can involve deciding on matters of whether providing financial support to your spouse or the other way around is necessary. If you share children, deciding who will have custody and whether child support is necessary is of utmost importance.
It is important to have the assistance of an attorney who will act as your advocate and prioritize your family’s future. At Straffi & Straffi Attorneys-at-Law, we have dedicated our practice to providing quality legal assistance to New Jersey residents in matters of divorce and family law. We understand how a divorce can affect a family and work diligently to lessen the heartache by providing compassionate but effective representation.
To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today at (732) 341-3800 or fill out our online form.