New Jersey is one of 39 states in the United States that do not permit jury trials for divorce cases, but you can go to trial before a Judge. If you have gone to trial for a divorce, you are certainly in what divorce attorneys call a contested case. Contested cases can be very nasty ordeals for all concerned, including the divorce lawyers.
Places like Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and so many cities in the state of New Jersey, are located smack dab in the center of what many refer to as a more conservative area of our nation when it comes to the institution of marriage. In a divorce trial, not only can you experience the humiliation of exposing the reasons for a failed marriage to the public, a stigma can often be attached to the participants who may endure a lifetime of shame for their failure to live up to societal expectations.
Whether New Jersey society is right or wrong in the judgmental way some approach divorce, or whether or not your humiliation is self illusion, before entering a contested marital divorce, you may want to ask yourself a couple of simple questions.
First of all, is there any way for reconciliation between you and your spouse? With over eight million people living in New Jersey, over 80 percent consider themselves as associated with some type of religion, and over 85 percent of those church-ed consider themselves as Christian. With strong similar values, work ethics, and community minded service of New Jersey Christians, there should be no wonder the legal system in the state has been influenced by this group when it comes to the marriage institution. New Jerseans value hard work and commitment, traits shared by the tenets of the Christian faith, but in 2002, for every 1000 people, 3.4 marriages ended in divorce. The divorce rate did not seem to change regardless of religious or non-religious affiliations. The important thing to note about these statistics is to remember most all New Jerseans value hard work and commitment, two traits essential in making a marriage contract work. Therefore, since New Jerseans across the board share these essentials in marital values, doesn’t it stand to reason that if at all possible, you should try to reconcile first before acquiescing to divorce?
Secondly, if your answer to the first question is honestly “no,” then you may want to ask yourself, is there any way you can get out of a bad marriage without a lot of public fervor? Obviously, there are reasons some people should not stay married, the threat of imminent harm being chief amongst them.
So, if you have come to the place where you have decided there is no other alternative to divorce, there are two ways you can get a divorce in New Jersey- Fault (Contested) or No-Fault (Uncontested or Non-Contested). The No-Fault process can be as simple as filling out a Complaint For Divorce and Marital Settlement Agreement, legal documents easily obtained, and filing them with the proper Superior Court of jurisdiction to hear the cause.
New Jersey permits No-Fault divorce for the grounds of separation only, provided that the husband and wife have lived separate and apart in different habitations for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months, and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Providing you and your spouse can amiably agree on the terms of the divorce about your finances, assets, and children, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. In the event you are divorcing because your spouse has put you at imminent harm, a No-Fault divorce is probably not practical, but if there are other reasons you seek a dissolution of marriage, doesn’t it stand to reason, you should try and obtain a No-Fault divorce?
There are many reasons two people who have been married a while may not be able to amiably and maturely come to terms involving finances, assets, and children. In the event this happens, and it often does, there exists a real possibility for a contested divorce through a trial. When it does happen, you can present your case before a judge.
In addition to the No-Fault reasons for divorce, New Jersey permits Fault divorce on grounds of adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, drug addiction, institutionalization, imprisonment, and deviant sexual conduct. One of these issues has to be stated in the Complaint for Divorce as the legal grounds the petitioner is wanting to end the marriage.
As listed, these stated legal grounds for divorce are value based, and in a state where the results of a divorce are public record, the participants are open to public scrutiny and sometimes ridicule. Therefore, in a contested trial, the legal outcome is of utmost importance, and you may want to consider consulting with a divorce attorney.
Regardless of the decision concerning divorce you may have to make, there are divorce lawyers in New Jersey who can help you when it comes to divorce law. So, if you are considering a divorce, please contact us and we will help you find the divorce attorney in your area that is more than willing to help you make the legal decisions that are right for you.
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