Getting a divorce in Jersey City, Part 2

Continued from Getting a divorce in Jersey City, Part 1

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Venue for filing

In Hudson County, Vicinage 6, the Family Practice Division is administered by the Hudson Vicinage; here are directions to:

Administration Building
595 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
201-795-6000
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Assignment Judge: Maurice J. Gallipoli

William Brennan Courthouse
Willam Brennan Courthouse
583 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Family Division divorce FAQ

Following are some items from Family Division’s “Divorce/Matrimony” FAQ page:

I want to file for a “legal separation.” How do I do that?

The court does not grant “legal separations”. If you are living separate and apart from your spouse, you may consider yourself as being separated.

How long do I have to wait before I can file a complaint for divorce?

There are several grounds or legal reasons which allow the court to grant a divorce and rules that govern when you may file your complaint:

  • Adultery — no waiting period;
  • Extreme cruelty — You may file three months after the last act of cruelty occurred;
  • Desertion –You must wait 12 months after the desertion occurs before filing your complaint;
  • “No Fault” — If you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for 18 consecutive months, you may file a complaint for divorce with the 18 month separation as grounds.

My spouse filed for divorce and I do not want to get a divorce. Can I stop it?

If the complaint for divorce establishes legal grounds for divorce, you cannot prevent the other party from seeking divorce.

My spouse has filed a complaint for divorce. Do I have to get an attorney and file an answer? What  happens if I don’t?

You do not have to get an attorney or file an answer if you have no issues you want the court to decide or if you do not wish to contest any of the statements contained in the complaint for divorce. If you decide not to file an answer, the divorce will still be granted. This is called a Default Judgment and is another way of saying a non-contested divorce was granted.

I have filed a complaint for divorce. When will I go to court?

There are several factors that determine when your case will be scheduled for court.

  1. If your divorce is not contested, your case may be placed on a court calendar as early as three months after you file your complaint. This is an estimated time as the judge can only hear a certain number of cases on any given day. Your case may have to wait for the “next available calendar date”. Calendars are scheduled at least a month in advance. You will receive a notice advising you or your attorney of the date you must appear in court.
  2. If your divorce is contested, it will take longer for your case to be scheduled for court. This is because there may be certain reports or evaluations that must be completed before your case can be heard. For example, if you and your spouse jointly own property, the court may need an appraisal of the property.

What if I cannot afford an attorney? Will the court appoint an attorney for me?

The court will not appoint an attorney for you. If you feel that you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact the Hudson County Legal Services located at 574 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey (201) 792-6363 or the Hudson County Bar Association’s Referral Service at (201) 332-9669. Court staff are not allowed to make attorney referrals.

Do I have to have an attorney?

You are strongly advised to have an attorney represent you. This is particularly true if you must make decisions as to property, custody, visitation and support.

You do not have to have an attorney if you choose not to, however, it is then your responsibility to prepare the necessary papers. Court staff will file your prepared documents but they are not allowed to prepare them for you or instruct you in how they should be prepared. The only exception to this is in filing a motion.

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