Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Divorce may be a cultural fact of life for nearly half the American population, but it can still take us by surprise. When divorce comes, partners respond in a variety of ways, and these responses translate into the type of divorce process that follows.

What is a contested divorce?

When one partner files for divorce, the other partner has 35 days to respond. In most cases, the partners are not in disagreement as to whether or not to divorce, but rather they disagree on the terms of the agreement. Many divorces begin as contested, with couples maintaining intractable positions on division of assets, child support and custody issues. The very vast majority of these cases are eventually resolved through mediation or settled by attorneys. If the couple is unable to reach an agreement and the court has to step in to decide the terms of divorce, the divorce is considered contested. The couple must do the following:

Complete a financial disclosure worksheet, called a Case Information Statement.
Go to custody mediation.
Attend an Early Settlement Panel (ESP), where each side states his or her position to the court.
Attend an Intensive Settlement Conference. If the ESP is unsuccessful, the couple spends a day in court trying to reach an agreement.
Go to economic mediation, to try to resolve the economic issues.
Go to trial, if the couple still cannot reach agreement.  The trial can take 10 months to two years.
A contested divorce can be a time-consuming process and expensive, as well as emotionally taxing.

Uncontested divorce

If two people are able to agree on all matters of the divorce settlement, they have the option to appear at an uncontested hearing and make their marital settlement disagreement part of the Judgment of Divorce. This is a far less expensive and far more amicable process, and can lead to a quick resolution. If the couple is close to an agreement but requires some guidance on issues, mediation might be appropriate.

If you are headed for divorce, whether or not you believe you can reach an agreement on your own it is advisable to have your own New Jersey divorce attorney to protect your interests. Our knowledge and experience can help you stay in control of your divorce.

This blog posting and the information on our website is for general information purposes only. Nothing within it, within any responses, comments, emails, answers, blogs or attachments, should be considered legal advice. Our website and our blogs, including this blog, does not form any attorney client relationship, and this office does not represent you in any way. Keep in mind that since only very general information is provided on our website and within our blogs, you cannot rely upon any of the information as legal advice, as it might not apply to, or be accurate relative to your specific situation and facts.

By Jason D. Roth

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