How to File for Divorce
It is an unfortunate reality that a large percentage of marriages end in divorce. When spouses choose to dissolve their marriage, they are likely to have many questions including, “how do I file for divorce?” In each state the process varies slightly, but regardless of where a person lives, they can count on divorce proceedings being much more complex than the act of getting married.
Here, divorce lawyer Ihab Ibrahim provides individuals in Jersey City, NJ, and surrounding areas with an overview of how to file for divorce in New Jersey, as well as information regarding what to expect once a divorce complaint has been filed with the court.
Filing a Divorce Complaint
To start divorce proceedings, one spouse must file a Complaint of Divorce with the court. The Complaint of Divorce is a document that contains vital information about the marriage, the reason that the divorce is being sought, and a list of any prior court proceedings involving the two parties.
Additional forms that need to be filed along with the complaint of divorce are the Confidential Litigant Information Sheet and the Certification of Insurance Coverage. The Confidential Litigant Information Sheet provides personal information about each of the spouses. The Certificate of Insurance Coverage provides information about the spouses’ insurance coverage, including medical insurance, life insurance, homeowners/renters insurance, and automobile insurance.
What Type of Information Will I Need to File?
Prior to filing for divorce in Jersey City, individuals should gather the following information in order to complete the three forms mentioned above. These forms need to be filled out as accurately as possible. Documents that contain the information needed to file for divorce include:
- Birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, and auto plate license number for each spouse (as well as any children)
- Marriage license
- Documents from any prior court proceedings
- Financial records (bank statements, retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc.)
- Mortgage or rental paperwork
- Insurance policy paperwork
Serving Your Spouse
After submitting the Complaint of Divorce, the filing spouse will receive the filed Complaint back from the court. Within 10 days of receiving the filed Complaint the plaintiff must serve the defendant (their spouse) with the Complaint and a Summons. The defendant then has 35 days to file an appearance or an answer. If the defendant does not respond within this time frame, the plaintiff can file for a default judgement.
What to Expect After a Divorce Complaint Is Filed
Filing a Complaint of Divorce is the first step of divorce proceedings. Once a claim is filed the court is likely to file a date for a court management conference. This conference allows all parties to meet with the court so that divorce issues can be assessed and deadlines can be set.
Following the court management conference each party is given time to exchange information, discuss each spouse’s settlement requests, and mediate settlement agreements. Ideally, spouses can settle divorce matters without going to trial. However, if a trial is necessary, a court date will be set and the judge will make final settlement rulings after listening to each party present their case.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?
The state of New Jersey does not require individuals to hire legal representation when filing for divorce. However, we strongly urge those in the Jersey City area to consider working with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. Divorce proceedings can be complex and contentious, and it is beneficial to have an attorney who understands the legal proceedings, and who is able to fight for their client’s best interests without getting emotionally involved.
If you are ready to file for divorce, attorney Ihab Ibrahim would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the divorce process and discuss how a divorce lawyer can be beneficial to you at this time. For more information, contact our law firm online, or call us at (855) 529-0030.