What are my Options if my Spouse Doesn’t Want a Divorce?
A commonly asked question when it comes to New Jersey divorce is: can I get a divorce if my spouse does not want one? The simple answer is yes, it is absolutely possible to successfully file for and be granted a legal divorce with or without the cooperation of a spouse. However, it is important to understand how a lack of cooperation may impact your divorce proceedings moving forward.
Today, our divorce and family law attorney will be discussing the grounds for divorce in New Jersey, contested vs. uncontested divorce, and what disputes may be resolved in a divorce settlement.
Union County, NJ Divorce Attorney Identifies Potential Grounds for Divorce
All divorce filings in New Jersey must cite a reason or “grounds” for divorce. At a high level, your Union County divorce attorney will help you file one of two different ways:
No fault divorce filings may be done on the grounds of legal separation for a minimum of 18 consecutive months or by citing irreconcilable differences for a minimum of six (6) months. Legal separation requires spouses to physically live separately. Irreconcilable differences may be reference disputes between spouses that cannot reasonable be expected to resolve themselves.
Fault divorce requires finding “fault” with your spouse for specific actions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:24-3 – causes for divorce, including adultery, desertion, extreme cruelty, imprisonment, and more.
What Can my Spouse do to Contest our Divorce?
After filing for divorce, your spouse will be served with divorce papers. At this point, he or she will have 35 days to formally respond or accept your claims. Failure to respond within 35 days will result in an uncontested divorce which will move forward by default.
Filing an Appearance allows the defendant to dispute the terms of your settlement agreement. In other words, this is not contesting you filing for divorce or the grounds for divorce, but rather contested issues such as child support, child custody, alimony, etc. (more on this in next section)
Filing an Answer allows the defendant to dispute the claims made in your divorce filing such as the grounds for divorce.
Filing a Counterclaim allows the defendant to provide his or her own grounds for divorce and add additional information to the formal filing.
Elizabeth Divorce Settlement Lawyer Discusses Potential Disputes
As we have established, there is no way for your spouse to prevent a divorce in New Jersey if you have your ducks in a row. However, by failing to cooperate, spouses do have the power to prolong the divorce process and force a long litigation process. Some of the common disputes which your Elizabeth divorce settlement must help you resolve can include:
- Equitable distribution of marital assets – during a divorce, the assets and liability which were jointly owned must be fairly distributed between spouses. Typical assets include owned real estate, retirement assets, investments, and more
- Alimony and spousal support – some divorces include alimony considerations for spouses beginning their new financial life as an individual. There are actually five different types of alimony in NJ
- Child Support – child-rearing is expensive, and many co-parents reach a child support agreement as part of their divorce
- Child Custody – for co-parents, child custody is amongst the most important if not the most important dispute during a divorce
Contact a Linden Contested Divorce Attorney Today
Contested divorce attorney Edward Cooper has extensive experience serving clients from Union County towns such as Linden, Westfield, Union, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, and all across Northern New Jersey. Over nearly three decades of dedicated legal service, attorney Cooper has successfully resolved a wide range of legal disputes for his divorce clients. Our firm is built on the foundation of open-ended communication and personalized legal service that aims to address your individual needs and concerns.