Contested Divorce

Jacobs Berger Divorce Preparation Attorneys Morris County, NJ

Contested Divorce Attorneys Morris County, NJ

Serving Clients across Randolph, Madison, Morristown, Denville, Tewksbury, Florham Park, East Hanover, Morris Plains, and throughout Morris County

When a person files for divorce in New Jersey, their spouse is given thirty-five (35) days to respond to this initial divorce complaint. Should they choose not to respond for any reason, the divorce will be considered “uncontested, and will be resolved without the input of the party who chose not to respond. This means that judge and the spouse who filed the initial divorce complaint will be the ones who are left to decide the key divorce issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of marital assets.

Considering the extreme importance of these various elements of a divorce and the impacts they can have on the lives of the entire family, it is highly recommended that any person receiving a divorce complaint speak with an experienced divorce attorney. In most cases, this will be so that they can actually respond to the initial divorce complaint, and are given the opportunity to negotiate terms which accurately reflect their own unique needs, concerns, and situation when it comes to their finances, legal rights, and their rights as a parent moving forward.

When an individual does decide to respond to this initial divorce complaint, their divorce will become what is known as a “contested divorce”. However, it is critical to understand that there are many different ways to resolve a contested divorce without the process being contentious, embattled, or overly difficult, time-consuming, and stressful.

At Jacobs Berger, we pride ourselves on being able to find constructive and creative solutions to even the most difficult of divorces, allowing our clients to resolve their contested divorce in a manner which protects the entire family’s financial and emotional stability. With extensive experience working with clients and families across New Jersey and Morris County towns like Madison, Randolph, Morristown, East Hanover, Florham Park, Morris Township, Denville, Dover, and more, our firm is ideally suited to helping you to resolve your contested divorce without expensive and contentious courtroom litigation.

Call our office today to discuss your unique needs, concerns, and situations when it comes to your divorce in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment with our experienced legal team.

Madison Divorce Lawyers Define Contested Divorce

A divorce will be considered “contested” any time the divorcing couple is not in complete agreement over the final terms regarding child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, or the division of marital assets.

Of course, just because your divorce is currently considered “contested” does not necessarily mean that you will need to court. There are a number of different ways to resolve a contested divorce before courtroom litigation becomes necessary, including:

  • Pre-Trial Negotiations
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

However, should you and your spouse be unable to come to a final divorce agreement through any of these methods, your contested divorce will then need to be decided in a courtroom through actual litigation.

Divorce Litigation in Morris County

Should litigation become necessary in order for you and your spouse to reach a final divorce settlement agreement, the following steps will take place:

Discovery – Both spouses will be required to fully and accurately disclose all relevant financial information including things like bank statements, loan and credit card statements, income tax returns, history of purchases and expenses, and more. If you have any reason to believe your spouse is hiding information from discovery, or not fully disclosing financial information, now is the time to raise these concerns to your Morris County divorce attorney so that they can file the necessary motions which will ensure full disclosure, and ultimately the fairest possible settlements for you in terms of alimony, child support, and marital asset division.

Pretrial Early Settlement Panel – Once the discover phase has been concluded, the divorcing couple is given one last opportunity to resolve their divorce without a final ruling from a judge through a Pretrial Early Settlement Panel. The purpose of the Early Settlement Panel is to provide a reasonable recommendation based on the evidence presented in a very similar manner to the arbitration and mediation processes. The results of this process are not legally binding, but many individuals choose to agree to the terms of the panel.

Trial – Ultimately, if there are still unresolved issues in your divorce and there are no alternatives, your divorce will have to be decided in court by a family court judge. Each party’s attorney will present the facts as they seem them to the judge, argue the findings and positions of the other party’s divorce attorney, and then ultimately await a judge’s final ruling on whatever divorce issues remained undecided. Both the family court system and our law firm highly discourage parties from relying on this process in order to ultimately resolve their divorce, but the fact of the matter is that courtroom litigation will be necessary in some situations.

Once a judge has made a final ruling on whichever divorce matters remained unresolved up to that point, their rulings will be final and can only be altered through a formal appeal, or modified if and when certain circumstances change substantially down the road.

Should I Contest My NJ Divorce? Randolph Divorce Attorneys

Given just how important and impactful divorce settlement agreements are for all of the involved parties, there are very few scenarios in which it makes sense for any individual to not respond to the initial divorce complaint.

However, it is important to understand that there are actually several different ways a divorce complaint can actually be responded to, those being:

Defendant files an Appearance This is the applicable option when an individual does not have an issue with the divorce itself being requested, but objects to any of the terms of the proposed divorce settlement (alimony, child custody, child support, division of assets, etc). An appearance is the most common reason for a divorce to become “contested”.

Defendant files an Answer An answer is filed when the defendant (the person who received the initial divorce complaint) takes issue with any of the statements within the divorce complaint, not just the terms of the proposed divorce settlement agreements themselves.

Defendant files a Counterclaim – If the defendant feels the need to file their own reasons for divorce, they will do so through a counterclaim. This most often applies when the divorce is filed as a fault-based divorce.

Contact our Morristown Contested Divorce Lawyers Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys believe that even the most contentious of divorces can be resolved without relying on courtroom litigation. We have proven this to be true in countless situations for families in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Morristown, Madison, Randolph, Denville, Florham Park, East Hanover, Morris Township, Tewksbury, Dover, and the surrounding communities.

Our unique approach focuses on helping each of our clients and their families to find constructive and creative solutions to divorce and family law matters of all kinds, solutions which protect the financial and emotional stability of the family unit while still accounting for the unique needs and concerns of our client.

To speak with our experienced legal team today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your divorce, your options for resolving a contested divorce without relying on courtroom litigation, and how exactly we can help you do so, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ offices at (973) 718-770.