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New Jersey Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer New Jersey divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
GENERAL INFORMATION
What is the easiest grounds for divorce in New Jersey? 2067
Before 2007, the only no-fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey required the spouses to live at entirely different residences for at least eighteen (18) months. However, because most people found this to be overly restrictive, an additional no-fault grounds was added in 2007 that allows for a divorce when the couple has experienced irreconcilable differences that have caused the breakdown of the marriage for six (6) months or more. This new law has no separation requirement, which means that two people can now file for divorce under this cause of action, even if they still live together, as long as their marriage has been broken down for at least six (6) consecutive months. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2.
Is a hearing required to get a divorce in New Jersey? 2059
Yes, the spouse that filed for divorce attends a brief hearing in order to finalize the divorce.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in New Jersey? 2076
Plaintiff mails a copy of the divorce papers to Defendant by both regular U.S. mail and certified mail with a return-receipt requested. Then, the Defendant may accept service of process by signing an Acknowledgment of Service of Summons and Complaint in front of a Notary Public. This document has the same effect as if it had been served upon the defendant by a person authorized to serve process.

Note that the blanks on the Acknowledgment of Service should be filled in with the date that the Defendant actually signs that document in front of a Notary Public. The 35-day waiting period for default divorce (see Step 4a of the New Jersey Divorce Procedures included with your DivorceWriter package) begins to run on the day after the date that the Defendant signs the Acknowledgment of Service in front of a Notary Public.
Where do I file the divorce documents in New Jersey? 2066
In New Jersey, divorces are filed at the county Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part.
What are the requirements for filing for divorce in New Jersey? 2065
You may file for divorce in New Jersey if at least one spouse:
  1. Was living in New Jersey when you reached six (6) months of irreconcilable differences and at least one spouse has been living in New Jersey for at least a year;

    OR

  2. Has lived in New Jersey for a year or more since the date the spouses reached six (6) months of irreconcilable differences, regardless of where the six months of irreconcilable differences began or ended.
While an out-of-state spouse is entitled to file for divorce in New Jersey based on the other spouse meets one of the two requirements above, it is usually easier for the resident spouse to file since he or she probably lives closer to the Clerk's office and courthouse.
In which county should my divorce be filed? 3604
Divorce cases in New Jersey should be filed in the county where the Plaintiff lived at the point at which the Plaintiff and Defendant experienced irreconcilable differences for a period of six months. In other words, file in the county where Plaintiff was living at the end of the six-month period of irreconcilable differences, not at the beginning.

In New Jersey no-fault divorce, the cause of action is a six-month period of irreconcilable differences, which means there has been a breakdown of the marriage based on a failure to get along for a period of six months or more and there is no reasonable belief of reconciliation.

However, if the Plaintiff did not live in New Jersey at the end of the six-month period of irreconcilable differences, the divorce should be filed in the New Jersey county where Defendant lived at the end of the six-month period of irreconcilable differences. If neither spouse lived in New Jersey at the end of the six-month period of irreconcilable differences, then the divorce should be filed in the county where Plaintiff currently lives. If Plaintiff does not currently live in New Jersey, then the divorce should be filed in the New Jersey county where Defendant lived when service of process is made.
Can I get divorced without going to court in New Jersey? 3827
In a handful of New Jersey counties (Atlantic, sometimes Camden, Cape May, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren) you can get a divorce without going to court. To do this, a Request to Enter Default with a Supporting Certification is filed with the Court. This is explained near the end of Step 3a in the step-by-step filing procedures included with your New Jersey DivorceWriter documents.
Can I get divorced without going to court in New Jersey? 3826
In a handful of New Jersey counties (Atlantic, sometimes Camden, Cape May, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren) you can get a divorce without going to court. To do this, a Request to Enter Default with a Supporting Certification is filed with the Court. This is explained near the end of Step 3a in the step-by-step filing procedures included with your New Jersey DivorceWriter documents.
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STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in New Jersey? 2073
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in New Jersey varies from county to county, but is typically $300.00.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in New Jersey? 2072
  1. Plaintiff signs and files the Complaint for Divorce and other divorce documents.
  2. Plaintiff sends the divorce papers to Defendant by Certified Mail with return-receipt requested, and Defendant signs an Acknowledgment of Service in front of a Notary Public. Note: Defendant is considered served on the date that he or she signs the Acknowledgment of Service. in front of a Notary Public. The 35-day waiting period for default divorce begins to run on the day after the date that Defendant signs the Acknowledgment of Service
  3. Defendant signs and files his or her remaining documents by mail. Alternatively, as long as Defendant is not in the military, he or she can do nothing and proceed in default.
  4. Plaintiff attends a brief divorce hearing where the Judge signs the documents to finalize the divorce.
What documents are included in the self-prepared New Jersey DivorceWriter package? 2074
Your DivorceWriter package will include the following:
  • New Jersey Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Verified Complaint for Divorce
  • Summons
  • Divorce Filing Cover Letter
  • Plaintiff's Certification of Insurance
  • Plaintiff's Certification of Notification of Complementary Dispute Resolution
  • Plaintiff's Matrimonial Family Part Case Information Sheet
  • Plaintiff's Confidential Litigant Information Sheet (CLIS)
  • Child Support Worksheet (customers with children only)
  • Letter to Defendant: Acknowledgment of Service
  • Defendant's Acknowledgment of Service
  • Filing Letter to the Court: Acknowledgment of Service
Customers wishing to finalize divorce by default will receive:
  • Request to Enter Default
  • Request to Enter Default Judgment and Supporting Certification Form
  • Certification of Non-Military Service
  • Notice of Default Hearing
:
Customers wishing to finalize their divorce by written agreement will receive::
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Final Judgment of Divorce

If Defendant is in the military Plaintiff will receive the following documents:
  • Appearance
  • Defendant's Certification of Insurance
  • Defendant's Certification of Notification of Complementary Dispute Resolution
  • Defendant's Matrimonial Family Part Case Information Sheet
  • Defendant's Confidential Litigant Information Sheet (CLIS)
Can I change my name in New Jersey divorce proceedings? 2078
Yes. The court, upon granting a divorce or dissolution of a civil union, may allow either spouse or partner to resume any maiden or former last name. See New Jersey Statutes Annotated 2A:34-21 for more information.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in New Jersey? 2077
No. If you are seeking a divorce on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences for at least six (6) months, you and your spouse are allowed to file even if you still live together.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in New Jersey? 2075
Assuming you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all matters, you should be able to finalize your divorce within 60 days from the date you file the divorce papers and serve your spouse with a copy of them by mail.
Why is the court asking for DMDC certification? 3521
Divorce by default is not allowed when the non-filing spouse (Respondent) is on active military duty. Unless the person who completed the DivorceWriter online interview indicated that the Respondent is in the military, your New Jersey DivorceWriter package will contain a form called Certificate of Non-Military Status. The Plaintiff uses this form to explain to the Court why it is that Plaintiff believes Respondent is not in the military by selecting one or more applicable checkboxes and providing additional information, if applicable, for the box(es) chosen. One of several ways for Plaintiff to complete this form is for Plaintiff to obtain and attach a Department of Defense printout, also known as a DMDC certification, to the Certificate of Non-Military Status. However, as long as the Plaintiff has checked one or more other boxes and provided the information requested on the Certificate of Non-Military Status, it should not be necessary to provide a DMDC certification.

If the Court has specifically requested DMDC certification from Plaintiff, he or she may wish to: (1) Make sure he or she has marked at least one checkbox on the Certificate of Non-Military Status and provided any other information required for that option, or (2) Contact the Clerk to verify that the Plaintiff's completed and signed Certificate of Non-Military Status is in their file. If the Court insists on DMDC certification, it is possible that the information provided by Plaintiff on the Certificate of Non-Military Status was deemed insufficient by the Court, in which case Plaintiff can obtain certification from DMDA by creating an account at https://www.servicememberscivilreliefact.com. Please note that their website charges a fee of approximately $36.40 for that service. If you provide a full social security number for the Respondent, the response is usually sent to you by email within 30 minutes.

It may also be possible for Plaintiff to file an amended Certificate of Non-Military Status by printing out a new form, writing or typing "Amended" at the beginning of the title of the form, providing different and/or more detailed information, and then filing the amended form with the Clerk. However, please note that DivorceWriter is not a law firm, and because we are not lawyers, DivorceWriter cannot assist anyone in determining how or why the reasons the Plaintiff listed on the Certificate of Non-Military Status were deemed insufficient by the Court.
How do I get divorced without going to court in New Jersey? 3828
In a handful of New Jersey counties (Atlantic, sometimes Camden, Cape May, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren) you can get a divorce without going to court. To do this, a Request to Enter Default with a Supporting Certification is filed with the Court. This is explained near the end of Step 3a in the step-by-step filing procedures included with your New Jersey DivorceWriter documents.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
What are the different types of custody in New Jersey? 2069
In New Jersey, "physical custody" refers to the physical care and supervision of a child. Physical custody can be joint or sole. In a joint physical custody situation, the parents often spend about the same amount of time with the child(ren) each week. However, parents can also choose joint physical custody while designating one parent as the primary physical custodian. With sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent can exercise visitation/parenting time, if desired.

"Legal custody" refers to parental rights and responsibilities in making decisions regarding the child. In New Jersey, there are two types of legal custody: (1) joint/shared and (2) sole. With joint/shared legal custody, both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities and confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child(ren) will be determined jointly. With sole legal custody, one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child(ren) and the other parent usually, though not always, exercises some type of visitation.

For more information, see N.J.S.A. 9:2-4.
Will we be able to customize our documents to fit our specific custody and visitation arrangement? 1744
DivorceWriter accommodates parents who want to designate one parent as the legal custodian... more
How is child support calculated in New Jersey? 2068
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: Considerations in Use of the Guidelines and Child Support Guideline Schedules.
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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