What is an Agreed Divorce?
Not all divorces are the same. Some divorces require an embattled court proceeding that can take upwards of several years, costing the parties tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Other divorces can be resolved relatively quickly, with the parties disputing only minor issues and a settlement agreement just around the corner. If the spouses can fully agree on all issues by the time the divorce is filed, they might qualify for a special, streamlined divorce process called agreed divorce. To learn about agreed divorce in New Jersey, continue reading. If you are pursuing an agreed, contested, or uncontested divorce, call a dedicated New Jersey divorce lawyer for advice and representation.
Agreed Divorce, a.k.a. Uncontested Divorce, in New Jersey
An agreed divorce, also known as a simple agreed divorce or uncontested divorce, is a simplified, streamlined process for divorce. Rather than going through discovery (the exchange of evidence), depositions, motion hearings, and trial, an uncontested divorce allows the parties to obtain a divorce judgment after perhaps a single hearing in court. An uncontested divorce is much faster, cheaper, and easier than a full, traditional, contested divorce.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce
If you want to obtain a simple agreed divorce or uncontested divorce in New Jersey, you and your spouse must satisfy a set of requirements. An uncontested divorce is available for New Jersey residents who are ready to finalize their divorce by the time the process starts, with no issue left unresolved. That means that the parties must have an agreement ready to go that fully addresses all issues pertinent to the divorce, including:
- Child custody, including parenting time (visitation), where the children will live, and which party will have which legal custody rights
- Alimony (spousal support)
- Child support, including which party pays for health insurance, medical care, etc.
- Equitable division of property, including both assets and debts
Although it appears simple at first blush, even an agreed divorce will require some legwork, and the process can benefit from using a practiced legal advisor. Fully resolving the division of property means addressing all marital property. This includes bank accounts, mortgages, car loans, retirement accounts, pensions, stocks, business ownership, real estate interests, credit card debts, student loans, and other financial matters. Additionally, child support must be calculated at a reasonable rate; if the court thinks one party is trying to shirk their child support duties, they may reject the settlement agreement.
In addition to resolving all divorce matters, the parties must satisfy other procedural rules. The parties must meet the residency requirement, typically meaning at least one of the spouses has lived in New Jersey for at least a year. The parties must agree on the grounds for divorce, typically “irreconcilable differences” or separation for at least 18 months. The parties must still file the divorce complaint, accept or waive service, and appropriately file the settlement along with a proposed judgment. While much more expedient than a contested divorce, it’s important to have knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure you and your spouse satisfy all of the various requirements and complete the process as efficiently and effectively as possible.
If you’re considering divorce or dealing with child custody, child support, alimony, or other family law issues in New Jersey, contact the efficient and thorough Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.